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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to…
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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (1997)

by Miguel Ruiz

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Practical advice if applied to personal and professional relationships. ( )
  tamikathompson | Aug 9, 2015 |
"Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind. This is the future of humanity."

Alright, Don Miguel Ruiz. Attractive words but I still, somehow, don't think that humanity has a collective mind. Nor do I believe that this phantom collective mind is evolving in any which way, most of all not towards happiness. And I think you should have known this, considering that you were a surgeon before you went off into the woods, drank ayahuasca, and found the gods. I digress.

Ruiz's book presents ancient Toltec wisdom. Among large unavoidable stretches of general self-help guide-me-into-a-beautiful-vision bullshit that ignores both laws of science and historical reality, parts of his argument clarified and refreshed my perspective in a good way.

Ruiz argues that our "dream"/reality that we live in is created by our thoughts of what tangibly occurs around us. We are "domesticated" by society and grow up to participate in a world ruled by miscommunication. So far, so good. We can liberate ourselves from endless self-imposed suffering and experience resulting freedom by appraising the unconscious agreements that we have made between ourselves and society. And, with just twenty seconds of our time and ten small dollars a month, we can change our lives if we just live by four new agreements. (Clearly, I think Ruiz is somewhat out of his mind. But the following four "agreements" are what I came looking for in this book, and he delivered.)

Agreement 1: Be impeccable with your word. "Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true. Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream. We create all this poison and spread it to others just so we can feel right about our own point of view."

Agreement 2: Don't take anything personally. "Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds."

Agreement 3: Don't make assumptions. "We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. this is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves."

Agreement 4: Always do your best. "When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you're expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don't enjoy the action."

No good book is complete without bonus break-up advice: "If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don't need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices."

Ruiz even tackles the subject of abuse: "In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly."

For full disclosure, my bedroom features both a hanging tapestry and a Buddha statue peering out from its highest vantage point. So I usually sort of buy into this kind of crap. This is another "sort of buy-in" for me I guess. But I really did enjoy these choice words Ruiz had to offer:

"The mind has the ability to talk to itself, but it also has the ability to hear information that is available from other realms. Sometimes you hear a voice in your mind, and you may wonder where it came from. This voice may have come from another reality in which there are living beings very similar to the human mind."

Thanks for the casual reminder that I have my sanity. But I think I'm gonna take my breakup advice and run. Peace out.
( )
  Proustitutes | Jun 11, 2015 |
I really enjoy this book. It's the second time I've read it. When I'm doing something completely new, it's a good one to pick up. It helps remind me how to stay calm and not let worrying get the best of me, and to enjoy the ride and not just the destination. ( )
  reneenmeland | Apr 30, 2015 |
A bit abstract, but very useful. ( )
  grandpahobo | Apr 7, 2015 |
This little book packs a lot of wisdom & good advice. The four agreements are 1. Be Impeccable with your word 2.Don't take anything personally 3. Don't make assumptions and 4. Always do your best.
No matter your belief system/religious beliefs, these four agreements can apply. The writing seemed a little "new age" to me in some parts, but not the message. I will read this again. And probably again. ( )
  michele.juza | Feb 25, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 187842484X, Hardcover)

At the heart of the Toltec teachings are the "Four Agreements (Los Cuatro Acuerdos)." According to don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec nagual, or shaman, everything we do is based on agreements we have made -- agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth. In Los Cuatro Acuerdos, don Miguel reveals the source of self-limiting agreements that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. When we are ready to change these agreements, there are four deceptively simple, yet powerful agreements that we can adopt as guiding principles. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:16 -0400)

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Presents advice on how to gain personal freedom by following the wisdom of the Toltecs.

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