Book Review: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

My rating: 3/5

Useful reminders for having a more positive outlook but don’t expect this itty bitty book to change your life overnight.

Having already read The Mastery of Love (MOL) by Don Miguel Ruiz, twice, I was familiar with many of the concepts and ideas presented in The Four Agreements (TFA). Unfortunately I found TFA to be somewhat lacking, especially when it came to examples, analogies and strategies for implementing the information given. It’s one thing to say “here are the four agreements you have to make with yourself to live a happier life,” but it’s a completely different challenge to give concrete strategies for how to implement them in your life which is why I would advise you not to think this book will change anything overnight.

At a few different spots in the book, Miguel Ruiz says ‘it will take a lot of will power, A LOT OF WILL POWER, to do this but if you do I promise you will reach heaven on earth.’ And that’s all fine and dandy, but the majority of the population doesn’t have that kind of will power or they’d already be happy of their own volition. So that’s one thing I found to be kind of disappointing.

Another criticism I’ve had is that the book was riddled with religious references and mysticism, often saying how when we use our words in a negative way we are casting spells and performing “black magic,” and when we use our words in a good way it’s “white magic.” I couldn’t take this book that seriously because of this language being used. I understood what it was trying to convey, I just think there could have been a more effective way.

There was also a lot written about heaven and hell, with hell being life on earth as we currently know it and heaven being when you finally attain enlightenment or personal freedom. It’s been a few years since I read MOL but I don’t recall it utilizing religion nearly as much; in fact if I remember accurately it said you don’t have to be religious to become a master of love. Anyway, I thought TFA could have been more effective if using something other than supernatural references; it would have brought the book to a more realistic level for me.

Overall I would recommend this book and plan to implement the four agreements in my life, if I can summon up the will power, but these are just a few of the things I would have changed to make the book more effective and more relatable to a wider audience. The main message is to always spread love, not hate!

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