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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS (see also Section 11) by don Miguel
Ruiz is a short yet powerful book that contains useful advice
about how to recognize self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and
create needless suffering . . . based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the
agreements seem to be so basic to apply--but in reality they
are much more difficult to implement.
Nevertheless, I still find myself thinking about them and how
to relate what they say to my daily life . . . should you want
to join me in the task, consider how you can:
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the
word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power
of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a
projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are
immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the
victim of endless suffering.
DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really
want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid
misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one
agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different
when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance,
simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse
and regret.
Also, I very much liked this one other passage:
Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems.
Often we make the assumption that our partners know what we
think and that we don't have to say what we want. We assume they
are going to do what we want, because they know us so well. If
they don't do what we assume they should do, we feel so hurt and
say, "You should have known."
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2004
I enjoyed the book, but it was very repetitive and a little simplistic. Lots nifty ideas with a few interesting metaphors and insights... The book doesn't provide many revelations (if any). It mostly serves to re-enforce what we already know is right and true. We've all heard a million versions of the ideas delivered in this book. Stuff like:
"Say what you mean. Mean what you say"
"Assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME"
You get the idea... Read this book as a reminder. Read it to gain an alternate perspective. I would recommend it to anyone who is on a path to self-discovery. Remedial or not, the toltec perspective referenced in this book is a valuable one...
One thing I've noticed about most of the negative reviews. They all seem a little bit angry. Perhaps too angry to be receptive to a book with such a positive spin...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
All spiritual masters live these agreements, regardless of their spiritual discipline, and the fact that Dr Ruiz has managed to find these common denominators demonstrates uncanny insight and brilliance. The Four Agreements are wonderful stepping stones to happiness and personal power.

I like the way Don Miguel blends his Toltec beliefs with many other spiritual beliefs because I've always felt that the Truth is indeed many-sided and that there is always more than one way to view things.

Ruiz sees life as an agreement made by, and with human beings and the universe. However, his simple agreements are much more than they appear to be. Just take any one of them and apply it to your life and you will see immediate change. Although they are stated clearly and directly - these agreements are hard to genuinely apply to one's life because they require a look at one's true self, and I caution you to not underestimate their simplicity. If you fear change, this book will terrify you and provide you with exactly what you really need to shake up your life and move forward. If you do not fear change - then you will be able to see the benefits without the veil of fear. Either way - accept its simplicity, and you will benefit greatly from these simple agreements.

A must read for any person interested in increasing the quality of their love, self-mastery, and life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2004
Buy this small book and get an invaluable information. Only four agreements that make you a better person and make you take four steps to live the best life.
First one is 'Be impeccable with your words',we do sometimes or often hurt people with our words and others hurt us never thinking of consequences. Read the book and follow the advice it will make you and world around better.
Second 'Don't take anything personally' that is gem. Some people make our 'bad days'because of their own problems, the book teaches you how to be immune to all that.
Third 'Never make assumptions' - just ask questions, don't waste your valuable energy.
The fourth ... 'Always do your best' - always do your best!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2004
By implementing the four agreements into my daily life I have been transformed. I took back my power by being able to 'see' other peoples parasite when it was exposed to me. I have been handling every situation in my life now with one of the agreements. I also recommend reading Rat Race Relaxer: Your Potential & The Maze of Life by JoAnna Carey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2001
Are we so bereft of guidance and spirituality in our contemporary culture that we think this is some kind groundbreaking revelation? Based on most of these reviews, I'd say, unfortunately we are. Of course the four agreements are good advise! These are the exact same things my grandmother taught me while she peeled potatoes over the kitchen sink, or gathered eggs from the henhouse. But then, no one ever marketed her as a Toltec mystic, so I guess that's where all the difference lies.
The book is very poorly written. So, just read the cover and save yourself some time. Better yet, save your money too. Let me summarize for you. 1. Tell the truth, to and about yourself and others. Don't gossip. Gossip hurts people. 2. Don't take responsibility for other's words and actions. They have nothing to do with you. 3. Ask questions and be a good listener. Don't assume you know what others want, need, or mean. (Ever heard of 'walk a mile in my shoes'?) And don't assume they know what you want. 4. Always do your best. Does this really need explanation?
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on March 16, 2004
In theory, "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz is a very useful book. I agree with the ideas and hope to live my life by them. I try to. And that is what I believe the author's goal is in writing this book, to at least just try to live by them. I appreciate the philosophy and hope to have it become a part of how I look at the world and life in general. It is a hard philosophy to obtain with one reading though. The author does explain the four agreements very well and why they are important, but I have a hard time applying them to everyday life-at least all at once. I guess in that aspect, I was a little disappointed. I needed some sort of guidance that wasn't there. (I did notice that there is a companion book that should aid in this area.) I think this is a very good book and is worth the time and effort to be read.
Another book that I feel will help in finding inner happiness along with "The Four Agreements" is "Ask and You Shall Receive" by Mary Anne Thomas. Her little book has a wealth of information on finding what it is you are looking for and how to obtain it by becoming closer to God. Her short stories that led her to writing this book read honest and as though she understood what I needed to hear to ask for that I am looking for and why. Her exercises and explanations for them were thorough and very helpful. She guided me though each exercise with explanations as to why they were needed and how they worked. I think this is a very good book and would make a great companion book to "The Four Agreements."
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on January 30, 2004
One day, I was standing in the meta-physical department of a local book store when I saw Don Miguel's book. It was one of those moments where you are caught off guard and find yourself saying, "hey, I know him". Some years ago, I had spent a weekend retreat with him high upon a plateau over looking the ocean off of Baja Mexico. He is a very kind and loving man. He is the type of person whom you can feel the truth of his soul in all he says and does. I did not follow the Toltec path however, because I was already on my own, but it was a pleasure to be in his company, particularly, since I had drank some water and was feeling rather ill. I did not buy Mr. Ruiz's book because his teachings are somewhat basic to me. However, he walks his talk and he personally inquired about my feeling ill, as any true teacher worth his salt would. He teaches by telling stories, does not shove meditation down your throat, and everyone participates in group fashion. A very kind, loving and gentle soul. A true spiritual teacher. Soak up anything up can!
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My encounter with a book:
I noticed this book, in the first place, for its conciliatory title; 'The Four Agreements', hoping the agreements would keep growing in number. I was finally persuaded to pick it up and examine it out of 1200 books in our home library, because it has a pleasant artistic appearance wrapped in attractive colors. Further it has a strong utilization tool, being "A practical guide" and promising goal: Personal freedom.
The Mystery Subject:
A title that includes all these mysterious words must focus your attention. Using a Webster's New World Dictionary, I needed to explore the meanings of the title, to find the subject core.
Toletic: A pre Aztec Amerindian people that lived in Mexico.
Shaman: A priest or medicine man of shamanism.
Shamanism: the religion of certain peoples, based on a belief in good and evil spirits who can be influenced only by the shamans.
The Author's Credentials:
Don (Spanish title of respect, Sir) Miguel who would not embrace his mother healing career, and grandfather shamanic priesthood, to attend medical school, found himself amid a near death experience that he encountered thirty years ago. This experience changed his life by devoting his new life to his ancestors ancient wisdom. He supplemented his earnest study with his mother, a healing "cura.andera," by a telepathic dream-medium apprenticeship with his grandfather, from the cyber ether.
The four agreements:
Keep your word. Deflate your ego by self inquiry. Communicate clearly with others. Make your best avoiding guilt feelings.
These basic commandments that I learned in the Kinder Garden, make not only the essence of this book, but surpassing the series on 'chicken soup for the soul,' created a companion book, audio in coyote voice, 4 inch square cards, and prayers!
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on December 24, 2003
Many of those critical of this work seem not able to put it in perspective. If you've read Castaneda, it's obvious that Ruiz lifted the main terminology from him. It is also fairly established that Castaneda was a liar and made it all up. That said, Ruiz is to be commended for what he has made-interpreted from Castaneda's works. That any of this actually came from the Toltec's is highly doubtful and instinct and common sense should make that readily evident to you (Unless, your a terminal romantic new ager). Yet, and yet... Ruiz has indeed made a relevent contribution to dealing with issues of fear and shame and communication. It's not even that it's unique, I have pretty much formulated/had the very same insights, minus any Toltec dressing up. It's like Emerson said, something like, when we recognize our own insights in a book like Ruiz's we think it is great, brilliant even, and we sort of discount ourselves. Anyway, that's obviously not a quote. Ruiz is mostly a poetic, hermeneutic, visionary, catching the Castaneda drift. Peter Lamborn Wilson has written about how certain teachings, or lineages, even if not true, or legitimate in terms of succesors etc. can end up being true through drifting over time and geographically etc. Well, although Castaneda's revelation hasn't travelled far geographically (from the U.C.L.A library to Mexico), something useful and true is evident here. Just don't take the magical-mystical side to literally, but rather read poetically and sensitively and with common sense and you might appreciate Ruiz's effort. It's all in the poetry baby! Listen to the silence between the notes. And don't worry about the guru, or aliens, or historical revisionism.
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