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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    Donald Miller does it again!

    Miller gets more in depth with life issues with A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Great story and very relevant. It really makes the reader take a second glance at his or her own life and pushes the reader to reevaluate priorities.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

    It's not very often I pick up a book and read from cover to cover in one sitting. This time I did. All 255 pages of it. ok.I guess I did stop to make myself some ramen noodle soup, but other than that I was completely overwhelmed by Donald Miller's new book.

    The truth is that I have a copy of his older book, Blue Like Jazz, but have never finished it. It wasn't that it wasn't good, it just didn't overwhelmed me to finish it. I think I'm going to back and finish reading that book too.

    I guess it wouldn't be too much to say that Donald Miller is probably one of the best story tellers I've come across in a while. I haven't been this mesmerized by an authors ability to pain pictures with words since I read Wilson Rawls' Where the Red Fern Grows as a child. Why? Simply put, he tells a good story.

    In the opening of his book, Donald writes this:

    ".if what we choose to do with our lives doesn't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either."

    This book basically is set on explaining this principle. From sharing stories of how he when through the painstaking process of rewriting his life for a movie, to falling for a girl with a cute nose during a grueling trek through the mountains to Machu Picchu, he somehow inspires you to live for something more. And subtly yet profoundly her establishes that this is best understood in living the life of biblical faith.

    So what would I say about this book? Probably what Max Lucado said when asked to submit a review of the book. "I already want to re-read this book."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2011

    Memoir and Writer's Inspiration

    Donald Miller writes in a friendly, personal tone, and tells it like it is. This is both a memoir and an inspiration to writers. But the bigger aim is to remind us that there's a life to be LIVED, not just days spent waiting for something big to happen. Your life is big, and if you don't pay attention, you might miss it.

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  • Posted August 30, 2010

    My Story Rediscovered

    The honesty of this book is refreshing. Not only is the story inspiring, but the pages leaves you reflecting on your own life throughout the entire book. Donald Miller does a beautiful job at humbly describing his own life's journey while pointedly hitting your heart and spirit with questions that you need to answer for yourself. Often times stories are a way for people to escape and forget about their life. But this is no ordinary story. This is one that brings you in, but doesn't allow you to forget about your real story - it leads you into a journey of discovery for yourself.

    I'm amazed at how Miller weaves different stories into this book. In one chapter we're finding out about the movie being created on his life - only to discover that this movie is really leading us into Miller's own discovery of his story. He takes the reader on a journey and as he describes and discovers what "story" really is - we get to find out the true definition by learning about his and uncovering our own.

    I would highly recommend this book. Especially to those who are inspired to write. Also to those who have thought about what their life is all about. After you read this, pick up Blue Like Jazz too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Inspiring read

    There aren't many books that change the way you live, but for me this is one of those books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    I thought it was a great book, then I read it a second time and it was even better.

    Donald Miller is an author that makes you feel like your sitting next to him on the couch as you read his book. Very open, transparent and to the point. This book has something for everyone that has become bored and complacent in life. Really woke me up and made me take a look at the "Story" I'm telling with my life.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    Editing Your Life for a Better Story

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is Donald Miller's new autobiography, following his memoir - Blue Like Jazz. After writing Blue Like Jazz, he was approached by movie producers with an offer to make a movie of his life. As they write a script for the movie, he learns that writing a book is very different from making a movie. In fact, sometimes he feels that he doesn't know who they're writing about despite the fact that the main character is himself. As he writes the script for the movie, he realizes that he has the chance to 'edit' his life this time and create a better story. Not only does he do this with his movie, he also applies his new lessons to his real life.

    When I first received A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Millerfrom Thomas Nelson Publishing, I started to read it because it was already way past the publisher's deadline. About thirty pages in, I started wondering if the book's pace is going to get better. By the time I finished about 75 pages, I was quite bored with it. Then all my other books arrived and I found other more interesting books to read.

    Thinking about my obligation to Thomas Nelson, I picked it up again just the other day and resolved to finish reading it. A long time ago, I remember watching a movie with my husband about a single mother and her daughter who migrated to America. It seemed slow at first, the story would become boring at times, but we couldn't stop watching it because of the expectation that it would be better soon. When we finished watching the movie, we loved it despite it's very slow start.

    It was actually the same thing with A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, it was slow reading at first. As if, there was hardly anything happening. I wanted to put it down once more, but it seemed to me that it was getting more and more interesting. As it turned out, I finished the whole book in two days straight because when it got interesting, I couldn't put it down.

    It is an excellent book written by an excellent writer. It is filled with stories of the people that touched Donald Miller's life. It is a book that is full of inspirations as he gets to edit his own life. It makes you feel that you too, have the chance to edit your own life. It's beautiful and inspiring. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs encouragement in his life. If you feel that you have failed or live a boring life, this book will change you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    As Poignant as Blue Like Jazz and Even More Profound

    I have absolutely loved reading this book. Donald Miller takes us into his thoughts and fears, struggles and triumphs as he (and we with him) discover what it means to live a "good story" in life. I don't think I even realized how complacent I had become to my own life until Don pointed it out (and rather bluntly, at that). Most of us tend to find that "comfortable" place in life and settle. We long for adventure, we want to achieve those dreams we've always had in the back of our minds, we'd love to be someone different, to do something different, but our sedentary nature and culture convinces us that it's too risky, too hard, or too impractical to try to change. We begin to believe things are the way they are and that's how they'll always be. But Don challenges us to think otherwise. With wit, wisdom, and faith, Don encourages us to no longer be content to simply get by in life but to truly live. I've been a huge fan of Donald Miller's for years, and this one is my new favorite.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Living a Better Story

    I don't know what it is about the way Donald Miller writes, but I really enjoy it. It feels like a one-on-one conversation that is had in comfy chairs over a cup of coffee. I just finished his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and I enjoyed it just as much as Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What.

    Again, Donald takes us on a journey through his life, what he's dealing with as he is presented with the opportunity to turn one of his books into a movie. Writing the screenplay turns out to be a bit different than he expected and he learns that what makes a good story might help him make a good life.

    One of the things that struck me the most was his comparison of God as an author and us as characters. As an author, Donald talks about how despite the fact that he creates the characters, they still do what they want. The same happens with the way we live our lives. We choose to go our own way and do things the Writer wouldn't want for us. Donald admits: "It would always have been better to obey the Writer, the one who knows the better story." I loved that analogy. It gave me a whole new perspective on my life and how I relate to God. I want to live a better story.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    First Donald Miller book I've read.

    I am not one given to melancholy memoirs, so I never picked up "Blue Like Jazz". But the idea of someone editing their life for a movie fascinated me. I loved it. Miller's adventure of self-discovery -- going from melancholy couch potato to reluctant athlete -- is hilarious and inspiring. He did what most people ONLY write about. And his sense of humor and level of insight is nothing short of poetic. I doubt I will ever read his earlier work now, I like this Donald Miller, and I can't wait to see where he goes next and what he develops into.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller

    "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller has an interesting back story. One of Miller's memoirs ("Blue Like Jazz") sold many copies, and he was approached by filmmakers to turn the book into a movie. After much back-and-forth discussion, they made it clear that he would have to fabricate and enhance most of his book to make the memoir-turned-movie sell and appeal to the average person. Miller counteracts them and writes about how he quizzically prodded them to elucidate. In the book, many anecdotes and stories are thrust at the reader. Some are random, some hold meaning, and some just seem to prove to the filmmakers that God's life we are granted isn't necessarily boring. The stories are about Miller, his friends, and distant acquaintances. Some stories involve him, others don't. Maybe one day Miller will have a movie, but, as of now, that isn't likely. Miller doesn't want to change his life. There is talk of God in this book but not as much as one would expect from a book published under a predominantly Christian market. Readers will be entertained with this book and lift an eyebrow while smirking as they turn each page.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A book that might change your life

    Miller's self-deprecating humor and openness about his own life and struggles set this far above the usual "self-help" literature. I found this book stimulating, provocative, and rewarding. It made me take a look at my own life in a different way. Miller is a Christian writer, but he doesn't beat you over the head with it, and as a Christian reader, I appreciate that approach.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    What are you going to do today?

    This book walks though the thought process of how each of us can have the easy boring life. But is that what living is about? Is that what life with Christ is about? I don't think so.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    Excellent Read

    I have found this book to be thought provoking. I has reminded me that I am not in control, yet I have the ability to control my life path by choices the I make about my daily life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    Review - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

    I was really excited when I received the email offering a chance to review this book, and even more excited when it came in the mail and there were 2 copies. I knew it had to be good! I gave my extra copy to a friend who was also thrilled for the chance. I didn't really know what to expect, but the title was intriguing. I know so many of us want to have a meaningful/fun/fulfilling life, and this book is all about showing us how to do it. This is a choice we get to make, and no one else can make it for us.

    This was a great book, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. You don't have to lead a boring life!

    I received this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Blogger Review Program, but the opinion above is my own.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.

    In his latest witty and insightful account of bits and pieces of his life, Don Miller tells parallel stories of the experiences re-writing his New York Times best-selling memoir, Blue Like Jazz for a film motivated. Miller writes detailed descriptions of painful situations; from the search of his absent father to the bicycling adventures and colorful and charming characters he encountered while trying to write himself a "better story" and understand the concepts that would not only make the Blue Like Jazz movie more appealing to audiences, but how he could improve himself and the story his life was telling through these concepts.
    I have yet to find a Don Miller book that has not inspired me greatly with each flip of the page. Luckily, A Million Miles was not the book that would break his inspiring record. Each carefully told story plays itself out in my head, forcing me to smile and nod in agreement. Miller does not hesitate to express his feelings of fear and doubt towards God at times, making the story relatable to each reader who has faced these doubts.
    "I wish people who struggle against dark thoughts would risk their hopes living a good story."

    (****member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program:

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

    Have you ever looked at your life as a story? If you have, do you like your character? Is your story memorable? Could it use a change?

    These questions and more are tackled in Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Miller, in his attempt to live a better story, to experience a bigger adventure, edits his life while his memoir is being edited into a movie.

    The resulting book is filled with inspiring, challenging, encouraging, and even heartbreaking stories. They are his stories and the stories of those he encounters.

    Honestly, when I finished the last page, I had an overwhelming desire to turn to page one and start reading the entire book over again.

    Miller is a master storyteller who brings his stories to life. You can't help but have your heart tugged by what you read.

    I was challenged and encouraged as I read every page. And as a result, I'm doing something about it. I'm going to live a better story. I'm going to take risks, seize opportunities, challenge my comfort and safety. You could say I'm going to embrace whimsy...

    "The key to living a great story is not being afraid to embrace whimsy, that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks."

    There is something for every Miller fan in A Million Miles. Fans of Blue Like Jazz will love the honest storytelling mixed with Miller's signature wit and choppy writing style, and fans of Searching for God Knows What will appreciate overarching theme that ties every word together and the self-examination that is spurred by Miller's honesty.

    And for those who have never read Miller, I can't think of a better book to be introduced to him through.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You're The Inspiration

    It's been a long time since I've been inspired. We use the word "inspired" way too often and most of the time we are referring to things that aren't inspiring at all. According to Merriam-Webster, inspire means "to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration." Donald Miller's new book, Million Miles in a Thousand Years, has inspired me. This book influenced me; it caused me to move. I believe it will cause you to move as well.

    As always, Don tells a story, his story. However, this time, the story is about story. I know that sounds confusing but stick with me and we'll try to clear it up. The basic outline for the book is Don working with new friends Steve and Ben to come up with a storyline for Blue Like Jazz the movie. Seeing as how Don's books are based in his own story, he ends up editing his own life, writing about a fictional Don Miller. Along the way, he learns more about the concept of story. He has to find out what makes a good story and then allow the fictional Don Miller to walk through them. Then he starts to wonder about the story the real Don Miller is walking through.

    I laughed all through the first half of the book because Ben is a real person and he's a friend of mine. As I read each line, I could hear him saying those things. As an added bonus, Steve was in one of my all-time favorite bands. So I was definitely invested in this book from the beginning. Add to that Don Miller, who is an author I really enjoy. I doubt that I'm in his Tmobile Top 5, but I think he would recognize me if I walked up to him on the street. If I had a nametag on.

    I love Don because he sees the comedy and the value in his own life, in his story. And he relates it in a way that I connect to it. Don looked at what it takes to have a great story, what it might look like to live that way, met people that did live like that, and re-examined how he was living his own life. Along the way, he inspired me to do the same.

    Todd Agnew

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    Writing a New Story

    "Ooohhh, Grandma. You are writing in your book!"

    "I know, but there are a couple neat things here I want to remember."

    As I thumbed through the book again, though, I discovered I had underlined and starred areas on almost every page.

    I had no idea, really, of what to expect when I began to read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller. I read the entire book in two days-an easy, yet very deep, very powerful read. I laughed and I cried. And when I put the book aside, I felt kind of a mellow inspiration.

    I've had recent conversations with others about writing a new story, but I couldn't really wrap my head around the concept.

    Now I get it!

    Don is forced into editing his past life when he works with a couple of screen writers. He considered the role he played in his story to date and realized he spent a lot of his time daydreaming. He acknowledged that his life was actually empty of real stories and felt the "absent glory of a life that could have been."

    He writes, "I wasn't living any kind of sacrifice. My entire life had been designed to make myself more comfortable, to insulate myself from the interruption of my daydreams."

    And so he sets out to intentionally create a new life story filled with meaning, risk, and beauty. And he shares the stories of others who are doing that, too.

    He reminds us that our own country is "connected by roads one can ride a bike down. If you watch the news and there's a tragedy at a house in Kansas, that guy's driveway connects with yours, and you'd be surprised how few roads it takes to get there. The trip taught us that we were all neighbors, that my life is connected to everybody else's, that one person's story has the power to affect millions."

    And he expresses that it seems as though God is saying, "Write a good story, take somebody with you, and let me help."

    If you want more meaning in your life, this is a must read. I am starting my second read tonight with pen and paper in hand as I begin to write a new story of my own. Will you join me?

    Member of Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Million Miles

    "People love to have live a great story, but few like the work it takes to actually live that story." - Donald Miller

    I have heard the statement, "In the movie of your life," many times in conversation and it always makes me step back and take a look at the story of my life that God is writing. I often wonder, "What actor would play me? What about my best friends? What about your love interest? What songs would be on the soundtrack?"

    Donald Miller begins his newest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by writing about two film producers that approached him with the idea of making a movie based on his memoir, Blue Like Jazz. His description of the screenwriting process and story making is fascinating. He has to come to terms with the fact that his life is, frankly, quite boring.

    I have been a fan of Don (I call him Don when I talk about him to Derek too) for a while now, I follow him on Twitter, and I have read all of his books, I love the guy!

    But really, all of our lives would probably be pretty boring if they were made into movies. "Life is slower [than film]," he writes. "It's like we're all. waiting for something to happen, and every couple months the audience points at the screen and says, 'Look, that guy's getting a parking ticket.'"

    How many times have I daydreamed about my life-movie? The more I thought about it after reading the first few chapters of A Million Miles, though, the more I realized that the movie in my mind is based on a completely fictional life - one where I wear designer shoes and look like Reese Witherspoon and fall in love with someone who has a British accent, with a charming indie-rock soundtrack following me all the way. But let's face it, that is not my life. If I wanted to make my life into something anyone would pay nine dollars to come watch, it would take some serious editing.

    So I started thinking, what would I like my life to look like? Did I want to just go through life working to earn money, spending money, and then dying? Or did I want my life to be a story that people wanted to hear, or that I would want to look back on? I knew that God was showing me that I would have to work to live the life that I want. The life that God has planned for me.

    Don illustrates that the most fulfilling parts of our own lives are those where we made choices to create our own stories; when we consciously point ourselves in a new direction. We've got to take risks, we've got to learn from other people, and we've got to create memorable experiences. Because when you look back on your life, I'm sure you don't want to see it as one endless cycle of sitting around and eating food and watching television and going to the gym. You'll want to look back at the time you rode your bike across the country, or took a risk and pursued a relationship with someone, or jumped off a cliff. "There is a force in the world that doesn't want us to live good stories," Don writes. "It doesn't want us to face our issues, to face our fear and bring something beautiful in the world." We have to overcome our complacency in order to live a bigger life.

    Even Jesus says it,

    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

    In my opinion, good ol' Don has done it I said, I love this guy!

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