The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

( 253 )

Overview

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. 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. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

..the Four Agreements ...

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Overview

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. 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. The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

..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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When you get tangled in endless dilemmas -- at home, at work, or with friends -- you need to simplify. Don Miguel Ruiz offers the means. In this small book of wisdom, Ruiz, a shaman and healer, instructs us in the four agreements that ensure right conduct. Be impeccable with your word, Ruiz urges. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. Through this small but potent tract, Ruiz explains how Toltec laws can help us simplify and how they can lead us out of everyday snares and into personal freedom.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ruiz's explanations of Toltec-based cosmography got a major boost recently when publishing pooh-bah Oprah Winfrey mentioned his work on her TV show. Ruiz, whose workshop teachings are distilled here, was born into a Mexican family of traditional healers, became a surgeon in adulthood, then underwent a near-death experience that made him reexamine his life, his beliefs. Like the popular works of the late Carlos Castaneda, Ruiz's teachings focus on dreams and visions. "Dreaming," Ruiz argues, "is the main function of the mind." A series of four "agreements" are detailed, which make up a larger picture of unconditional human faith. Despite the New Age- sounding language, Ruiz is refreshingly clear in the presentation of his ideas. Reading aloud, actor Coyote sounds every bit the enthusiastic old hippie, genuinely excited by the concepts he is spinning. Based on the 1997 Amber-Allen edition. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Unknown - Deepak Chopra
Don Miguel Ruiz’s book is a roadmap to enlightenment and freedom.” — Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Unknown - Wayne W. Dyer
“An inspiring book with many great lessons . . .” — Wayne Dyer, Author, Real Magic
Unknown - Dan Millman
“In the tradition of Castaneda, Ruiz distills essential Toltec wisdom, expressing with clarity and impeccability what it means for men and women to live as peaceful warriors in the modern world.” — Dan Millman, Author, Way of the Peaceful Warrior
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781878424310
  • Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Series: Toltec Wisdom Series , #0
  • Pages: 138
  • Sales rank: 586
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Miguel Ruiz was born into a family of healers, and raised in rural Mexico by a curandera (healer) mother and a nagual (shaman) grandfather. The family anticipated that Miguel would embrace their centuries-old legacy of healing and teaching, and carry forward the esoteric Toltec knowledge. Instead, distracted by modern life, Miguel chose to attend medical school and become a surgeon. A near-death experience changed his life. Late one night in the early 1970s, he awoke suddenly, having fallen asleep at the wheel of his car. At that instant the car careened into a wall of concrete. Don Miguel remembers that he was not in his physical body as he pulled his two friends to safety.

Stunned by this experience, he began an intensive practice of self-inquiry. He devoted himself to the mastery of the ancient ancestral wisdom, studying earnestly with his mother, and completing an apprenticeship with a powerful shaman in the Mexican desert. His grandfather, who had since passed on, continued to teach him in his dreams.

In the tradition of the Toltec, a nagual guides an individual to personal freedom. Don Miguel Ruiz, a nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage, is dedicated to sharing his knowledge of the teachings of the ancient Toltec. For more than a decade, he has worked to impart this wisdom to his students through lectures, workshops, and journeys to sacred sites around the world.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Domestication and the Dream of the Planet

What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake.

Dreaming is the main function of the mind, and the mind dreams twenty-four hours a day. It dreams when the brain is awake, and it also dreams when the brain is asleep. The difference is that when the brain is awake, there is a material frame that makes us perceive things in a linear way. When we go to sleep we do not have the frame, and the dream has the tendency to change constantly.

Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream that we will call society's dream or the dream of the planet. The dream of the planet is the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community, a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity. The dream of the planet includes all of society's rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its governments, schools, social events, and holidays.

We are born with the capacity to learn how to dream, and the humans who live before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams. The outside dream has so many rules that when a new human is born, we hook the child's attention and introduce these rules into his or her mind. The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the schools, and religion to teach us how to dream.

Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive. We can perceive millions ofthings simultaneously, but using our attention, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind. The adults around us hooked our attention and put information into our minds through repetition. That is the way we learned everything we know.

By using our attention we learned a whole reality, a whole dream. We learned how to behave in society: what to believe and what not to believe; what is acceptable and what is not acceptable; what is good and what is bad; what is beautiful and what is ugly; what is right and what is wrong. It was all there already - all that knowledge, all those rules and concepts about how to behave in the world.

When you were in school, you sat in a little chair and put your attention on what the teacher was...

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Domestication and the Dream of the Planet 1
2 The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word 25
3 The Second Agreement: Don't Take Anything Personally 47
4 The Third Agreement: Don't Make Assumptions 63
5 The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best 75
6 The Toltec Path to Freedom: Breaking Old Agreements 93
7 The New Dream: Heaven on Earth 123
Prayers 131
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Introduction

Introduction

Three Masteries, Four Agreements

The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile, but only for those kinds of seeds it is prepared for.

The first time you read The Four Agreements, some part of you knows that you have heard these concepts before or have experienced them in your life, though perhaps not as simply.

In reading The Four Agreements you discover that humans create thousands of agreements based mainly on making assumptions and taking everything personally, and by doing this, we are using the power of our word against ourselves. We are using all the power of our creation to create a dream that sets us up to suffer for the rest of our lives.

The Four Agreements are a tool for transformation, leading you to stop judging, mainly yourself, and to start practicing another way of life. They lead you to stop the guilt, the shame, and the self-rejection; they help you break the agreements that limit the expression of your creativity, and replace them with new agreements that facilitate the expression of your love.

With The Four Agreements, my intention was to create a messenger that can enter the imagination of readers and change their point of view. If you have practiced these agreements, you already know what they can do. They have the capacity to go directly into your belief system, into those thousands of agreements you made with yourself, and create a doubt. And just like magic, because they are magic, the Four Agreements slowly free the faith that is trapped inside your belief system. Little by little, you recover your integrity, and the real you starts to awaken.

The Four Agreements are like a map that tells you all the different ways to reach your destination. Their simplicity is what makes them so easy to use in so many directions. But the map is just one half. You are the other half. In any relationship, there are two halves. The book, the messenger, is one half of the relationship, but you are the other half, and that is the beauty of this relationship: your half.

If you have a goal and you use the messenger as your guide, you are going to reach your goal. With The Four Agreements, you can learn how to heal your emotional body. You can use it to change your belief system and create a brand new belief system. You can use it to heal your marriage, your relationships with your friends, and your relationships at work, and to improve your life in every way. But first, because it’s a map, you have to start with awareness of where you are and where you want to be.

Thousands of years ago the Toltec created three masteries to guide us out of suffering and return us to our true nature: happiness, freedom, and love. The Toltec encouraged us to see ourselves with truth, and they created a mastery just for awareness. The first mastery, the Mastery of Awareness, is the first step toward personal freedom, because we cannot be free if we don’t know what we are, where we are, or what kind of freedom we are looking for. In this mastery, we become aware of the fog that is in our mind. We become aware that we are dreaming all the time, and that everybody else is dreaming. The Mastery of Awareness can also be called the Mastery of Truth.

The second Toltec mastery, the Mastery of Transformation, shows us how to change the dream of our life. The goal of the second mastery is to put order into the chaos of the mitote – into all of the voices inside our mind – to face our fears, to transform our fears, and to get results. The result we want is the freedom to live our own life instead of the life of the Parasite or the belief system. The Mastery of Transformation is achieved by changing our agreements and reprogramming our own mind in our own way. The Four Agreements are a summary of the Mastery of Transformation.

The result of the first two masteries is a mind that is Parasite-free, and that is the third mastery, the Mastery of Love, or the Mastery of Intent. From the Toltec point of view, love or intent is that part of life that makes the transformation of energy possible. It is Life itself; it is unconditional love. Everything is made with love because everything comes from God or Life. When we master love, we master the dream of our life, and when all three masteries are accomplished, we reclaim our divinity and become one with God. Then every action we take is an expression of the One Being. This is the goal of the Toltec.

For those of you who want to explore the third mastery, I have written a book called The Mastery of Love, which shows you what a dream based on love looks like. The Mastery of Love is the result of the first two masteries, and it offers a better way of living our life with love. But for now, the third mastery is not what we will focus on. The first two masteries are the subject of this book.

In the first part of this companion book, before we talk about applying the Four Agreements, the emphasis is on awareness. What do we want to be aware of

In Part One, we focus on three things:

1. Human suffering begins with domestication. When we are children, other people hook our attention and teach us to dream the way the society dreams. This is how our attention is used for the first time to create the first dream of our life.

2. Humans are creators, but our power of creation is invested in our beliefs. The power of our word, which is the same as our intent, our will, our faith, and our love, is trapped inside a rigid structure of beliefs. This leaves us with little power to change our dream.

3. The function of the human mind is to dream, but we have learned to dream without awareness. Once we are aware that we are dreaming, we awake from the dream and recover our power to change the dream whenever we choose. When we discover that we have the power to create a dream of heaven, we want to change our dream, and the Four Agreements are the perfect tool for that.

In Part Two of this companion book, we explore several ways to master the art of dreaming:
4. Using your will and attention for the second time. In the dream of the second attention, you choose to believe what you want to believe, and that includes believing in yourself.

5. Using the Four Agreements to change your actions—reactions. Every choice you make has a consequence or result. When you change the action, you change the result, and you change the dream of your life.

6. Using attach—detach to surrender to the angel of death. The angel of death can teach you to live in the present moment instead of the past or the future. When your attention is in the present moment, you enjoy life more intensely because you are fully alive.

This companion book will give you more information about the first two masteries, but information is not enough. Information is merely the seed in your mind. What will really make the difference is action.

If you practice the Four Agreements, you will master the Four Agreements. Eventually, after many repetitions, these agreements will become a habit, and you will see how your life is transformed.

There is a beautiful story about Jesus telling his disciples that his words are like seeds and he sends his seeds everywhere. Some seeds land on rock and never grow. Some seeds go into land that is fertile on the surface, but hard underneath; these seeds start sprouting, but soon die. Then there are the seeds that go into land that is very fertile, and they grow strong and become big trees. And you will know the tree by its fruit.

I love that metaphor. It is wonderful to see how many people who have practiced the Four Agreements have already grown into trees that bear fruit.

Just imagine if you could live in a society where the Four Agreements were a habit for everybody, where this habit was the way they expressed life. Imagine living in a society where everybody practiced love until they mastered love. It will happen; it is just a matter of time. There is already a new dream in this world that is ready to be dreamed by humans, Parasite-free. The sun has already changed; the light has changed. We just need humans to dream the new dream.

By using the Four Agreements in our own life, we modify our personal dream, and soon our new dream will modify the outside dream. There is no need to actively try to modify the outside dream. This happens naturally as a result of our own transformation.

Deciding to focus on our own freedom isn’t selfish; it is the greatest gift we can give to humanity.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 253 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(164)

4 Star

(48)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 253 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2007

    The road to love is paved with pride?

    Many people seem to like this book, but I am not quite sure why. This book is full of very common platitudes and dangerously self-centered ideas. The main premise of this book seems to be that each person should treat themselves like the center of the universe. He states that if someone criticizes you or is angry with you, it is because of their own issues, and not you, and therefore you have no responsibility to address it (he terms their feelings and words 'black magic' and 'poison'). Well, sometimes you ARE the problem, and pretending that you are not will not lead you to any sort of 'heaven on earth,' especially for the people around you. He also contradicts himself (i.e., we are all God but there is also a Creator who is separate - how does that work?), misquotes the Bible to support his statements, and has a tough time staying on topic. Do not waste your time reading this - find something substantial that will move you to exhibit real love to those around you and to yourself.

    62 out of 97 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2004

    excellent

    I am not a 'how to' reader, but I love this book and frequently give it as a gift. I am also a Christian, while at the same time being open-minded and willing to hear other people's points of view. The basic 'agreements' do not infringe on my beliefs. Those that are offended should try not to 'take it personally' (one of the 4 agreements). If all religions could apply these principles we would be much better off.

    30 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    Amazing and life changing

    I'm in recovery for Bulimia and my therapist actually recommended this book and I'm so glad she did! I thought it was amazing and everything seemed to hit so close to home. It all seems so simple but he elaborates on all the agreements and really makes you want to follow them.

    One person wrote that he says if someone else is angry w/ you or whatever it's their problem, etc. And the reviewer said maybe sometimes it is your fault. I interpreted it differently. He definitely makes it clear that you are in control and if you judge someone or are angry w/ someone, it has to do with you and your beliefs. So he was saying if someone is angry with you it has to do w/ their beliefs, so it works both way.

    I like how he really makes you feel like you are in control. Other reviewers have said it's self centered, but the only thing you can truly control is indeed yourself! So if you life isn't going right, etc then it's most likely you and not any of the things you're blaming.

    28 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2006

    Some True Points, Could be better

    This is the first time I rate a book here. I bought this book and read it in three days. It does contain some good advices, but I think its lessons are just repetitive. The message of this book is well known by most of us. Be careful when you talk, don't take everything so serious, ask questions before doing something, and do your best at what you do. I was a little disappointed with this book.

    20 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2001

    I hate to disagree with a best seller

    I have read many spiritual authors and after reading the reviews of this book I decided to give it a try. The book has a lovely cover and a lovely premise I just found that it did not ring true for me. I ordinarily do not leave reviews but I thought it might be helpful to give a counterpoint to the lavish praise of this book. I found this prescription for happiness not only simplistic but also a denial of the human condition. I don't even think I'd like living in the heaven that Ruiz describes. Some of his ideas are thought provoking, perhaps even disturbing if a person was to take them to heart. Not for everyone.

    17 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Personal spirituality not bashing of Christian beliefs

    Amazing how many christians are made about this book This book is about how we how the self is the source of our own happiness All the author is saying is that our thoughts drive our beliefs and actions When we stop judging and hurting ourselves then we can enjoy life even when other people try to hurt or obstruct us You need to look inside u for answers It is not about giving up ur belief in God it is about giving up beliefs that cause u to suffer by ur own hand of the hand of others Stop reading into this as turning against the Bible The book is about finding and attaining inner peace
    That is it The book was helpful to me

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book, must read for everyone!

    I recently bought this book again because every copy I've ever owned, I've given away only to realize some months later that I no longer have it when I need to review it for myself! Anyway , this is a wonderful little treasure and a concise way to regain focus and self esteem when the world becomes overwhelming. Life is hard and sometimes we all need a review or a new perspective on how to handle the challenges we face as human beings. Sometimes, the most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves and this book focuses on that and how we all sometimes have mistaken beliefs that effect our daily life in a detrimental way. I think this is a must read for just about everyone and as I've said, I've given away quite a few of these but I always end up buying a copy just for myself to have so I can go back to it!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2004

    No Stars - Christians, Look to Gods Word and Agree.

    I really tried to give this book a chance, as it was reccomended to me. But being a Christian who believes that we all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, this book was not for me. As it states the only sins are sins we commit against ourselves. It dismisses the 10 commandments. It starts out stating we are gods and that everything that we have been taught has been lies especially by ministers and priests and 'organized religion', whatever that is. The authors problem seems to be with authority of any kind. I agree with the statements about the power of our words, but to state that if you say someone looks like they have cancer and they agree with you, that they will have cancer in a year is too absurd. I have gone down different roads in my search for God, and it has lead me to where Iam now, which is saved by the Blood of the Lamb. There are many ways that God draws us to himself, and for some this may be a step in that direction. But for Christians there are many other choices out there, The Bible being the best way to get info on how to order your life with others and with God.

    12 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2000

    Far from the Best!

    The basic premise behind this book is conveyed through the book. The problem with this book is that it is overly repetative. The author begins discussing great personal tips, then goes outside of the plain of common sense into a world of non-sense. A prime example is within his chapter on Don't Take Anything Personal', he discusses not to even take it person if someone shoots you in the head! What is he talking about? There are better examples to use of than being shot in the head. This book is really good at times and then meanders into repetative mumbo jumbo. Recommend you look elsewhere.

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    Excellent, practical information for every day living

    I read this book for a 2 year spirituality class and received much more out of it that is practical for people of all ages. I have kids and have found I can simplify the lessions and help them deal with peer pressure and social situations. It's also helped improve communication in my marriage. What interested me is that as I was reading it, several parents called to talk about things that were upsetting them or their kids and I could pass along the insights of Don Miguel Ruiz. It helped me realize that when people get frustrated and say something that sounds hurtful, it's more about what they are going through and not really aimed at me. They've had a tough day, they are stressed about someone in their family, they're running late. Be impeccable with your words, don't take things personally, don't make assumptions and do your best. I also think you'll enjoy his follow-up book The Fifth Agreement.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    It did not speak to me at all.

    I received this book as a gift and quite frankly I was a little disappointed. It was repetitive and the wording was too 'simple' minded if you will. As an intelectual thinker I found it to be quite boring.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    Not quite what I expected

    When I browsed through the book, it seemed very thought-provoking. However, when I sat down to read it cover to cover, I found the writing style a bit simple for me and occasionally repetitive. Still, there are some interesting lessons to be learned from this book.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2005

    Terrible!

    I thought this book was a bunch of nonsense. I mean I like self-help books as much as the next person but most of what this guy said was garbage. Maybe just maybe he had like 3 good points in the whole book.Save your money and get it from the libraray. This book was a waste of time.

    6 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2010

    Unexpectedly useful

    I brought the book for extra credit for a class and was hesitant to read it at first. I was surprise to find it useful and educational. I started applying these four agreements to my daily life and found it to be true. It was hard to change, but I took it step by step and found that I started being more positive about my future. My job and studies started to improve and don't get in as much trouble as I use to. I see why the professor wanted us to read the book and I want others to read it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    I CARRY THIS BOOK WITH ME EVERYWHERE

    THIS BOOK HAS BECOME A GUIDE BOOK FOR MY LIFE. IT TEACHES SIMPLE ACTIONS AND WAYS TO HANDLE LIFE...IDEAS I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF ON MY OWN.
    IT DEFINATELY KEEPS ME CENTERED AND I REFER TO IT OFTEN.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Great book for personal development!

    It was very inspirational to me. I liked it and I will read it again next year.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I just had to buy this, I loved every part of it. I also Love MY

    I just had to buy this, I loved every part of it. I also Love MYSTIC by R.E
    It has a great focus on a diversity of topics

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Excellent Read

    Ruiz has produced a masterpiece. Simple and straighforward.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    Zero Stars - Stupid Book

    Not well written. Not logical. Full of unsubstantiated assertions. Should a statement that there is no truth be considered true? For genuine ancient wisdom and a deeper understanding of human nature, try the Bible.

    4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Some Truths.

    This book contains a number of truths. It should not be considered the 'end all' of wisdom though-- the acquisition of wisdom is not something one can complete by reading 138 pages. 'Wisdom Literature' was a specialty study of mine when I was earning my master's. Solomon, Confucius, Plato and the other 'great ones' are still the best, even after thousands of years, but Ruiz isn't bad.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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