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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2002
There's a lot of truth in this small volume, in language that is simple enough for anyone to understand.
Don't skip the introduction (a habit I indulge in sometimes), as it's an explanation of this dream we call life.
Chapter 1 will open your eyes to just how much you've been "domesticated". "Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are".
Chapter 2: The power of language. To be impeccable with one's words, and speak the truth...not just to others, but what is sometimes the hardest, to oneself.
Chapter 3. I love this chapter ! It's about not taking anything personally. "Nothing other people do is because of you. It's because of themselves".
Chapter 4 is about not making assumptions, and the chaos we create when we make them. Chapter 5 is about doing your best...and about becoming a "master of transformation".
Chapter 6: "Breaking old agreements". Breaking free of "domestication". This is another great chapter, one that will challenge you and change you. Chapter 7 is about achieving "heaven on earth", and the book ends with two lovely prayers.
This little book of wisdom in the ancient Toltec tradition will help you find the path of the warrior, and the freedom to be "master of your own dream".
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on 5 March 2003
"The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz is some of the best money I have ever spent. For such a small book this one could certainly change many more lives that people I'll ever meet in mine. It breaks everything all down and lets your soul be your guide. The four basic agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Words.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
3. Don't Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.
You can't break it down much more than that. These basic goals and hopes are wonderfully helpful and a path to making ones life a bit easier.
While, I'm not one for a lot of self-awareness books, self-help, etc....but, I certainly found this one helpful, honest and forceful. It made me take a good look at myself and make some changes in how I plan to proceed from this day. If nothing else, give yourself a chance and read this book. It might be helpful.
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on 17 January 2008
Anyone brousing this review who's considering buying this book; I'd ask the following of you;

Imagine that you have permission to be happy and really enjoy your life - that your life is free of internal conflict within yourself and that created by others?

Imagine living your life without the fear of being judged by others? - that you know longer behave fearing how others might judge you?

Imagine letting go of any judgments you have about others and being able to forgive and not feeling the need to be right or make anyone else wrong?

Imagine you no longer fear being rejected and that you no longer have a compulsion to be accepted?

Imagine living without the fear of being loved or the need to be loved?

Imagine loving yourself for just the way you are without the need to live your life through someone else's eyes?

These are the fundamental questions this wonderful book answers via The Four Agreements.

Its a simple yet very profound read as it opens up our thinking and makes us realise how much energy we use and stress we take on in trying to live our lives under the burdons of social conditioning. It makes the point so clearly that its not what happens around us that counts, its how we choose to set our lives up and to live that matters.

Why should we choose to be victims in our own minds and carry around the weight of regret, hoplessness, envy or fear? Why should we shape our actions to constantly get the approval of others? - many who we have never even previously met?

This book has the answers. It makes the point that we aren't afraid to die but we are afraid to live and express ourselves. Its simple and it really drives the point home that we cannot continue to dwell in the past or to live in the future. We must live in the 'Now'
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on 12 January 2012
A concise introduction on how the human mind works and the influence of it in our everyday lives. My wife, who never reads self-help books found it a joy to read. It's possible that this book could generate a 'lightbulb' moment for you but if you are in a critical frame of mind when you read it then its not going to help. When you truly grasp the agreements I believe that your life can change. I used to be a very critical, cynical and negative person. I had many stories in my head about what people should be like and what damage they were doing to me. What I didn't realise was that I was the cause of my pain. This book together with the Power of Now gave me an understanding of this and was the trigger for a big change in my life.

Now I am very careful how I speak to my wife, my daughter and those I contact. I understand that my words have the ability to build relationships and also to destroy them too. I am careful about the thoughts that I think and this allows me to step back from the stories in my head and to question them. If my mind makes an assumption then I will question it to see if it is really true. In most cases it is not. In the past I used to get very offended by what people used to say to me but now in some cases I am able to understand the situation a lot better and see it clearer. The Four Agreements provided the trigger to question my mind and the damage I was causing to myself.
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Ironic, for a title that preaches using 'impeccable words'. The book has good intentions, but there is nothing unique about these ideas that have not been spoken about (more articulately, I should add) elsewhere. To choose one's words carefully is a good practice for everyone, but to label anything less than words of love as 'spells' and 'black magic' is problematic. It's about the most unpractical 'practical guide' I've come across. It is not possible to function in society without the ability to assess something (to judge--another no-no) and to make an intelligent, considered response.

The examples used in the book are pretty ridiculous, using a little girl's reaction to the word 'ugly' as the cornerstone for this preaching. Of course one should not use such crushing words to a person about their appearance--but that isn't so much about using words wisely, that's just a lesson to not bully!

Where are the practical tips on how to be assertive and retain loving integrity? If to speak a harsh word to anyone is 'black magic' then how can one find justice? This book seems to assume just your personal relationships, but that's easy enough to focus solely on because generally we have love for the people close to us. But how does this book apply to dealing with others, in a professional environment? Or in a circumstance when a complaint is necessary through neglect or, at worst, abuse from someone? This book does not address that, and if you take this book word for word then you instantly fall into a paradoxical existence.
The term 'agreement' in this book is the same thing that is known more widely as Core Beliefs within conventional therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

I agree with the other one star reviews on here, that the points laid out in this book make no real sense. The second agreement is to not take things personally. So why is there a need for agreement rule one, of impeccable speech? Why bother at all to be mindful of your words when the next lesson is not to take anyone else's words personally? It negates the object. And just as another fellow reviewer pointed out, if we never take critism to heart then we are refusing to learn from mistakes. I've grown enormously in my life from taking on board hurtful home truths.

Another of the agreements is to not make assumptions. Again, the pitfalls are obvious. It is our ability to judge and assess a situation that can keep us safe, and assumptions play a very large role in our ability to assess. It plays a large role in what we like better to call 'gut instinct'. It's actually very important. Assessing life leads to the greatest successes we experience--fulfilling the soul's desire to love another who is the right person for us. Without assessing or making 'assumptions', I'd still be in the relationship I was at age 15, and I would not be a happier person for it, I can tell you that!

The examples used throughout this book are for the small world. The harsh word to the child. The wrong way we perceive a smile (or a frown) from a stranger in the mall. If these are my biggest worries in life, then I live in a miraculous world. Unfortunately, this is not my reality. I don't believe it's anyone's, except maybe the author's. The last of the four agreements is to always do one's best. That is a good reminder if we've forgotten, but hardly worth paying the exorbitant price of this tiny little paperback for. Which brings me to pull into question the author's own practices. Don Miguel Ruiz--is deciding, along with your publisher, to charge your readers over twice the minimum hourly wage for a tiny paperback book your view of doing your best?
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on 30 January 2006
I normally don't enjoy books like this; I find that they tend to peddle a load of easy answers couched in saccharine psycho-babble. This book is different. It's written in short and elegant sentences and it keeps its subject matter as simple as possible. There are no diagrams, no neologisms and no spurious theories. It's very much in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle.
I got a lot out of this book and I think that the message it contains is a very important one.
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on 20 August 2005
Having read the other reviews about this book, I decided to buy it. WOW, AM I GLAD I DID!!!! I read the book in 2 hours flat and could not believe how it answered all those questions I wandered about in relation to my childhood. The fact that what I thought I believed, was not what 'I' truly believed. My beliefs came from my parents, teachers, friends, etc. I am so happy I have read this now whilst my daughter is only 2 years old. I will use the four agreements from this day and teach her to do so.
The simple words and concepts make it all the more enjoyable. I know what I'll be buying my friends and family for Christmas presents!! Thank you Ruiz, you really are my shining light!!!
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on 7 October 2004
OUTSTANDING... I have read many reviews and claims of books changing peoples lives and although i can't honestly say this book has changed my life it certainly had an impact and improved the clarity of my awareness. The simple but powerful Toltec principles are beautifully illustrated throughout this book and whilst i personally do not subscribe to the "GOD" references i can honestly recommend this book to anyone. In fact i have purchased many copies since and given to parents, friends, colleagues in the hope that it will also impact their lives in the way it has mine and improve in some small way the world we live in.... It all starts with ourselves ! 10/10..
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on 15 February 2002
It is difficult to disagree with the content of this book, but it is not easy to live up to. To be impeccable with our word requires awareness of our own intentions and the effects of our words on others. Ruiz correctly points out that we waste our energy when we use our word against ourselves or others. To take nothing personally sounds a lot easier than it is in reality; our reason may be able to follow this agreement, but it must take a lot of practice to avoid that stinging pain in the heart that verbal abuse can cause. Many of the ideas here seem to be derived from the work of Carlos Castaneda, and might be more fully understood by someone familiar with his philosophy. Nonetheless Ruiz has plenty to say and explains it clearly. These insights will change your life, but require constant effort to get results. Remember that reading this is not enough, you need to do the work yourself.
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on 29 May 1998
I have read so many books promising joy in my life, yet I have read none so simple and practical as that of the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The book is a beautiful instruction guide to achieve a life of freedom and happiness. He teaches four lifestyle commitments, which can transform life into the realization of your own personal dream. Written from his heart, the Four Agreements has made profound changes in my life. What seemed insurmountable challenges became powerful lessons which I was able to embrace with faith and love. What is the dream that you hold for yourself? Allow the magic of don Miguel's wisdom to shift your life into a masterful awareness of all you want for yourself.Become the power that you want in yourlife, realize the opportunites before you and then you can live in a heaven created from the beauty of your own heart. I have given the book to many people, who, only reading it once, have initiated life changes. My personal experience with don Miguel is that no matter how little you are exposed to him, your heart will always be touched. He and his words are the touch of an angel. Treat yourself to a world without limits!
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