What Are the Four Agreements?

Don Miguel Ruiz

There are some moments in life which are bound to change us profoundly.

Sometimes it can be an innocuous lollipop moment, and sometimes it can be the death of a loved one.

In the case of Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz, a Mexican author born on August 27, 1952, it was a near-fatal car accident.

Born into a large family in rural Mexico – he was the youngest of 13 children! – Miguel didn’t have a great life for most of his childhood, scarred by poverty and numerous obstacles.

His parents, healers, and practitioners of ancient Toltec wisdom and traditions offered him everything they could, and he learned a lot of them even as a child.

With their help and the help of his siblings, he fought through all of the hardships and managed to become a neurosurgeon, just like one of his older brothers.

And for few years, he practiced medicine with him in Tijuana, thinking that he had found the goal and object of his life.

And then the accident occurred.

Don Miguel Ruiz saw his life passed before his eyes and realized that it was not the life he was supposed to be living.

So, left both his promising medical career and Tijuana and went back to his mother to learn more about the “essential truth about life and humanity.”

His mother passed on him the ancestral teachings of the Toltecs, and Don Miguel Ruiz soon realized that, through her words, he had already embarked on his journey to awareness.

But it was not enough.

So, he apprenticed himself to a shaman and spent many years studying and absorbing the secrets of the ancients. And his initial vision rapidly “evolved into a deep understanding of the physical universe and the virtual world of the mind.”

Since he had a scientific background, don Miguel became conscious of the fact that he was one of the very few people on the planet capable of merging the wisdom of the Toltecs with modern physics and biology.

So, he did just that.

And that’s how “The Four Agreements” was born.

Published in 1997 and subtitled “A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” “The Four Agreements” quickly went on to dominate the bestseller lists and during the past two decades has sold over six million copies in the United States alone.

In addition, it has been translated into no less than 40 languages, becoming a bestseller in almost every country where it was eventually published.

Just like its subtitle promises, “The Four Agreements” is an applicable 4-step routine which can help you achieve a “long-term, personal transformation” and finally become the man you want to be.

The 4 steps are actually the 4 agreements of the title, which, in Don Miguel’s terminology are, in fact, a sort of “thought habits” or oaths.

Simply put, they are 4 promises you make to yourself – and 4 sentences you repeat as many times as possible until they become an irrefutable fact.

But –

What Are the Four Agreements?

Before we analyze them more thoroughly, here’s a nice visual representation:

What Are the Four Agreements

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable with Your Word

It’s not as easy as it may seem: being impeccable with your word is actually one of the most difficult things you can do in your life!

Because to be impeccable with your word means to:

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.

Look up the word “impeccable” in the dictionary, and you’ll realize just how difficult it is to be impeccable with your word.

Because “impeccable” means “faultless,” “immaculate,” “perfect,” and “above reproach.” It means saying the things you really want to say, and, yet, never saying anything which is not love and truth.

Because words have energy, and because their energy – whether good or bad – will eventually come flooding back to you, to make you smile or haunt you.

The best part: it’s your choice!

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

To quote Don Miguel Ruiz:

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 needless suffering.

Stop thinking that you are the main character in everyone’s story!

Because, the fact is that you can be the protagonist in one and one story only – your story.

And the same is true for everybody.

Consequently, everyone is right in the novel he is writing himself or herself. Everyone is the hero and the winner in his or her own story.

When someone wants to impose his or her worldview on someone else, he/she is actually trying to rewrite someone else’s story unknowingly.

This is the birthplace of all the misunderstandings and quarrels of the world.

It doesn’t mean that if two people don’t agree with each other that only one of them is right. It usually means nothing more than that their stories are incompatible.

But what should you do in these kinds of cases?

Easy!

Just – apologize and forgive.

That doesn’t mean that you’ve made something wrong.

It only means that you value your friendships more than your ego.

And that’s a great thing!

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Don Miguel presents the penultimate agreement in the following manner:

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.

When you think about it, this mantra is as old as time!

Or at least as old as 1973 when the “Odd Couple” Season 3 episode “My Strife in Court” premiered. At one point, the main character of the show, Felix Unger, says something we feel obliged to quote here:

“You should never ASSUME. Because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS, of U, and ME!”

And Don Miguel says that he’s got a point!

Just stop trying to read other people’s minds!

Because the chances are you’re doing it wrong and making life worse for everyone – especially yourself:

Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

The final agreement is as straightforward as they come: always do your best!

Your best changes from moment to moment; your best is different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Simply do your best under any circumstance to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

This agreement is Don Miguel’s favorite.

Why shouldn’t it be?

It’s the one which transforms the abstract concepts of the first three agreements in reality and success:

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Bonus: Agreement #5: Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen

Fifteen years after the first four agreements saw the light of the day, Don Miguel Ruiz teamed up with his son Don Jose Ruiz to write “The Fifth Agreement,” adding one more oath to the four the world was already so profoundly familiar with.

This one’s about being skeptical but only after listening to other people’s stories.

A hint: the first part of it is the easier one.

Final Notes

What more can we say about a book we’ve featured on more best-of lists than basketball analysts have featured Michael Jordan in!

It’s one of the most inspiring books out there, and one of the top self-help books ever written.

And if you want to – you can start reading a selection of its best quotes this very instant.

Just click here.

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The Four Agreements BEST Quotes – Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements Quotes

The Four Agreements Summary reveals the mastery and courage of full transformation. We must eradicate the habit of making endless mistakes unless we perceive them as life-lessons – one of the masteries of the Toltec.

Facilitate the connection between the outer and inner world! You don’t have to burn in an everlasting fire, ignited by your own prejudices and concepts. Instead of creating heaven on Earth, create a heaven from within, with the help of several applicable agreements. The bliss awaits you, unleash that wisdom and allow it to express itself in multiple ways.

Never underestimate the power of The Four Agreements! They are not some words written by Don Miguel Ruiz since their flawlessness overshadows any other law of power and influence.

Don’t shy away from challenges – give these TOP 5 quotes a try:

Your word is the power that you have to create. Click To Tweet Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally … Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Click To Tweet Don't take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. Click To Tweet All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Click To Tweet Always do your best! Click To Tweet

Do you feel the pull of The Four Agreements Quotes? If you are still living on the edge of misery you’ve got nothing to lose by applying them. Passing the blame on your parents or society is perhaps the height of depression.

Stop the self-imposed abuse, because you must go full-steam if you want to absorb the meaning of life.

Don’t be the victim, be the victor!

“The Four Agreements Quotes” don’t end here, we’ve got a lot more to offer:

“If you touch the infected skin, it is going to hurt, so you try to cover and protect the skin. You will not enjoy being touched because it hurts”

“If we can see our state of mind as a disease, we find there is a cure.”

“Forgiveness is the only way to heal.”

“Once you forgive God, you can finally forgive yourself.”

“WHAT YOU ARE SEEING AND HEARING RIGHT NOW is nothing but a dream.”

“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.”

“Children compete for the attention of their parents, their teachers, their friends. “Look at me! Look at what I’m doing! Hey, I’m here.” The need for attention becomes very strong and continues into adulthood.”

“Breaking the rules in the Book of Law opens your emotional wounds, and your reaction is to create emotional poison. Because everything that is in the Book of Law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe.”

“If you abuse yourself very badly, you can even tolerate someone who beats you up, humiliates you, and treats you like dirt.”

“One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that make us suffer, that make us fail in life.”

“All our normal tendencies are lost in the process of domestication. And when we are old enough for our mind to understand, we learn the word no.”

“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.”

“Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive.”

“Day by day, at home, at school, at church, and from television, we are told how to live, what kind of behavior is acceptable. The outside dream teaches us how to be a human. We have a whole concept of what a “woman” is and what a “man” is.”

“The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted.”

“We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again.”

“Just as the government has a book of laws that rule the society’s dream, our belief system is the Book of Laws that rules our personal dream.”

“The belief system is like a Book of Law that rules our mind. Without question, whatever is in that Book of Law, is our truth. We base all of our judgments according to the Book of Law, even if these judgments go against our own inner nature.”

“During our domestication, our parents and siblings gave their opinions about us without even thinking. We believed these opinions and we lived in fear over these opinions, like not being good at swimming, or sports, or writing.”

“The whole dream is based on false law. Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.”

“In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself.”

“We try to please Mom and Dad, we try to please the teachers at school, we try to please the church, and so we start acting.”

“We don’t see the truth because we are blind. What blinds us are all those false beliefs we have in our mind.”

“We have the need to be accepted and to be loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves.”

“We dishonor ourselves just to please other people.”

“You can transcend the dream of hell just by making the agreement to be impeccable with your word.”

“A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.”

“Only the truth will set us free.”

“When we see the world through a computer virus, it is easy to justify the cruelest behavior. What we don’t see is that misuse of our word is putting us deeper into hell.”

“The truth is that the mother’s tolerance for any noise was nonexistent.”

“We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough.”

“Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison. We learned how to gossip by agreement.”

“As children, we do this quite thoughtlessly, but as we grow older, we become much more calculated in our efforts to bring other people down.”

“The mind is divided as your body is divided.”

“The Judge decrees, and the Victim suffers the guilt and punishment.”

“If you consider hell as a state of mind, then hell is all around us.”

“Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best — no more and no less than your best.”

“The freedom we seek is to use our own mind and body, to live our own life, instead of the life of the belief system.”

“We cannot change an agreement with less power than we used to make the agreement.”

“The way you see the world will depend upon the emotions you are feeling”

Our Final Notes

With high hopes and big dreams, you should pursue the goal of life. Why take on a single law, when you can use four, perhaps even five considering The Fifth Agreement?

Change your mindset, because it’s time for you to run the last lap of anxiety.

Since the smell of victory is drawing nearer.

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GREATEST The Fifth Agreement Summary

The Fifth Agreement SummaryA Practical Guide to Self-Mastery

Growing up doesn’t mean stop exploring, and taking a defensive stance. It’s needless to say that often things flow in a predictable direction.

What prevents you from tackling these self-imposed restrictions?

In this book summary, we reveal all the critical elements for avoiding capture!

Who Should Read “The Fifth Agreement”? And Why?

Take your time with this book as well. Soon you’ll be introduced to a new perspective – which indicates why patience is key in life.

We believe that “The Fifth Agreement” serve as a benchmark for future inner victories.

As such it is prescribed for all individuals who are in need of a transformation and quick shift.

About Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz

Don Miguel RuizDon Miguel Ruiz is a Mexican writer, who is categorized as a spiritualist and a shaman. He was born on August 27, 1952, in a large family – being the youngest of 13 children.

Don Jose Ruiz

Among his notable work, you can find classics like The Four Agreements, The Mastery of Love and The Voice of Knowledge.

Don Jose Ruiz is the son of Don Miguel Ruiz.

“The Fifth Agreement Summary”

How about we return to the basics of life and the freedom it carries.

Sometimes, it seems too painful because all the sorrow we acquired along the road. Nonetheless, you cannot run away from agreements.

A good book can facilitate the meeting between practices and personal opinion:

The truth about whether you have the integrity to proceed rests on your shoulders. Adhering to someone else’s proven norms and laws is one way, trying your “beastly” luck is the other.

What is the deal with grown-ups?

We ended up being taught both at school and home – how to behave like adults. In reality, they or in some case “we” are the ones who misbehave.

Once we reach a state of adulthood, a person begins to lose that sense of innocence, meanwhile an opinion is formed followed by the development of a habit for making snap judgments.

Recover your energy, and keep the blood flowing with several open-minded techniques that disregard those pointless habits we’ve acquired over the years.

Return to your natural state, and don’t allow these concepts to trouble your well-being.

If you ever wondered what bravery is… Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz just gave you a clue:

Undoubtedly, our mind is prone to mental variations due to the societal pull that suffocates our uniqueness.

But, even this is a choice, no one can take advantage of you if you don’t establish such a hostile relationship with yourself.

Test and question your beliefs, don’t follow them blindly. Whatever gives you the edge trust it, if something brings you sorrow neglect it.

Even though it sounds too simple, is often a lot harder than it looks and feels.

Here’s the best part:

The childhood is filled with carefree, playful time. Not only that the media cannot affect and jeopardize that peacefulness, but also can’t get near it.

Fun fact: You cannot find a kid, worrying about its clothes, what colors to wear or whether this particular fashion accessory fits the combination.

Get our point?

They only run around carelessly with a pure, innocent and simple intention to quench their thirst for entertainment. We seek to fulfill our needs and instincts, simply because it makes us happy.

Prior to education, we’ve undergone some proper, old-fashioned and classic parental upbringing.

Although these thoughts and laws should serve our interest, it’s often vice versa. Don’t punish yourself anymore, allow new energy to enter your heart and mind.

Why is it called the agreement, and not the law or practice?

The emphasis falls on the word or should you prefer the term “agree.” The symbolic meaning is both explained and presented as an asset, not as some universal truth.

If you don’t distinguish these terms you’ll again turn out to be miserable.

First and foremost, freeing yourself takes time, determination and most importantly discipline.

“The Fifth Agreement” talks about the control to avoid gossiping and don’t comment on other people’s ignorance or prejudices. In other words, don’t take life too personally!

Let’s recall what’ve acquired in this book summary:

  1. Master the art of expressing yourself
  2. Don’t take life or anything unfolding in it too personally
  3. Dissolve the habit of premature assumptions.

The fourth agreement comes naturally afterward – strive for perfection by performing at your very best.  

And if you’ve mastered all four, then you are ready to take on the fifth agreement.

Adopt both skeptical, and open-minded approach.

Key Lessons from “The Fifth Agreement

1.      You stand alone
2.      Not exactly the same
3.      Tell the story, don’t be the story

You stand alone

Whatever anyone thinks of you is irrelevant, if you are aware of your potential and strengths.

Not even your parents are entitled to criticize your decisions because the power lies within you – no one can make that final push on your behalf.

Not exactly the same

Let’s get this straight. When it comes to being skeptical, people often have misleading theories on what skepticism and egoism is.

First of all, they believe that these two terms are highly dependable, which is an entirely false claim.

Be open to other people’s views, but protect your viewpoints – would be the most accurate description, briefly presented.

Tell the story, don’t be the story

Tell your story but stay out of it.

We bet you don’t have a clue about what are you supposed to do! Meaning that your anecdote mustn’t be a part of your present state so that it cannot influence you.

As we mentioned earlier, controlling the negative self-judgments is your ticket to long-awaited freedom.

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“The Fifth Agreement” Quotes

We speak the truth because we live in truth. Click To Tweet Humans have invented all kinds of symbols to communicate not only with other humans but more importantly with ourselves. Click To Tweet Even the worst thing that can happen to you is meant to happen because it’s going to push you to grow. Click To Tweet Once you are aware that you’re dreaming, you recover your power to change the dream whenever you choose. Click To Tweet We want our freedom; we want to be ourselves, but we are also afraid to be by ourselves. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

One thing is for sure, The Fifth Agreement same as the Four Agreements doesn’t provide any misleading information. It’s all in there!!

If you are keen to listen and stay focused on avoiding being caught off guard, this book will do the trick.

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Top Inspiring Books

Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. 

Suddenly, something happens, and out of nowhere, our perfect little lives start to crumble. Or – maybe, even worse – even though the thing that happens isn’t too earthshattering at first glance, it opens up our eyes to the unfulfilled life we’ve led up to that moment.

And at moments like that, we need some inspiration. To take back things from our loss or reimagine ourselves in more happier versions of us.

Here are 15 of the best inspirational books which can certainly work as your guides on your personal journey to fulfillment. Embark on it as soon as possible.

And stay inspired.

#1. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Summary“The Alchemist” was published in 1988. Three decades later, it’s still widely read and widely beloved.

An international bestseller, the book has been translated into almost half of the world languages, and it has made Brazilian author Paulo Coelho a global superstar.

A profound and poignant narrative, “The Alchemist” is an inspiring novella which tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. Santiago believes that he has dreamt a dream of significance; a dream which should help him find a big treasure somewhere around the Egyptian pyramids.

And, indeed, the dream turns out to be prophetic. But not in the way Santiago expects it to be. Nor in the way, you, the spellbound reader, would be able to anticipate at the beginning.

Let’s just say, for the time being, that the greatest treasures, though immaterial, are much weightier than all the gold and money in the world.

#2. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture SummaryIn September 2007, Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was invited to take participation in “The Last Lecture” series of talks. Little did the organizers know that, in the case of Pausch, the series’ title was not merely a metaphor.

Namely, just one month before that, Pausch was given a terminal diagnosis. And he knew that he had no more than half a year left on this planet.

Now, you’d expect a beautiful and touching lecture from such a person. But, you wouldn’t expect an optimistic, upbeat one-hour talk labeled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” and viewed by 20 million people on YouTube.

“The Last Lecture” is the book version of this talk. It’s longer and even more fascinating. So much so, in fact, that it has become part of many school curricula.

And for many good reasons.

#3. “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!” by Tony Robbins

Tony RobbinsAwaken the Giant Within Summary is a name which has grown to be synonymous with “motivational speaker.” Watch any of his videos on YouTube, and you’ll see why! Sometimes, one wonders if he’s right in what he’s saying or is he merely so convincing that the things come true afterward.

Either way, he does his job well enough that many people see him as something of a personal guru and guide. And with religious devotion, might we add.

“Awaken the Giant Within” is an enormous book, both in terms of its influence and in terms of its sheer length. It’s almost 600 pages – so there’s a lot to take away from it!

If it was a novel, the subtitle would have been a spoiler. Because, “Awaken the Giant Within” is a step-by-step program of self-mastery, aiming to teach you the whys, and the hows of your life.

And, of course, the how-tos of making it better.

#4. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull Summary“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” was published in 1970 to rave reviews from the general public. Just like its main character, the book quickly soared to the top of “The New York Times Bestseller” list, and it remained there for the next 38 weeks.

And even half a century later, it is still lovingly cherished and highly ranked.

Originally a three-part novella (Richard Bach added a fourth part in the 2013 edition), “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” tells the story of the seagull from the title. A non-conformist, he ignores his daily duties and passionately tries to learn to fly. As a result, he is banished from his community, but he is unwavering in his determination to be the best flier there ever was.

Soon, the tables turn, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull learns that he was “a one-in-a-million bird” from the very beginning.

You may be too. And this book may show you why.

#5. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret SummaryWhen Rhonda Byrne’s father died in 2004, depression took over her life. She wasn’t able to do her job as an executive producer for Australian television the same way as before. She wasn’t even capable of functioning properly in her day to day activities. Her life, as she says, collapsed around her.

And that’s when she started reading. Soon enough, she discovered “The Secret.”

Even though the reception of the book may suggest some groundbreaking findings, Rhonda Byrne claims that she, in fact, isn’t saying anything new. She’s merely demonstrating how the secret is something every great person from history knew and employed in his or her life. Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven, Edison, Einstein – practically anyone you can think of!

Of course, Rhonda Byrne doesn’t stop there. She makes the secret much simpler and explains how you can use it, whether you want to earn more money, be in a better relationship or live a healthier life.

You want to learn the secret? Read the book!

#6. “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Great Lessons” by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie SummaryIn 1995, Mitch Albom was a popular sports columnist for the “Detroit Free Press,” when a friend of his told him about Morrie Schwartz’s then-recent interview on ABC News’ “Nightline.” He watched the interview. And he was devastated.

You see, Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor at Brandeis University, was Albom’s most beloved college teacher. Unfortunately, Albom stopped keeping in touch about a decade and a half before the TV interview. And what did he learn from it?

That Schwartz was suffering from ALS, a terminal disease, the one Stephen Hawking is suffering as well. So, he decided to reconnect with his old teacher. And, soon enough, he started visiting him every Tuesday, for discussions about life and death.

You know – for the last lectures.

Word of mouth made “Tuesdays with Morrie” – published after Schwartz’s death – a global phenomenon. It became one of the top selling memoirs ever and was translated into 45 languages.

And, finally, Oprah Winfrey produced a movie which won four Emmys in 1999!

#7. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars SummaryThere’s something about near-death experiences that makes life worth living. And there’s something about other people’s stories concerning the lessons they took out from it that can inspire us to live better and more fulfilled lives.

And John Green, unfortunately, heard many of them. In fact, that’s what inspired him to become an author. He originally wanted to become a priest, but while working in a hospital with children suffering from life-threatening diseases, he decided that there’s another way he wanted to reach people.

And that’s what his beloved sixth novel, “The Fault in Our Stars,” did – both as a book and, later, as an award-winning film. The story is about two teenagers afflicted with terminal diseases, meeting and falling in love while attending a support group.

But, it’s also so much more! It’s a book about triumphing over the pain and the suffering, a tear-jerker about courage and the ultimate heartbreaks. Utterly beautiful.

#8. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince SummaryIf you thought it’s astonishing that the first book on our list has been so far translated into half of the world languages, you’ll probably never believe us if we told you that this little classic is translated in practically all of them!

Selling about 2 million copies each year, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is probably the 4th best-selling book ever written. And it was voted the best 20th-century book in the French language!

A poetic novella, “The Little Prince,” is a children’s book about adults. It tells the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meet the eponymous prince, a visitor from a tiny asteroid. And through him, he learns of the absurdities of our ways.

And how beautiful life can be even if its whole point is cultivating a rare rose.

#9. “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese SummaryNowadays, it’s quite difficult to understand the impact “Who Moved My Cheese” – a 32-page scantily illustrated motivational fable – had on the business world when it first appeared two decades ago.

Spending almost a year on “Publishers Weekly’s” bestseller list, it managed to sell almost 30 million copies worldwide, and earn numerous accolades, before being turned into a cartoon and becoming the subject of many parodies.

It tells the story of four characters, two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They all live in a maze and are in a constant pursuit for cheese. However, they have a different way of finding it, and, moreover, keeping it once they do locate it.

Halfway down the story, the reader realizes that the mice will be fine. And that it’s the people who have to be a bit more organized and less afraid.

And that’s where “the writings on the wall” come in handy.

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#10. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet SummaryOne of the most beloved modern poets, Kahlil Gibran, was born in Bsharri, then the Ottoman Empire, modern-day Lebanon. His family emigrated to the United States when he was young. It was there that he started learning art and literature. And it was there that he became the originator of the inspirational fiction genre.

Written in English, “The Prophet,” a small volume consisting of 26 prose poems, was originally published in 1923 and has never been out of print. Its style and philosophical depth have made it a perennial favorite and a popular gift.

The frame narrative of “The Prophet” is fairly simple. Almustafa, the prophet from the title, is stopped by a group of people before boarding a ship which should carry him home. The people ask him questions, and Almustafa’s answers are the 26 prose poems we mentioned.

The topics covered are as many, and range from love and marriage to freedom and time, to religion and death. And you’ll know more about each of them.

#11. “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny” by Robin Sharma

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari SummaryJust like many of the motivational writers you’ve grown to love, Robin Sharma worked an ordinary job (a litigation lawyer), before deciding that he’s much more interested in techniques for self-perfection.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” isn’t his first book (it’s his second), but it is the one which retells his personal story in a most inspiring manner. The book is a motivational business fable and is basically a conversation between two friends, Julian and John.

The former (a fictional version of Sharma himself) was a successful trial lawyer, before experiencing a heart attack while arguing his case in court. Fortunately, as he explains, this heart attack would turn out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him.

Because it would initiate a spiritual journey that would enable him to finally live a life of passion and purpose.

#12. “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements SummaryIn Don Miguel Ruiz, we have once again a man utterly transformed by a near-death experience. And once again, a writer whose lessons will subsequently transform you because of it.

Already a successful surgeon, Ruiz decided to become a shaman’s apprentice after barely surviving a serious car accident. Afterward, he spent few years exploring the Toltec wisdom and mind-elevating techniques.

His debut book, “The Four Agreements” is the best introduction to what he ultimately learned.

Advocating absolute freedom and living-in-the-moment mentality, “The Four Agreements” explores a fourfold code: “be impeccable with your word,” “don’t take anything personally,” “don’t make assumptions,” and “always do your best.”

A decade later, Ruiz will team up with his son to add a 5th agreement: “be skeptical, but learn to listen.” And that’s another fairly inspirational book.

#13. “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection SummaryA research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown made a name for herself when in June 2010 she gave a talk at TED Houston, titled “The Power of Vulnerability.” Still one of the most viewed TED talks in history, it would form the basis of her next book, “Daring Greatly,” already featured in our top 15 self-help book list.

And, really, both there and here, we could have included almost any of Brown’s eight books, and we wouldn’t have made a mistake. They are all inspirational, down-to-earth, caring, and hopeful.

“The Gifts of Imperfection” maybe most of all. Featuring ten guideposts to tackle the pressure each of one faces on a daily basis, the book aims to help everybody by teaching him or her that he/she doesn’t need to be anything else than he/she already is – just to please people.

Because with courage, compassion, and connection – he/she can be happy in the face of every obstacle.

#14. “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love SummaryWe’ve already written about Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic.” However, here we’ve opted for her debut memoir, “Eat Pray Love;” not because of its status, but much more because of the way it has affected many people we know.

And because, well, not many books have been featured on two episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”!

An autobiographical account, “Eat Pray Love” follows the eye-opening spiritual odyssey of a 31-year-old Elizabeth Gilbert. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she decides to embark on a year-long journey around the world to gain some perspective.

And she gets – in three chapters! First, she eats and enjoys life in Italy for a period of four months; then, she spends three months praying in India; finally, she falls in love with a Brazilian businessman in Bali.

The book has it all. And you can also watch its 2010 movie adaptation. It received lukewarm reviews, but, then again, Julia Roberts is in it!

#15. “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Option B SummaryTwo weeks after her beloved husband, David Goldberg, suddenly died, Sheryl Sandberg faced the unbearable task of having to prepare her child for a father/child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, replied with some very wise words: “Option A is not available.”

The only thing Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook’s COO and the author of “Lean In,” a book we’ve featured in our top leadership books list – was left with was trying to make the best out of Option B: living without her husband.

And that certainly wasn’t an easy task. She was, as she writes herself, in a void, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.”

And “Option B” is a book about everyone who feels that he’s not really living the life he’s supposed to be. Especially, if due to some life-shattering loss.

It’s a sort of “manual for resilience.” And it may just help you regain some joy and faith.

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Top Self Help Books

In 1859, Samuel Smiles, a little-known Scottish government reformer, published his second book, a haphazard manual for reaching your highest potential. For its title, he chose the unassuming “Self-Help”, adding “with Illustrations of Character and Conduct” as a subtitle.

Overnight, he became a celebrity, “a leading pundit and a much-consulted guru.” Little did he know that he had started both a genre and a revolution.

One and a half century later, it’s safe to say that self help books are all the rage. Whether they strive to help you become a millionaire or a happier person, they come by the dozens on a weekly basis. So, how would you know which are the best ones?

That’s where we come in! We’ve rummaged through our database, memory and tens of booklists to choose the best self help books. So, you can just start reading them!

#1. “How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success” by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People SummarySamuel Smiles might have been the first one to write a self-help book, but Dale Carnegie was certainly the first one to take writing self-help books seriously and make it a full-time job.

Published in 1936, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a classic sold in over 30 million copies. The fact that it was recently included in “Time Magazine’s” top 20 of list of most influential books in history speaks volumes about its timelessness.

Read this book to learn the six ways to make people like you. And, while you’re there, have a look at the nine ways you can change them. Or, maybe, the twelve ways to convince them that you’re right!

Don’t worry: they’ll think that it was the other way around!

#2. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich SummaryJust one year after Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” another book you’re probably already familiar with was making the rounds. It still is, almost a century after it was first published.

Inspired by a 1908 meeting with Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill started a few-decades’ long investigation into the habits and philosophies of the rich and the successful.

His 1937 masterpiece, “Think and Grow Rich” is based on this research and the interviews he conducted over this period. And it’s essentially a 13-step philosophy of success.

The themes the book covers are the following ones: desire, faith, autosuggestion, specialized knowledge, imagination, organized planning, decision, persistence, power of the master mind, the mystery of sex transmutation, the subconscious mind, the brain, and the sixth sense.

Pervading throughout the book is the idea of the power of “positive thinking”. Which, as you may already know, is quite a popular genre nowadays by itself.

#3. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People SummaryWe fast forward half a century to the first non-fiction book to sell more than one million copies of its audio version: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s one more self-help book focusing on success, and one of the many where there’s an exact number of life-changing actions you’re expected to take.

In this case, Stephen R. Covey opts for these seven habits: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first; think win-win, seek first to understand, then to be understood, synergize; sharpen the saw.

You may have noticed that we used two semicolons to organize Covey’s habits. Of course, there’s a reason why we did that. Namely, Covey thinks that the first three habits help develop your independence, while the second three furnish your interdependence skills. The final is the bridge.

Fifteen years later, Covey would add another habit to this list. And “The 8th Habit” was almost as popular as this chart-topper.

#4. “The Power of Now: An Incredible Masterpiece of Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now Summary‘s The Power of Now” didn’t become an instant bestseller after its 1997 publication. But, after it was republished two years later, and endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and Meg Ryan in 2000, what was by that moment a word-of-mouth phenomenon, turned into one of the most sold and beloved self-improvement books in history.

The book blends psychology and spiritualism to give the old-age Zen Buddhist ideas a New-Age spin. And it seems that it does this in a brilliant manner since its philosophy resonates with readers from start to finish, from U.S. to Europe to Japan.

Its basic premise is the belief that, in order to be happy, you need to overcome your you’re your greatest enemy. You can do this through meditation and mindfulness, positive thinking and acceptance of suffering.

And you should start doing it as soon as you finish reading “The Power of Now.”

#5. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture SummaryIf you had one last lecture to give before you died – what would that lecture be?

Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, didn’t need to imagine the answer to this question. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he knew that he had barely few months left on this planet, when he was asked to talk at his alma mater.

The one-hour lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” has been viewed by almost 20 million people at YouTube; but, really, should be watched by millions more. Because, it’s so upbeat and inspiring, so gentle and wisdom-infused, that we bet few – if any – will remain unaffected and untouched.

It’s the same with the book. Randy Pausch spent the last few months of his life writing it, so you know he had some important things to share with you.

And if that’s not enough, take this into consideration as well. Just few years after it was published, this book became part of the English 100 curriculum of many schools. There are just too many “because” to list them.

#6. “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino

The Greatest Salesman in the World SummaryOg Mandino was an unsuccessful insurance salesman on the brink of suicide, when his life was profoundly changed by a self-help book. So, he decided to help others in the same way.

In fact, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” is sometimes subtitled in this manner. “You can change your life with the priceless wisdom of ten ancient scrolls handed down for thousands of years.”

Of course, the history of the scrolls is fictive, but their lessons are not.

They start with an awe-inspiring dictum: “I will form good habits and become their slave.” And the pronouncement is followed by two similar ones in the third and the fourth scroll: “I will persist until I succeed” and “I am Nature’s greatest miracle.”

Scattered around these mottos, there are few life-changing advices by Mandino. These are: “greet each day with love in your heart,” “live each day as if it were your last,” “laugh,” “master your emotions,” “multiply your value every day,” and “pray to god for guidance.”

Because, as he writes in the inspiring ninth, “all is worthless without action.”

#7. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Summary“The Alchemist” is actually a novel. But, probably, you already knew this, because – hey, who hasn’t read “The Alchemist”?

An international bestseller translated into 80 different languages, the book made Paulo Coelho a household name. Its lessons may be not as explicit as those of some other self-help books, but this makes them all the more profound and touching.

“The Alchemist” follows the journey of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy with a recurring dream he believes is prophetic. A Romani fortune-teller tells him that he’s right and that the dream prophesizes that he should discover a great treasure at the Egyptian pyramid.

That’s when the journey begins. Thousands of kilometers and few adventures later, it ends with an unforgettable lesson.

You may already know a part of it: “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

#8. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers SummaryOne more book we’ve already featured in another list. (In this case, its’ the top psychology booklist: check it out if you haven’t)

But, who can blame us for including it in another? It’s one of those books about which people talk about over and over again, in many different contexts, about various of its aspects.

After all, there’s no other book in the world which compares Bill Gates to first-rate football players, or the Beatles to successful fighter pilots. And, we certainly haven’t encountered upon any which explains why Asians are math-wizards and why there are so many Jewiish lawyers.

Outliers” is the third of Malcolm Gladwell’s five “New York Times” bestsellers (if you didn’t know, he has published as many books!) And it’s his most applicable one.

Because, basically, it claims that success comes after 10,000 hours of practice. And he has a thousand stories to prove this.

#9. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale

The Power of Positive Thinking SummaryNapoleon Hill may have initiated “the positive thinking” mindset, but it was Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” which actually started the revolution.

Published in 1952, the book remained on “The New York Times” bestseller list for over three and a half years, and inspired thousands of similar volumes. (Spoiler alert: we’ve featured the most famous two in this booklist; see above, at #8, and… well, you’ll figure it out yourself).

“The Power of Positive Thinking” basically claims that many of the things which happen in your life happen due to things you’re unable to control. What you actually can control is your reaction to them. And positive thinking is always the right way to go!

The book shares many practical bits of advice on how to eliminate negative thoughts and how to transform the alike energy into an outburst of positivity.

And, just like that, positive thoughts will make positive things happen.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

#10. “The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth” by M. Scott Peck

The Road Less Traveled Summary“Two roads diverged in the wood and I,” wrote America’s darling Robert Frost in 1916, “I took the one less traveled by; and that has made all the difference.”

The title of M. Scott Peck’s classic comes from Frost. Its content is an interesting mixture of original thought, psychological research, and Christian dogma. The last one is reserved for the last two of the four parts this book is divided in, and, in our opinion, it’s the first two parts which really make the case for including “The Road Less Traveled” in our list.

And those two talk about the virtues of discipline and love. Concerning the latter, M. Scott Peck tackles some of the most common misunderstandings and arguments for love being more of an ego-transcending action, rather than a passive feeling.

As for discipline, Peck advises everyone to practice delayed gratification and responsibility acceptance – as the surefire way to living a healthier and happier life.

#11. “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

Brené BrownDaring Greatly Summary made her name in June 2010, when, at a TEDxHouston conference, she delivered one of the greatest TED speeches in history. The numbers tell only part of the whole story: with 30 million views, it’s the 4th most watched TED speech ever.

The rest of the story is in the speech itself: titled “The Power of Vulnerability,” it defends the counter-intuitive notion that living a better life goes hand in hand with embracing flaws and humiliation, shame and vulnerability.

That’s the meaning of the title of the longer and better researched version of this speech, “Daring Greatly.” It comes from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt, in which Roosevelt advises people to accept vulnerability by daring greatly.

And Brown shows the unlikely connection between vulnerability and courage. And that’s merely the beginning: it seems that vulnerable people are also more caring and happier.

#12. “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel RuizThe Four Agreements Summary, Mexico’s “National Heirloom,” was born in the rural parts of the country as the youngest of 13 siblings.

A near-fatal car accident made him rethink his career as a surgeon. Soon, he became a shaman’s apprentice. “The Four Agreements” is based on his experiences during this period and, supposedly, on authentic Toltec spiritualism.

A spiritual descendant of Carlos Castaneda’s “The Teachings of Don Juan,” “The Four Agreements” is a book which advocates absolute freedom through a total annihilation of the ego. The eponymous four agreements are: “be impeccable with your word,” “don’t take anything personally,” “don’t make assumptions,” and “always do your best”.

Just like Covey (our #3), Don Miguel Ruiz will not resist to add a fifth agreement a decade later. It’s “Be skeptical, but learn to listen,” and we’ve written about it extensively.

#13. “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret SummaryRhonda Byrne was an executive producer for television and led quite an ordinary life in Melbourne, Australia. But, when her father Ronald died in 2004, she became so depressed, that she was even thinking about suicide.

And just like Og Mandino – our #6 – she found new meaning in life after reading a self-help book; in her case, Wallace D. Wattles’ “The Science of Getting Rich.” Soon, she was deep into the “positive thinking” movement, and came to the conclusion that she had discovered one of the greatest secrets in history.

Soon after its publication in 2006, “The Secret” was met with overwhelmingly positive reaction from the general public. Even Oprah Winfrey said that its message was exactly the one she was trying to share with her viewers for over two decades.

And the secret?

Think positively and positive things will happen. And you can get everything you want in three steps: ask – believe – receive. It may seem too simple, but millions claim that it works.

#14. “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

Grit SummaryYou may think that it’s talent which makes the difference between the successful and the not-so successful.

Well, Angela Duckworth claims that you are gravely mistaken. And she is an academic with a MacArthur Genius Fellowship and a Ph.D. in psychology, so maybe you should trust her more than your intuition.

In “Grit” she explains that the ones who succeed are not the most talented or the most capable ones; it’s the grittiest. And if you already know what is actually denoted by this superlative, you have Duckworth to thank: she made the word popular.

If not “grit” is, as the subtitle says, a combination of power and perseverance. Or, in layman’s terms, the thing which makes you get up the eighth time, after you’ve fallen seven times before.

This book is loaded with stories by people who’ve done that. And you can learn a lot by reading them.

#15. “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power SummaryYou can’t really consider a million-copies book neither a cult classic, nor a wildcard; but, analysts do the former and we’ll take our right to think the latter.

Published in 2000, “The 48 Laws of Power” is the debut book by Robert Greene, a life-long researcher into subjects such as seduction, strategy and power.

Drawing on the lives and worldview of figures as diverse as Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, Queen Elizabeth and Henry Kissinger, it lists – you’ve guessed it – 48 laws of power, together with examples of the laws being observed, transgressed, and reversed.

The book was an immediate success, especially in the prison inmates’ and hip hop community. So much so, in fact, that its semi-sequel was co-written by Greene and – wait for it… – 50 Cent! Because of the latter, it’s called “The 50th Law.”

We guess they didn’t care they skipped one.

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The Four Agreements PDF Summary | Miguel Ruiz

MicroSummary: Published in 1997, “The Four Agreements Summary: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” is a modern Toltec spiritual classic by Don Miguel Ruiz in the line of Carlos Castaneda’s masterpieces. It encourages personal freedom, by posting four tenets: being impeccable with your words, taking nothing personally, making no assumptions, and always doing your best.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

If you had to name four self-betrayals that you usually do to yourself, which will they be?

  • Speaking too much, believing too little
  • Hiding behind masks
  • Designing false realities
  • Delivering half of everything: half smiling, half caring, half creating, half working…

With this book called the four agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz invites you to think and live at the opposite of all these. Our “The Four Agreements Summary” is waiting to provide more info about it.

At least 30 quotes got visual and have been metamorphosed into nuggets.

Don’t miss this! You are only 4 agreements away from the personal freedom.

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