The Four Agreements Book Summary - The Four Agreements Book explained in key points
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The Four Agreements summary

Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills

A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. A Toltec Wisdom Book

4.5 (999 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz is a self-help book that outlines four principles for living a meaningful life. It encourages readers to be impeccable with their words, not to take things personally, never make assumptions, and always do their best.

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    The Four Agreements
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    We’re taught strict rules as children, which we force ourselves to abide by as adults.

    Nobody gets to choose their native tongue, but the language we grow up speaking isn’t the only thing society imposes upon us. Social norms even prescribe the content and form of our dreams.

    For instance, everyone has individual dreams, but there’s also a collective dream. This is the dream of the planet. The rules that define this collective dream are taught to us by parents, schools, religions and other influential forces. It’s through this education that we learn what proper behavior is, what we should believe and the difference between good and bad.

    However, these rules and agreements weren’t chosen by any of us. Our acceptance of such rules without question amounts to our domestication.

    If we rebelled as children, adults were still more powerful than us. They could suppress our dissent and punish us if we disobeyed them. Not just that, but we were also rewarded for obeying their beliefs and following their rules. As a result, the vast majority of us surrendered.

    Just consider how many parents tell their children that they’re “good” when they follow the rules and “bad” when they don’t. In this system, the primary reward for proper behavior is attention from parents, teachers and friends.

    Naturally, getting such a reward feels great, and we learn to abide by these rules to reap this benefit. We fear rejection and often pretend to be something that we’re not.

    As a result, at a certain point, it’s not necessary for anyone to control us because all of these beliefs are lodged deep within us. In other words, we domesticate ourselves. We devise a perfect self-image and, when we fail to act in accordance with it, punish, judge and blame ourselves.

    But there’s a different way. We can break free from this structure by establishing new agreements for ourselves, which we’ll learn all about in the following blinks.

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    What is The Four Agreements about?

    The Four Agreements (1997) is your guide to breaking free from negative patterns and fully realizing your true self. It was a New York Times best seller for over eight years. These blinks explain how society raises people to conform to a strict set of rules and how, with a little effort and commitment, you can set your own guidelines for life.

    The Four Agreements Review

    The Four Agreements (1997) explores ancient Toltec wisdom teachings and presents four powerful agreements that can transform our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides practical tools for achieving personal freedom and happiness through simple yet profound agreements with ourselves.
    • By urging us to be impeccable with our word, not to take things personally, not to make assumptions, and to always do our best, this book offers guidance for navigating relationships and achieving inner peace.
    • Its straightforward approach demystifies complex spiritual concepts and presents them in a way that is accessible and relatable, making personal growth engaging and transformative.

    Best quote from The Four Agreements

    We dont need to dream a nightmare. It is possible to enjoy a pleasant dream.

    —Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills
    example alt text

    Who should read The Four Agreements?

    • People who feel trapped in their own lives
    • Parents who want to raise their children to feel free
    • Anybody who feels like they’re living a lie

    About the Author

    Don Miguel Ruiz was expected to follow in his family’s footsteps, carrying on ancient Toltec wisdom as a spiritual teacher. Instead, he became a surgeon. It was only after a near-death experience that he rediscovered the traditional wisdom of his people and devoted himself to becoming a spiritual master, or nagual.

    Janet Mills is the founder and president of Amber-Allen Publishing and the co-author of the Toltec Wisdom series.

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    The Four Agreements FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Four Agreements?

    The main message of The Four Agreements is to create personal freedom and happiness through four transformative agreements.

    How long does it take to read The Four Agreements?

    The reading time for The Four Agreements varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Four Agreements a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Four Agreements is a must-read. It offers profound insights and actionable advice to live a more fulfilling and authentic life.

    Who is the author of The Four Agreements?

    The author of The Four Agreements is Don Miguel Ruiz.

    What to read after The Four Agreements?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Four Agreements, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz
    • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
    • How to Know a Person by David Brooks
    • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • The High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Finding Clarity by Marc Lesser
    • The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
    • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    • The Polyvagal Theory by Stephen W. Porges