Book review: The Four Agreements

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Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by the thought method co.

General information

Book Name: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Author: Don Miguel Ruiz
Publish Year: 1997
Genre: Self-Help, Personal Growth, Spirituality
Pages: 138
Highlights: Over a decade on the NY Times Bestseller Lis. Translated into 46 languages

Ruiz claims the four agreements are an ancient Toltec wisdom, that when used, will help those who practice the agreements find tranquility and improve their lives. The agreements focus on removing limiting beliefs and shifting perspective, they are:

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

Why we like it

Ruiz explains things in a very straightforward and easily digestible way giving a fresh perspective and some valuable tips for someone looking to improve their mentality.

It is clear, that if practiced, the agreements will positively benefit to a growth mentality. Although, always be impeccable and always be your best contradict because sometimes your best isn’t impeccable, but I’ll just ignore that. 

Ruiz also gives his audience a realistic understanding of how to change a limited to growth mentality by acknowledging growth takes time and repetition.

Personally, something clicked when I read this book and it actually helped me to not take things so personally. Not sure how or why but something just clicked.

Why we don’t

While the four agreements will help readers overcome limiting beliefs, at times Ruiz was limited his in thinking. For instance he suggests that mental illness is fear taking over the reasoning mind and that emotions like anger and envy make humans suffer.

There are many causes for mental illness and it is remiss to make a blanket statement like Ruiz does. It is also very limiting to state that emotions make us suffer. Emotions do not make us suffer, it is how we respond to the emotions that counts.

Ruiz shows no compassion for victims of trauma and at times dismisses abuse by stating abusers, “had no control over the programming they received, so they couldn’t have behaved any differently.”

There is no excuse for abuse, abusers could have behaved differently and changing thought patterns is what Ruiz advocates for in the book.

Lastly, the ending of the book gets very repetitive.

Who would benefit from reading it

At 138 pages the book is a quick read for anyone who is trying to better themselves. It will especially help those who might take what others do personally, make assumptions and suffer from perfectionism.

Recommendation scale

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to better themselves on the warning that there are some limited beliefs mixed in with Ruiz’s writing.