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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life Hardcover – September 29, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 815 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miller, the accidental memoirist who struck gold with the likable ramble Blue Like Jazz, writes about the challenges inherent in getting unstuck creatively and spiritually. After Jazz sold more than a million copies but his other books didn't follow suit, he had a classic case of writer's block. Two movie producers contacted him about creating a film out of his life, but Miller's initial enthusiasm was dampened when they concluded that his real life needed doctoring lest it be too directionless for the screen. Real stories, he learned, require characters who suffer and overcome. In desultory fashion, Miller sets out to change his own life—to be the kind of guy who seeks out his father, chases the girl and undertakes a quest. Along the way, he comes to understand God as a master storyteller who doesn't quite control where his characters are going. An unexpected bonus of this book is Miller's insights into the writing process. Readers who loved Blue Like Jazz will find here a somewhat more mature Miller, still funny as hell but more concerned about making a difference in the world than in merely commenting on it. (Oct.)
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About the Author

Donald Miller is the author of several books, including the bestsellers Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He helps people live a better story at www.creatingyourlifeplan.com and helps leaders grow their businesses at www.storybrand.com. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy.



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; a edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785213066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785213062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pamela S. Hogeweide on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ok, I'm a word snob. I write a lot and read even more. I know that Donald Miller is a good writer. A d-mn good writer. And there were many spots of superb prose on enough pages that kept me on the lookout for the next beauty of a passage. Like this one, for example, on page 155:

"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time. The more practice stories I lived, the more I wanted an epic to climb inside of and see through till its end."

That is great writing. Miller is totally on his A-game with his craft in AMMiaTY.

Yet the whole time I was reading, there was a tension in my mind.I could not completely enter the dreamland that a book can take you to. I was distracted by a kind of angsty resistance to my perceived takeaway message of the content. The above passage is an example of what I mean.

Normal and ordinary living seem devalued in the premise of the Story about story. Epic living, like hiking the Inca Trail, biking across America, starting a non-profit....all great endeavors, and God knows we can all use a bit of epic goodness in our lives. Yet I can't help but wonder about celebrating normal and steady.

Most of us most of the time must make the best of the story we find ourselves in and make peace with the lack of epic drama. Most of us work at jobs to pay our rent and provide for the people we care for. We are kind to our neighbors and give at the office. This is our epic: that we show up everyday.

My tension with the author's premise about changing your story if you are living a boring life is perhaps just my own effed up issue.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"...to know there is a better story for your life and to choose something other is like choosing to die."

This is a great book. A book that's fun to read and pulled me in and whose pages flew by. A book that cracked me up and brought tears to my eyes. A book that challenged and inspired. It sounds overly dramatic and just a tad hyperbolic, but I'll look at life (and hopefully live life) a bit differently as a result of this read.

In the choppy/direct/engaging writing style of his best-selling "Blue Like Jazz" (but with some additional maturity and depth), Miller describes the experience of looking at his life as he works with others in developing a movie (loosely) based on his life. The result is a bit distressing for him (as his life is a bit boring), but the lessons from the screen-writing experience have some wonderful applications in real life (A Character is What He Does, A Good Character Listens to His Writer, The Importance of an Inciting Incident, and others). Significant life-change takes place.

Miller teaches almost incidentally as you watch him learn and grow, and his candor about the pain and awkwardness and joy of the process is endearing and appreciated. And encouraging.

There's a lot to chew on in "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," and I'm not quite with Miller in all of his rifts and conclusions, but I'm grateful that he shared his journey with me.

"...in living a great story, we defy a dark force propagating what I believe to be a lie, that a human life is not worth living, that the story you have living within you is not worth living."
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Donald Miller was in a funk. He had written a bestseller, and was now a much sought after speaker. He was accomplished. But for some reason, all of his success didn't bring the climatic ending that he was hoping for. He felt lost. Then he received a call from two men who wanted to turn his book, Blue Like Jazz, into a movie. Miller was unsure of how to turn his book, part memoir and part collection of essays, into a movie. So the two men came to visit him, and teach him about story.

From there Miller uses the elements of story to describe how people can paint a different picture of their life. Miller realizes that the majority of his life has been spent watching stories and making them up. He decides that he will turn his life into a story worth watching, rather than spending his time making up fictional stories.

Miller once again muses on his life, faith, and the human condition, all the while telling the story of his move from writing stories to living them. When he learns that characters are their actions, he resolves to do things with more meaning. He hikes in the Andes, asks out a girl he likes, and eventually meets his father for the first time ever. The comparisons he makes between stories and real life are phenomenal. I found myself reading through certain sections over and over, trying to grasp the depth of the prose. Some of his thoughts that are complex, taking a while to jog their way through your mind; others are simple and profound in their brevity.

For those that have read Miller's previous books, a couple of things will be familiar: his dry sense of humor and superb writing are prevalent throughout the book. What is new is hope. Miller no longer writes like a person wandering through his journey in life honestly searching for answers. He now writes like a person wandering through his journey in life honestly searching for answers, full of hope that one day they will be answered.
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