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WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives [Kindle Edition]

Dan Millman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (623 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20th Anniversary Edition with New Afterword and Revisions by the Author

Way of the Peaceful Warrior has become one of the most beloved spiritual sagas of our time. Shared among friends and families, this million-copy word-of-mouth bestseller has inspired men and women of all ages in twenty languages worldwide.

Despite all his success, college student and world-champion athlete Dan Millman is haunted by a feeling that something is missing from his life. Awakened one night by dark dreams, he wanders into an all-night gas station, meets an old man named Socrates, and his world is changed forever. Guided by this eccentric old warrior, drawn to an elusive young woman named Joy, Dan begins a spiritual odyssey into realms of light and shadow, romance and mystery, toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him.

This classic tale, a blend of autobiographical fact and narrative fiction, told with heart and humor, speaks to the peaceful warrior in each of us. Countless readers have been moved to laughter and tears-even moments of illumination-as they rediscover life's larger meaning and purpose. Journey with Dan on the peaceful warrior's path to unreasonable happiness. Find out for yourself why this book changes lives.

Editorial Reviews Review

During his junior year at the University of California, Dan Millman first stumbled upon his mentor (nicknamed Socrates) at an all-night gas station. At the time, Millman hoped to become a world-champion gymnast. "To survive the lessons ahead, you're going to need far more energy than ever before," Socrates warned him that night. "You must cleanse your body of tension, free your mind of stagnant knowledge, and open your heart to the energy of true emotion." From there, the unpredictable Socrates proceeded to teach Millman the "way of the peaceful warrior." At first Socrates shattered every preconceived notion that Millman had about academics, athletics, and achievement. But eventually Millman stopped resisting the lessons, and began to try on a whole new ideology--one that valued being conscious over being smart, and strength in spirit over strength in body. Although the character of the cigarette-smoking Socrates seems like a fictional, modern-day Merlin, Millman asserts that he is based on an actual person. Certain male readers especially appreciate the coming-of-age theme, the haunting love story with the elusive woman Joy, and the challenging of Western beliefs about masculine power and success. --Gail Hudson


"This book is so appealing," commented Virginia Satir, "because it provides an easy access for people to naturally identify, connect and be in touch with the spiritual part of themselves."

Indeed, Way of the Peaceful Warrior does just that with its piercing truths, lively narrative and humorous wisdom. Like Castaneda, it enables the reader to reflect on the deepest questions of life. Yet unlike Don Juan, it spotlights the path to a happy, uncomplicated life without dependency on drugs.

Told with drama and insight, the novel revolves around Dan, a world champion gymnast and student at the University of California at Berkeley. The story begins when Dan meets his powerful 96-year-old mentor Socrates, an all-night gas station attendant.

Guided by this wise old mentor and tempted by an elusive and playful woman named Joy, Dan journeys through everyday reality and metaphysical realms. He travels the paths of flesh and spirit, romance and terror, light and darkness, laughter and magic, learning new ways to see the world and live life fully.

Thematically, this tale of the eternal human quest for the meaning of life is the path of transformation and enlightenment. It uncovers concepts known deep inside but really allowed to wake up and be content with this knowledge. There is no need to search, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One - and the only laws are paradox, humor and change.

After reading Way of the Peaceful Warrior don't tuck it away on a bookshelf to gather dust. Keep it close at hand, and recapture guidance from many of the metaphors sprinkled throughout the story. The secret of happiness, Socrates so aptly points out, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. -- Association for Humanistic Psychology Newsletter, July, 1984

Remarkably wise, provocatively humorous, and hauntingly beautiful. It may even change the lives of many who peruse its pages. -- Dr. Stanley Krippner

Product Details

  • File Size: 463 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0915811898
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Peaceful Warrior ePublishing; First edition (May 5, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,557 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
290 of 301 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My two cents July 7, 2000
So here's my experience with the book: I first purchased this book when I was 15. And to tell you the truth I don't recall why. And I read it in one sitting. I came away from the reading with a sense of "Wow, that's really amazing. That was a really cool book." However I did NOT feel that the book lived up to it's subtitle "The Book that Changes Lives" In fact I thought it was a practice in pretension to label it as Millman did. And I put the book away and forgot about it...(dramatic pause)... or so I thought (BUM BUM BUM). You see it wasn't until I was 17 or so that I began to realize that the book had made a grand impact on my life. I realized that I was seeing the world in a completely different way... that I was learning to "let things go" to have fewer expectations from life and enjoying more what life was giving me. And through practice (which probably will continue for the rest of my life, these changes have continued and refined themselves in the years following this revelation. Of course a portion of these changes are due to me simply maturing and evolving as a person from age 15 to present. The book however set me on the right path for who I am and who I am to become as time goes on. My path may be differnt than yours- and I think that's the point and the reason that the reviews on this site are either very high or very low. For some this book resonates on a deep level and for others they see only the words. This is not to put value judgements on "getting it" or "not getting it". This bok is only one of the paths that leads to wherever it is that we are all headed as humanity. Each of us, (if i may be allowed a new age moment), is a person "becoming" and at different rates. Read more ›
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122 of 140 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Westerner's Guide to Zen Buddhism August 16, 2010
This book is not new material. I wouldn't say it is groundbreaking or that it changed my life. Probably because I am already acquainted with the principles of Buddhism and Eastern thinking. So I didn't find anything new here that would give me a "wow" factor like all the other reviews claim. What I did find is that it presents the ideology in a down-to-earth, real-life format, thus making it easy for one to understand how to apply the principles to one's own life. The character of Socrates, the teacher, is lovable and so well done that you really feel he's there with you. The storyline is well put together. Parts of it were taken from the author's own life and some were created, but they are seamlessly intertwined. The story flows and the book is a quick read. Millman also incorporates Plato's allegory of the cave and some zen koans within the plot to help enlighten you on some of the points that are presented. I already knew about Plato's allegory and some of the zen koans from before, they are classics, so they were not new to me but I did enjoy seeing how they were applied to the main storyline.

And now for the criticism. There were two things I didn't like about this book.

1. How little time or explanation Millman incorporates about his failed marriage and daughter. It just seems like a hiccup in his life. And that is why I believe Zen can only take you so far. I believe there is more to life than just letting everything go. What about forming relationships? What about atoning for your actions? If you hurt someone, it is not enough for you to realize it and let it go, you have to take action. At least seek forgiveness, let the person know you made a mistake and that you are sorry. Zen just seems to put you in a bubble and the truth is, we all are not solitary monks.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way to Unreasonable Happiness February 22, 2008
Dan Millman's book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, is an amazing journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. It was a very fluid read and an eye-opening experience. The author unveils that the way to Happiness is by being present along the journey. Every step of the journey is important. There are no ordinary moments. There is in actuality no hierarchy, just the illusion based on our preference. So our college graduation is not intrinsically better than the last day of vacation or garbage recycling day or even this very moment. It all matters, because "the Essence of Aliveness matters; the details do not."
Beneath all circumstances, thoughts & emotions lies "the innate perfection of one's life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness."
Another book I love that delves into the magic available in each moment as it unfolds is Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment. Authors Ariel and Shaya Kane explain that if you trade in your preferences for the willingness to be in each moment as it actually is, you will be rewarded with extraordinary well-being. Since reading these works I have had many examples of "unreasonable happiness" in my own life.
A recent 6+ hour wait in an airport in Costa Rica, which ended with a cancelled flight and an unexpected overnight stay, became a delightful adventure and an opportunity to set aside my preferences and have well-being. One had only to look at the faces of other passengers to see that this was not the common response to the situation. But as I have begun to engage in each moment, without prejudice, my life has opened up to unexpected sources of actual joy & well-being.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. This book couldn't have come into my life ...
Wow. This book couldn't have come into my life at a more appropriate time. There are few people I know that would actually gain something from this book at this point in their... Read more
Published 8 hours ago by katherine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very "centering" book - recommended reading.
Published 24 days ago by Thomas G.
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Im sorry but you can find these answers in any self help book. Just wasn't my thing.
Published 25 days ago by Louisa M.
5.0 out of 5 stars This changed my depression 180 degrees to the better!
This changed my depression 180 degrees to the better!
Published 1 month ago by JAA
5.0 out of 5 stars The title states it all.
This is a great book. The title states it all. I am a swim coach and Dan's writing has helped me become more enlightened and now I passing this onto the athletes that I have the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael A. Kraeuter
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip It
I read this because it was in a suggested reading list in another book. My opinion is that the few nuggets of good advice there (live simply, focus on the present, eat well, etc. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maia Burns
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
I think may should read other books as well I do not feel like story is complete. But I enjoyed to reed it!
Published 2 months ago by Oxana
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy customer.
Order received. Happy customer.
Published 2 months ago by ryan guthrie
5.0 out of 5 stars It was amazing. What a writer
I was told to purchase this book about 20 years ago but didn't. I had written the name down and kept coming across it. And I decided this time to purchase the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by janette schulz
4.0 out of 5 stars interning intro to Zen
I am a faithful Christian. So many in the faith are afraid to open themselves to the "eastern ways". This book caught my attention and kept it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by StarkJA
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More About the Author

Most people who've read Way of the Peaceful Warrior (or seen the movie) already know a few aspects of my life. And you may have seen my summary bio at my website, as follows:

"Dan Millman, a former world champion athlete, coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor, is author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior (adapted to film in 2006), and numerous other books read by millions of people in 29 languages. Dan teaches worldwide and has influenced people from all walks of life, including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment and the arts. Dan and his wife, Joy, live in Northern California. His most recent book is The Four Purposes of Life.

Dan's website - -- features a link to the "Life Purpose Calculator,"and to my online courses and other resources."

Now here are some personal notes:

In my youth I focused on self-improvement, taking memory courses, speed reading; practicing martial arts and gymnastics. Then one day I realized that no matter how much I improved myself, only one person benefited -- but if I could influence other people in a positive way, that made my life more meaningful and exciting.

I began teaching gymnastics, and elements from the martial arts -- that soon shifted into the larger arena of personal growth. I began to write and to speak more widely, especially after the publication of my first book.

I've been lucky, maybe blessed, to have the chance to touch many lives around the world.

Joy and I have been married for 37 years and we grow closer each day, it seems, as we gain perspective and cultivate a sense of humor (about ourselves and one another). I'm a proud father of three grown daughters and two grandsons so far.

I believe you'd find me a good (but not perfect) example of what I teach. I continue to practice, to learn, to serve as well as I can. I do my best to keep my head in the clouds but feet on the ground.

For more info about my books and seminars, please visit, sign up for my eList, follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or just search for peaceful warrior.

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If you liked Peaceful Warrior, then you'll also appreciate Mystic Warrior: A Novel Beyond Time and Space. It won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Visionary Fiction and a Nautilus Silver Book Award for Fiction/Visionary Fiction.

Mystic Warrior takes place in a world... Read More
Feb 27, 2012 by Edwin Harkness Spina |  See all 2 posts
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