287 of 298 people found the following review helpful
on 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. It is not a question of is this book is right or wrong, it is a question of whether this book is right or wrong for whom. In this case that "whom" is you... and there is only one way to find out and that is to read it for yourself.
118 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on 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. We constantly interact with people, which brings me to point #2.
2. The author tries to breeze through the subject of altruism by making a couple of statements here and there. Apparently, learning to be a happy person by not wanting anything makes you care for others. I didn't buy it. The author doesn't really explain or give examples as to how achieving enlightenment will make you care for others. As a matter of fact, he even relates an anecdote in which he got upset when a homeless man asked him for money. He justifies his reaction buy just saying that all one has to do is just let it go. What about realizing that the anger was a result of the guilt of not giving the man any money? Again, the problem with Zen. It's great for learning how to be happy if you live in a bubble, but it doesn't give you guidelines on how your relationship to others should be. It only focuses on the self. That's kinda selfish when you think about it. There has to be more to life than just attaining your own enlightenment. What about putting that enlightenment into action by helping others and being a compassionate person?
Overall, this is a good quick read. It might be beneficial for unenlightened souls. But for those who are already on the path, it's nothing to rave about.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 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.
135 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2000
I cannot give any book that gives useful life messages less than five stars, because I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it, however, the story in this book can drag at times. Although, the messages that it contains are necessary for the journey of the soul and it is definitely on my list of must reads. What I personally got out of the book is the importance of living in the NOW, not the past or future. What am I doing with myself right now? If you ask yourself this question often, you will find yourself being more productive. There are plenty of wonderful and inspiring passages in this book that will change your life, for example, "There are no accidents, everything has a purpose." Another key message from the warrior may be: Don't ever think you have learned enough - or life will throw you some hard lessons. Just when you think the character understands something, he gets thrown a hardball, similar to the course of life. At times you feel sorry for him, but he can be so cocky! Learning to be humble is one of life's greatest lessons as well.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2007
I enjoyed reading Dan Millman's book very much because through a fun and engaging character he exposes the reader to universal teachings. I found myself turning the pages to learn more and also found myself in many of them. I learned that one can train how to be unreasonably happy and is the ultimate goal of the spiritual warrior who discovers its true nature. I found reading this book a very simple way of accessing my inner peace and finding humor in my life as well. Millman opened my eyes to what a miracle life is and his book has found a permanent place on my bookshelf.
In a similar way, Ariel and Shya Kane's book How To Create a Magical Relationship has eye opening, enlightening stories. By way of their transformation principles they give us a new perspective on relationships, including the one we have with ourselves. The Kanes have a very practical approach that can be used in everyday situations, in which life gets light, fun and magical. I highly recommend them. Their books are pearls of wisdom.
49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2002
For my independent book project I read the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan
Millman. Set in Berkeley California, a young college student, Dan Millman, struggles to find the
part of himself that has always been missing. One night while out walking from his dorm, Dan
comes across a gas station and a strange man that is soon to turn his life upside down. This man,
known as Socrates, shows Dan a side of existence that only few people had ever seen. To
become a warrior like Socrates and have the mind to not allow the regular struggles of life to
control a single part of you. Socrates takes Dan in and tries to create a warrior from a young star
athlete with the ignorance of every other human on this earth. Through his teachings Dan comes
across an elusive women named Joy. This spiritual journey shows Dan a side of life never seen by
his own eyes before, and guides him to his final conflict that hopefully will help him reach his
destination he has always yearned for. The missing piece of the puzzle that is Dan Millman.
This book shows life in a way you may have never thought of before. It shows the many
steps it takes to become, "a warrior." The biggest strength of this book is the way these steps are
portrayed. In most cases it is Socrates showing the ignorant Dan the differences between their
lives. Socrates shows Dan how a warrior looks at several simple aspects of life unlike the normal
human. In one section, Socrates shows Dan the difference between the brain and the mind. Dan
questions the positive uses for the mind and the great minds in history. Socrates shows him that
there aren't any great minds, that there are only great brains. "Mind is one of those slippery terms
like love. The proper definition relates to your level of consciousness." Socrates states and
continues to explain how the brain has abstract processes of dealing with information called, "the
intellect." He adds, "Nowhere have I mentioned mind. The brain and mind are not the same.
The brain is real; the mind isn't." He later explains how the mind is all the random uncontrolled
thoughts that cloud your brain, and how the mind is a useless tool. This way of separating these
two simples words allows the reader to think about what the book is saying, and to figure out if
there is truth to what the book says.
Another strength of this book, is obviously the way it makes you think about the steps it
shows. The difference between the mind and brain is not something most think about in their
regular lives. But as I read each word I found truth to what Socrates was saying. You read this
book and try to realize the hidden messages being put across. The message between the mind and
brain is to not let your brain be attacked by random useless thoughts. In other words, to not let
your, `mind', get in the way of your brain. People think millions of useless thoughts each day.
Without these thoughts a persons brain would be clear and their emotions would be easier to
control. Dan tries to explain to Socrates that he will control his `mind' and change himself in the
process. "That is one of your biggest illusions. You've been willing to change clothes, hairstyles,
women, apartment, and jobs. You are willing to change anything, except yourself." Socrates
states. This again enables the reader to reflect on their life and brain. And to put themselves in
the shoes of the main character Dan.
This book allows you to relate to the main character. The main character is a young man
who has been set to see the world the way most have. He is ignorant when it comes to seeing the
other side of the picture. Readers can relate to him because they share a lot of the same qualities
and ignorance. As Socrates teaches Dan about the mind, he also teaches the reader. As I read
this book I found myself thinking the same questions as Dan asked in the book. It made me
realize how little most humans know and how unwelcome they are to change.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It allowed me to relate to the main character, reflect on
my life, and try to change myself in the process of reading it. I was able to see the parts of my life
that had not been even fathomed before. Through Dan's journey I was able to see the part of
myself that I had been missing. This book is not a challenging book and allows for every reader
to have their own interpretation of it. It is sad for me to say but this book definitely affected my
life and made me see the parts of myself that were in need of change. I recommend this book for
anyone struggling to find them self like most humans are, or anyone in general who would like to
read something that causes them to live through the motions of the main character. This book
creates a world similar to ours where, though he is not real, there is a `Socrates' in each in every
person's life. I recommend it to anyone, and later in life I will read it again to see my growth and
the things in my life I have left to change.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2009
Millman's book - Way of the Peaceful Warrior - follows the journey and development of the protagonist (Millman himself) as he undergoes a spiritual transformation and "self-realization". Millman uses a mysterious teacher character, Socrates, to convey life's important lessons. The plot is very straightforward - it is a standard quest-for-knowledge. Think of the movie, The Karate Kid, and you get the gist of the plot.
It's important that you read the book as an allegory and is only meant to be read semi-literally. This is important because Millman's writing is very rough at times, the dialogue made me cringe, and there are random moments of misogyny. Also, Millman throws in various supernatural events, which gave me a few "Huh?" moments. Towards the end, the book feels like Millman tried to pick up the pace of the novel, which felt ackward given the pace of the first three quarters of the book. So, minus two stars for the bad writing.
Once you can see through the poor dialogue and supernatural events, you can pull out the lessons that Millman is trying to convey:
- Take care of your health and eat well. Your body will reward you.
- Avoid stress and use anger positively. Meditation is a good tool.
- Don't fuss over the past; it's done. Learn and move on.
- Don't fuss over the future; it's too unpredictable.
- Go all-in or don't play at all. Moderation is for bores.
- Life is a journey to understand yourself and in doing so, understand your own way to happiness.
- Live for now and enjoy the present; be aware and avoid passive understanding.
To the informed reader, this novel doesn't really express anything new or ground-breaking; it just bundles some basic advice nicely in a story that is easily read by most Americans. I didn't find this novel life-changing or phenomenal or great but rather a simple suggestion of ways to achieve happiness. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and thinking about Millman's suggestions but it did not live up to the hype.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2007
I enjoyed going on the journey with Dan Millman in "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior".
It opened my eyes and reminded me of a possibility that exists for us all.
After "accidentally" meeting his enlightened teacher, Socrates, at an all night gas station, Dan embarks on an amazing voyage that leads to his discovery of a gentle yet profound state of being where there are no ordinary moments.
Dan had been an unsatisfied striver, doer, competitor ( world class athelete) and complainer before his world was shaken up by this extraordinary man.
In most cultures, we humans are conditioned to strive for the future, have regrets about the past & for the most part, blame circumstances outside ourselves for what is happening in our lives. Getting caught up with this "way of being" has become a lifestyle that's robbing us of the magic, the intimacy and the intensity of the current, perfect, moment of now - and, as Dan found out, the place where satisfaction truly lives.
"How to Create a magical Relationship", by Ariel and Shya Kane, is another book that gently nudged me into exploring the magical realm of living in the present moment. It's a series of short stories where people's lives instantaneously transform while speaking with the Kanes. I got so much value after reading these two books!
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2000
This book is truly inspiring, mind-opening and will change the way you look at life forever. It shows you the great possibilities that are in store for every human being. In this respect I find this book extremely powerful and helpful.
There is one thing, however, that I find to be disturbing. The story is based on fiction as well as fantasy. This fact wouldn't be bad by itself, however, the reader gets the impression that this book is a sincere autobiography - which it is not. Thus, while appreciating the fantastic story, we should not take the story itself for real. We may, however, learn from the lessons it contains.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 1997
A friend recommended this book to me and it changed my life.
This is a well written, easily read book of personal growth. Initially I set out reading the book as a story and soon found that I became a part of it, living and feeling the story as it unfolded. I now own a well thumbed paper back copy.
Dan, the author and world class athlete tells his own story of spiritual growth as he meets the challenges of life helped by the sometimes obtuse council of his mentor. It's a book which once you pick it up, even on the third or fourth read you just don't want to put it down and each time you read it new gems of wisdom will become apparent in the writing. We each have our own vision and purpose in life, just remember - "there are no ordinary moments"