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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

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Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were a character in a movie.Years after writing his best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another.Bu Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were a character in a movie.Years after writing his best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another.But he gets rescued by two movie producers who want to make a movie based on his memoir. When they start fictionalizing Don's life for film--changing a meandering memoir into a structured narrative--the real-life Don starts a journey to edit his actual life into a better story. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details that journey and challenges readers to reconsider what they strive for in life. It shows how to get a second chance at life the first time around.


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Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were a character in a movie.Years after writing his best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another.Bu Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were a character in a movie.Years after writing his best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another.But he gets rescued by two movie producers who want to make a movie based on his memoir. When they start fictionalizing Don's life for film--changing a meandering memoir into a structured narrative--the real-life Don starts a journey to edit his actual life into a better story. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details that journey and challenges readers to reconsider what they strive for in life. It shows how to get a second chance at life the first time around.

30 review for A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Swaroop

    "The character of the character matters." "Life could be magical, if we are only willing to take few risks." Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is about finding meaning, and living a meaningful life. It is about realising that the story is not about the ending, but the journey of the story as it is happening and getting moulded... Don also discusses about his life without having a father, and meeting him after 30 years. The author explains about the effects on a child not having a f "The character of the character matters." "Life could be magical, if we are only willing to take few risks." Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is about finding meaning, and living a meaningful life. It is about realising that the story is not about the ending, but the journey of the story as it is happening and getting moulded... Don also discusses about his life without having a father, and meeting him after 30 years. The author explains about the effects on a child not having a father, and also details his contributions to educate and mentor such fatherless children. *** According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.3 million children, 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today. [fatherhood.org] *** "you paddle until you can't go any further, than the shore reaches out to you..." "It is the pain that binds us."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott Welch

    I have a love/hate relationship with this book. At times, he had me frustrated with his writing about himself, and sometimes he hooked me with how he applied his stories to the point of the book. The 4 stars is an average: 5 stars for the point of the book (Life is a story, what kind of story are you living?). It really got me thinking and I have probably thought about this book everyday since I read it at some point or other. But, I gave it a 3 for the rambletastic ridiculousness of his stories I have a love/hate relationship with this book. At times, he had me frustrated with his writing about himself, and sometimes he hooked me with how he applied his stories to the point of the book. The 4 stars is an average: 5 stars for the point of the book (Life is a story, what kind of story are you living?). It really got me thinking and I have probably thought about this book everyday since I read it at some point or other. But, I gave it a 3 for the rambletastic ridiculousness of his stories all about himself. It is worth the read. My wife is reading it now. I especially liked the story about the family that realized that the story their family was living wasn't as excited as the life of rebellion their daughter was experimenting with. So they did something drastic. You have to read it to find out what...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This is a Don Miller book. Hence, -Charming anecdotes from his life Don meets Steve, who wants to shoot a movie based off Blue Like Jazz, Don doesn't like them changing his life to appeal to moviegoers, Don realizes he is living a lame story, Don embarks to rectify, Don dates a girl, Don hikes a mountain, Don bikes across the country, Don matures. -Self-depreciating wit Don at no point brags and any acheivement mentioned is tempered by mention of a personal failing. He's unflaggingly artless in the This is a Don Miller book. Hence, -Charming anecdotes from his life Don meets Steve, who wants to shoot a movie based off Blue Like Jazz, Don doesn't like them changing his life to appeal to moviegoers, Don realizes he is living a lame story, Don embarks to rectify, Don dates a girl, Don hikes a mountain, Don bikes across the country, Don matures. -Self-depreciating wit Don at no point brags and any acheivement mentioned is tempered by mention of a personal failing. He's unflaggingly artless in the way he presents himself always erring on the side of too-pathetic. -Short sections 254 pages, 36 sections, wide line spacing. -Ideas-clash-with-reality / reality-teaches-lessons experience Story is the framework through which life is rightly-perceived. Don was dissatisfied because he was not living a story (definition incoming) whereby a character... overcomes obstacles... to get what he wants. His un/faithfulness to this framework is the subject of this book. -Don talks about who he admires Bob Goff, Steve Taylor, Robert McKee. -Theological education God is the ultimate storyteller. Applying story framework to the way we view the world is right perception.

  4. 5 out of 5

    C.G.Koens

    After getting past the first 8 chapters, "A Million Miles" started getting very thought provoking and I was quite challenged by some of the ideas that Miller shares. The idea of creating a story, taking the skills and abilities that God has given you and doing something with them, rather than waiting for something to happen to you, has struck a chord. As a caveat, that there are Rob Bell-esque tones in here, and I disagree with some of the theology that Miller spouts throughout the book. However After getting past the first 8 chapters, "A Million Miles" started getting very thought provoking and I was quite challenged by some of the ideas that Miller shares. The idea of creating a story, taking the skills and abilities that God has given you and doing something with them, rather than waiting for something to happen to you, has struck a chord. As a caveat, that there are Rob Bell-esque tones in here, and I disagree with some of the theology that Miller spouts throughout the book. However, you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and I have read this book much as I would any secular story - testing everything against the Truth of Scripture and using discernment. In the end, I came away with several good lessons and lots to think about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Angone

    The main way A Million Miles in Thousand Years struck me was the way Donald Miller danced around this idea that many of us are waiting to act the lead role of our own stories. Literally, sitting at home, smoking a cigarette, hoping our agent will call. We want God to write some heroic scenes where we get to rescue the girl, make a million, kiss the girl, save the bus full of kids from the upcoming cliff while we’re on the phone making a few more million, and then relax on a tropical island (whic The main way A Million Miles in Thousand Years struck me was the way Donald Miller danced around this idea that many of us are waiting to act the lead role of our own stories. Literally, sitting at home, smoking a cigarette, hoping our agent will call. We want God to write some heroic scenes where we get to rescue the girl, make a million, kiss the girl, save the bus full of kids from the upcoming cliff while we’re on the phone making a few more million, and then relax on a tropical island (which we own) drinking Mai-Tai’s. That’s the story we want delivered to us. We want God to call us and say “Shower and shave! I’ve just written the story you were born to play.” And then, when seemingly God forgets our number. Or when we starting living out our day-to-day where all the heroic scenes are apparently re-written with 50 unbearable pages about going to the office and drinking bitter coffee. Or falling in love with someone who seems quite content in loving someone else. Well then we become angry and start eating more Hagen-Daaz. And why shouldn’t we? Because either: A. God is a terrible storyteller. Or B. God is a sick, twisted being who gets his kicks out of watching us suffer. He’s either incompetent or cruel and sometimes we think it’s a little of both – so we lose hope. However, in Donald Miller’s profound and poetic way A Million Miles in a Thousand Years shows us that God doesn’t want us to be just actors in our own life, hanging out in our trailers smoking a cigarette waiting for Him to write a scene worth our time. No, God wants writing partners. He wants us to pull up a chair, a cup of coffee, and create with him. He wants us to stay up until 3 am going through the painful, laborious, exhilarating process of working with him on our own life script. Sure sometimes the story might take on a life of it’s own, but ultimately he wants us to ask and wrestle with the question that is the driving force behind every great story – what does this character really want? What do I really want? Seems a simple enough question, but I know its not having wrestled with that question for five years in my own literal story Are You My Life?: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! God wants us to banter back and forth with him, dream the next plot line – heck, even argue with him about what should happen next because we’re so passionate about the story we are writing together. So are we going to watch our own lives with a bag of popcorn and then complain when the lights go out because the end didn’t turn out like we thought it should? Or are we going to help write the dang thing? Life will ultimately be much more freeing to us and to those around if we pull up a chair to that blank page and ask, “All right, so what needs to happen next?”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Schneider

    Quotes from the book... "People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain." "fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." "It made me wonder if the reasons our lives seem so muddled is because we keep walking into scenes in which we, along with the people around us, have no clear idea what we want." "God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it i Quotes from the book... "People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain." "fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." "It made me wonder if the reasons our lives seem so muddled is because we keep walking into scenes in which we, along with the people around us, have no clear idea what we want." "God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it is that isn’t God wants us to create meaningless stories, teaching the people around us that life just isn’t worth living." "Most Americans aren’t living very good stories. It’s not our fault, I don’t think. We are suckered into it. We are brainwashed, I think." "Advertising does exactly this. We watch a commercial advertising a new Volvo, and suddenly we feel our life isn’t as content as it once was. Our life doesn’t have the new Volvo in it. And the commercial convinces us we will only be content if we have a car with forty-seven airbags. And so we begin our story of buying a Volvo, only to repeat the story with a new weed eater and then a new home stereo. And this can go on for a lifetime. When the credits roll, we wonder what we did with our lives, and what was the meaning." "The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want. If we don’t want anything, we are living boring stories, and if we want a Roomba vaccum cleaner, we are living stupid stories. If it won’t work in a story, it won’t work in life." "when something hard happens to you, you have two choices in how to deal with it. You can either get bitter, or better. I chose to get better. It’s made all the difference." "I realized how much of our lives are spent trying to avoid conflict. Half the commercials on television are selling us something that will make life easier. Part of me wonders if our stories aren’t being stolen by the easy life." "every conflict, no matter how hard, comes back to bless the protagonist if he will face his fate with courage. There is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing." "When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you’d be surprised at how much pleasure you get in material possessions. And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God." "It wasn’t necessary to win for the story to be great, it was only necessary to sacrifice everything."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karen L.

    I loved this book.I listened to the author reading,audio version, which I highly recommend. He has a wonderful conversational style of writing. I liked his honesty. He shares stories from his life freely, sharing both his good and bad choices through both humorous as well as serious stories. Some of the stories caused me to belly laugh and others, like the death of his friend's wife made me sob. He shares about his father leaving when he was a child and about his finding his father later as an a I loved this book.I listened to the author reading,audio version, which I highly recommend. He has a wonderful conversational style of writing. I liked his honesty. He shares stories from his life freely, sharing both his good and bad choices through both humorous as well as serious stories. Some of the stories caused me to belly laugh and others, like the death of his friend's wife made me sob. He shares about his father leaving when he was a child and about his finding his father later as an adult. He writes about how our lives are stories and that we need to think of them this way so that we make our lives truly good stories. He has definately inspired me to make sure that my life is a "good story." I feel more ready to go out and try something crazy now...well maybe not too crazy?

  8. 4 out of 5

    girl writing

    I've stumbled upon several blogs all having to do with improving quality of life by being unconventional. While reading the Blog of Impossible Things, I came across this book. With the magic of e-books, I had the book in my hands and read by the end of the evening. I laughed out loud at the first page and cried at the last. What an unique approach to living a meaningful life...from the book: "I wondered if life could be lived more like a good story in the first place. I wondered if a person coul I've stumbled upon several blogs all having to do with improving quality of life by being unconventional. While reading the Blog of Impossible Things, I came across this book. With the magic of e-books, I had the book in my hands and read by the end of the evening. I laughed out loud at the first page and cried at the last. What an unique approach to living a meaningful life...from the book: "I wondered if life could be lived more like a good story in the first place. I wondered if a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally." And, the main point of the book: "A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it is the basic structure of a good story." There is much humor, introspection, reflection, implementation of ideas in this book. And, Miller has some pretty amazing friends...the story of Bob Goff is wonderful in itself. Miller includes God and his religious views in the book. It is not preachy or pushy, it is just part of who he is. And one more quote: "It's true what Steven Pressfield says: there is a force resisting the beautiful things in the world and too many of us are giving in. The world needs for us to have courage, Robert McKee says at the end of his book. The world needs for us to write something better." I told a friend of mine about the book over dinner and she said that she felt her life was a good story. I was happy for her and truthfully, jealous. Then she laughed and said maybe it was just the wine. :) I recommend this book and would love to discuss with anyone who reads it!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    1st read 9-2014. Reread 3-2019.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars. Miller's conversational style makes this read smoothly, and he is charming company while he asks interesting questions and uses interesting vocabulary to discuss his ideas. And hey, I'm a sucker for things that explore the concept of how our narratives shape our sense of identity. The subject matter has been approached by many others, and I don't think he adds anything particularly new to the canon, hence rounding down, but the journey was enjoyable. That said, I have to credit this bo 3.5 stars. Miller's conversational style makes this read smoothly, and he is charming company while he asks interesting questions and uses interesting vocabulary to discuss his ideas. And hey, I'm a sucker for things that explore the concept of how our narratives shape our sense of identity. The subject matter has been approached by many others, and I don't think he adds anything particularly new to the canon, hence rounding down, but the journey was enjoyable. That said, I have to credit this book for giving me an epiphany. The anecdote about about his friend taking action to give his struggling teenage daughter a better narrative (I don't want to spoil it, because it was my favorite part of the book) made me think about my own pandemic parenting. I have one child that has really been discouraged about pandemic life. I've basically gone on parenting steroids to try and fill his need gaps from what he lost (Lots of outdoor adventure, sometimes with socially distanced friends! Homeschooling he enjoys because distance ed was so awful for him! Dropping my free-wheeling hippy ways and doing one of those awful rainbow routine schedules because this child needs structure!), but he still feels like this year has been a dumpster fire. I've realized that while I have been giving him the building blocks of a good story, I have not actually been giving him the narrative to see who he is in this different context. I am trying to be more careful to offer him a narrative during this of who he is (while letting him define himself, which doesn't have an easy answer) - to tell him that he will be able to tell his children stories about how despite the fact a pandemic took away experiences that mattered to him, and it didn't feel great, it didn't stop him from having great adventures, serving others, and learning fascinating things. Maybe it will stick? But I want to give him opportunities to see his life through different lenses, and I want to be more conscious about narrating that to him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I read Blue Like Jazz, Miller’s first and wildly successful memoir, in what seems now another life and another frame of mind. But Donald Miller is travelling with me in a freakish parallel universe. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years tracks Miller learning to view his life through a camera lens. This hook, life as a story, snagged my inner writer, pulling me through the book as Miller sharpens his point. The book begins as Miller is approached to edit Blue Like Jazz into a movie script, turning I read Blue Like Jazz, Miller’s first and wildly successful memoir, in what seems now another life and another frame of mind. But Donald Miller is travelling with me in a freakish parallel universe. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years tracks Miller learning to view his life through a camera lens. This hook, life as a story, snagged my inner writer, pulling me through the book as Miller sharpens his point. The book begins as Miller is approached to edit Blue Like Jazz into a movie script, turning his (mainly internal) meanderings into events that happen to a character named Don. As a writer myself, complete with an overactive inner monologue, I appreciated the irony of Miller reshaping his memoir to translate onscreen. Reconstructing his quiet, emotional growth into visible activity seems daunting. Yet realizing that movie moments are made when the character is doing something, not when he’s thinking, leads to Miller’s extraordinary personal growth in A Million Miles. As he begins to edit, Miller posits, “My entire life had been designed to make myself more comfortable, to insulate myself from the interruption of my daydreams.” Instead of continuing that story, Miller swaps it for a new one, testing out action/adventure to start (he climbs the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu while struggling with weight issues), then drama (his first serious relationship), and finally mellowing into an arthouse flick (he bikes across the country with a group of misfits) to wrap. A Million Miles is about the transition from an easy acceptance of life to scaring yourself out of complacency. Miller’s memorable characters — particularly the vivid Bob Goff — imbue his stories with clarity and an honest, translucent feel that let readers embrace the end lesson. If most of life is forgettable, it follows that what we’ll recall — easiest or most or fondly — are the absurd moments, the unscripted. Miller’s voice has matured, maybe with age, maybe just with the change in story. His weaving, multi-layered tales build a message powerful in its simplicity: Self-editing is within our power. This review, and more like it, on my blog at www.christinereads.com.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    free preview copy from Thomas Nelson publishers. I was so excited when I heard Donald Miller had a new book out, and even more excited when I got the news I was getting a free copy. then I got the book and read it. Oh bummer. The book isn't bad, persay. it's just not life altering for me. Maybe it's one of those subtle books, that I'll find I keep remembering and thinking about later. But it definitely didn't strike me as I was reading it. I felt more like, okay, I'm going to listen to more about free preview copy from Thomas Nelson publishers. I was so excited when I heard Donald Miller had a new book out, and even more excited when I got the news I was getting a free copy. then I got the book and read it. Oh bummer. The book isn't bad, persay. it's just not life altering for me. Maybe it's one of those subtle books, that I'll find I keep remembering and thinking about later. But it definitely didn't strike me as I was reading it. I felt more like, okay, I'm going to listen to more about how he sat down and had a beer with someone, or how he sat and thought. It just felt like a lot of the book was unnecessary info, that dragged it down so much that I barely noticed when he got to the point about our lives being like stories. It was a little like feeling like I was trapped listening to a friend drone on about boring parts of their life, hoping that they get to their point sooner rather than later. It's an interesting concept, that our lives are like stories. I never thought about it before, and I'll admit it occasionally comes to mind now, wondering what I'm consciously doing with my life, what my plans are turning me into. I just think the concept could have been delivered in a better, more engaging way. I was also disappointed at how little his faith seemed to figure into his discussion. I couldn't, in honesty, include this in my Christian book category. It was more like secular self help, in which the author happens to be Christian. ************************************************** note--a year later I was going through my shelves, glanced at this book and though "huh, Donald Miller. I can't remember what it was about, even though I know I read it. I think I'll go check my goodreads review." then I do that, and see my comment about how maybe I'll remember this book later. Negatory. have not thought about this even once that I can remember. and the concept isn't that original by now, with others who've done a better job making us be intentional about our lives and the story we're creating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ben Zajdel

    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 M 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Willie Krischke

    A few years ago, Don Miller was a promising young writer with a unique voice and some things to say. And then he had to go and become a conference speaker. I don't blame him; there's a lot of money in speaking at conferences, and not that much in writing a book every 3 years, even if you have one on the New York Times bestseller list. Writers make pretty good conference speakers, but conference speaking ruins pretty good writers. Conference speakers have to tell a joke, or say something cute, or d A few years ago, Don Miller was a promising young writer with a unique voice and some things to say. And then he had to go and become a conference speaker. I don't blame him; there's a lot of money in speaking at conferences, and not that much in writing a book every 3 years, even if you have one on the New York Times bestseller list. Writers make pretty good conference speakers, but conference speaking ruins pretty good writers. Conference speakers have to tell a joke, or say something cute, or do a little dance every five minutes to keep the attention of their audience, who has just travelled 400 miles and doesn't know yet where their hotel room is or if there's going to be a vegetarian option for dinner. But a writer who tells a joke or says something cute every second paragraph gets old fast. And Miller has that problem - in spakes in "A Million Miles." It's not that the jokes aren't funny, or cute, or whatever, it's that you want a more consistent voice, more finely crafted prose, out of a writer.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    "Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo." That single insight, from the first page of the book, effectively distills the wisdom of 288 pages down into one sentence. In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller writes of how collaborating on a screenplay based on his life transformed his perspective on life, and then transformed the living of his life. As he thought on the fictional story of his life, he began to see his real life as a story, and that, as the sa "Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo." That single insight, from the first page of the book, effectively distills the wisdom of 288 pages down into one sentence. In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller writes of how collaborating on a screenplay based on his life transformed his perspective on life, and then transformed the living of his life. As he thought on the fictional story of his life, he began to see his real life as a story, and that, as the saying goes, is what made all the difference. He thought about the elements of a good story-- conflict, sacrifice, character transformation, and realized that the "elements that made a story meaningful were the same that made a life meaningful." And as he was rewriting the fictional story of his life, he realized that his own life was his to write, by intentionally living out what a good story would be. Miller writes in his honest and open style about both his failings and his victories in this memoir, and there is much to be appreciated and pondered over here. I underlined dozens of sentences like the ones above, sentences that ought to be deeply worked down into the soul. Don's story is a good story, but it isn't a great story. Where it falls short of greatness is that Christ is not at its center. Yes, as far as I know Don is a Christian, but his story as chronicled in the book is one that anyone with any belief in God could undertake. I believe that every truly great life story involves the glory of Christ and His Kingdom at the center of it all-- the inciting incident, the conflict, the transformation, the climax-- Christ must be seen as behind all, before all, the center of all, and the purpose of it all. I'd like to hear more of the story of Christ in the story of Don next time around.

  16. 5 out of 5

    KrisTina

    Really 4.5 stars. From a few people that I follow - this book has been highly recommended. I checked it out at the library once and just never even got out of ten pages. But then the recommendation rolled around again and it was strong enough that I thought I would try it. I found it on audio and for probably the first hour or so I thought, "why in the crap is this book so highly recommended?" but the further along I got the further along I loved it. I love the idea to consider about "what makes Really 4.5 stars. From a few people that I follow - this book has been highly recommended. I checked it out at the library once and just never even got out of ten pages. But then the recommendation rolled around again and it was strong enough that I thought I would try it. I found it on audio and for probably the first hour or so I thought, "why in the crap is this book so highly recommended?" but the further along I got the further along I loved it. I love the idea to consider about "what makes a good story?" and "what story do I want for my life?" This really has made me think so much about where I am headed, how I want my children to remember me, how I want to spend my time, what story I want to create for my marriage, my career, etc. It's not that you have to have amazing things happen to you to have an amazing story - instead - you just have to choose what story you want and be willing to "save the cat" and go through the difficult/uncomfortableness to get the story you want to have remembered. Highly recommend. In fact, please read this so that I can talk to you about it. Pretty please.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    WOW! If five stars and that exclamation didn't tell it, this was a great book. Donald Miller manages to tell us a lot about our story through his story, especially because he is so honest about his own flaws that have persisted or have even been magnified through his previous success. He is one. He is candid. He is able to maintain a tone that makes the reader believe he is "just talking", all the while choosing figurative language that is so perfect that he must have come through dozens of othe WOW! If five stars and that exclamation didn't tell it, this was a great book. Donald Miller manages to tell us a lot about our story through his story, especially because he is so honest about his own flaws that have persisted or have even been magnified through his previous success. He is one. He is candid. He is able to maintain a tone that makes the reader believe he is "just talking", all the while choosing figurative language that is so perfect that he must have come through dozens of other options before selecting the phrase. Most motivational speaking put on paper would be terrible, but because Miller puts such thought into his craft I can hardly imagine a book outside of the Bible itself that is better able to combine challenge and encouragement.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nelson

    I loved this book. I think this is my first Don Miller book. I enjoyed the unassuming style. I loved it not because of beautiful prose - although there is that. But because for me, Don is so relatable. I felt his journey of self discovery and learning about story was exactly what I needed, right now. This simple story gave me hope that I can take responsibility to be a good character in an interesting story. My story. Something of a revelation to me when I am asking questions about the meaning o I loved this book. I think this is my first Don Miller book. I enjoyed the unassuming style. I loved it not because of beautiful prose - although there is that. But because for me, Don is so relatable. I felt his journey of self discovery and learning about story was exactly what I needed, right now. This simple story gave me hope that I can take responsibility to be a good character in an interesting story. My story. Something of a revelation to me when I am asking questions about the meaning of my life and the presence of God.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    It took me almost half the book to get into it but it had so many gems in it! It gave me a lot to think about. I love how he compares God to "the writer that isn't me". It took me almost half the book to get into it but it had so many gems in it! It gave me a lot to think about. I love how he compares God to "the writer that isn't me".

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amara

    This book had gotten rave reviews from my book club, but I was still kind of hesitant when it finally came up in my queue. Oh my goodness I should have bought this one on Audible when it was first recommended to me. It really resonated with me. Short, and funny, and self deprecating, I really liked the idea of making our lives an epic story. I liked the idea that Jesus Christ --or God --or whomever you believe in, wants us to put our heads down and do something meaningful with our lives -- not j This book had gotten rave reviews from my book club, but I was still kind of hesitant when it finally came up in my queue. Oh my goodness I should have bought this one on Audible when it was first recommended to me. It really resonated with me. Short, and funny, and self deprecating, I really liked the idea of making our lives an epic story. I liked the idea that Jesus Christ --or God --or whomever you believe in, wants us to put our heads down and do something meaningful with our lives -- not just sit around meditating on the meaning. I am a very practical person, and honestly have a hard time when even people in my church say things that sound like Christ is a product to make our daily lives shiny (which the author touches on). Life is hard, and we have to slog through the middle of it, and God is there weeping with us. I'm not capturing the essence of the book though (pulling people in a kayak behind a truck in the snow?? funny stuff in here too!). I am buying it and sharing with my family.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bryon

    Donald Miller is a one-of-a-kind writer. His talent is a rare gift. He is one of the few that can tell a story about himself and get out of his own way. In "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," he explores what makes a story great. The big question the book asks is, "Can my life be a great story?" Miller writes, "…the elements that made a story meaningful [are] the same that made a life meaningful." A good story has a protagonist – the good guy. That's the person in the story you love or want to b Donald Miller is a one-of-a-kind writer. His talent is a rare gift. He is one of the few that can tell a story about himself and get out of his own way. In "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," he explores what makes a story great. The big question the book asks is, "Can my life be a great story?" Miller writes, "…the elements that made a story meaningful [are] the same that made a life meaningful." A good story has a protagonist – the good guy. That's the person in the story you love or want to be. The protagonist has to have an ambition, he has to want something and be willing to overcome conflict – even death – to get it. "The thing about death is it reminds you the story we are telling has finality," Miller says. A good story has an inciting incident. Something has to happen to motivate the protagonist to do something big enough to make him change. Something has to force him to change because no one takes that kind of action on his own. The elements of storytelling became meaningful for Miller when he and some Nashville movie writers took on the project of creating a screenplay based on his New York Times bestseller, "Blue Like Jazz." It turned out that Miller's actual life wasn't interesting enough for a movie. A fictional version of Miller had to be cast as the hero. This was a tough pill for Miller to swallow. He wanted his life to be more than fiction. A good story begins with who you are. "I wondered whether a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally," Miller writes. "If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, 'Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.'" Miller says that we love stories for more than just Culture. "It's the thing that empties like a stomach and needs to be filled again," he writes. Miller's book is laugh-out-loud funny but forces reflection and prayer. It challenged me to be a more godly man, a more godly character in my own story. It dared me to take the long route rather than always choosing the short-cut. The destination is more highly valued when the journey isn't a piece of cake. I'm reminded of the verse in James that says, "Count it all joy when you suffer various trials." A great story has trials. This is a part of life. God is teaching me something. And the book moved me to tears. "A good storyteller doesn't just tell a better story, though. He invites other people into the story with him, giving them a better story too," Miller says. I was sad to finish this book; I wanted it to keep going. If you only read one book this year, read "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years." I'll definitely read it again. Maybe I'll listen to the audio version next. http://goodnewsfl.org/christian-news/...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I began reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years two months ago. After the first couple chapters, I thought "This is just Donald Miller, desperate for another hit book, riding the tails of what made Blue Like Jazz work." It wasn't long until I discovered he was on to something much bigger than in his first book. Miller discusses in depth the elements of story and how they apply not only to movie scripts and novels, but to each individual's life. The principal is quite interesting in itself and I began reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years two months ago. After the first couple chapters, I thought "This is just Donald Miller, desperate for another hit book, riding the tails of what made Blue Like Jazz work." It wasn't long until I discovered he was on to something much bigger than in his first book. Miller discusses in depth the elements of story and how they apply not only to movie scripts and novels, but to each individual's life. The principal is quite interesting in itself and any number of authors of inspirational self-help books could have written on the topic. Miller decided to live it though, and that makes the difference between A Million Miles and Blue Like Jazz. The result is an inspiring, convicting, and ultimately hope filled message delivered in Miller's trademark witty and honest fashion. It is a wonderful blend of Blue Like Jazz's self-deprecating humor and To Own A Dragon's serious message of growing up fatherless. Ultimately, it leaves the reader wanting to go out and live a better story, not for themselves, but for anyone who wants to join them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barnabas Piper

    It's really more like 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book a fair amount, and found portions of it both or found and beautiful. The portions between those portions was a little flat for me - not bad, just kind of empty. Still, a worthwhile read. It's really more like 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book a fair amount, and found portions of it both or found and beautiful. The portions between those portions was a little flat for me - not bad, just kind of empty. Still, a worthwhile read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is a like an unexpectedly good cheap wine that pairs well with life crisis, Ecclesiastes, and long late-night talks with friends (all of which are on my plate currently). It provides provides a common language to talk about big life decisions. Definitely the book I needed right now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Swinney

    Never finished. Couldn't be bothered. Never finished. Couldn't be bothered.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Calvin

    What happens when you write a book that gets filmmakers knocking on your door asking to turn your life into a movie? You get another book answering the question "has my life been a story worth telling?" I guess because I read this during 12-2020, like most people at the turn of each year, I'm presently mired by the reflections of the past and goals for the future; usual suspects being: "vacation to X was so short lived - where to this year" "insert hardest project at work brought so much career gr What happens when you write a book that gets filmmakers knocking on your door asking to turn your life into a movie? You get another book answering the question "has my life been a story worth telling?" I guess because I read this during 12-2020, like most people at the turn of each year, I'm presently mired by the reflections of the past and goals for the future; usual suspects being: "vacation to X was so short lived - where to this year" "insert hardest project at work brought so much career growth - what is the next project/promo" And yet the only time I'd attribute comfort to a year defined by pandemic and social unrest is finally having an excuse for my lack of stories to tell and trying to find anything to look forward to in the next 365 days. Similar to life in pandemic - Don's life was boring, and his pursuit for a meaningful story was inspirational and instructional. . . . the elements that made a story meaningful were the same that made a life meaningful. A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it is the basic structure of a good story. A long the way, we meet characters that illustrate the point. As an aside, my best friend does this thing where she imagines herself in stories she reads to interact with the side characters - experience life through the protagonist. I guess it's a little odd to think of the "side characters" in this book as "side characters"; they're people like the rest of us. Yet, as my best friend would, I met and learned from each one the author presented. Jason showed me the beauty of taking risks in creating a better story to invite others into - honestly a masterclass in parenting and mental jiu-jitsu. Uncle Art and Jim exhibited the beauty of tragedy. And the peek into the life of the lady at the gas station? Don't even get me started on Bob whose family occupies at least 10% of my highlights in this book, and I damn-near highlighted his whole chapter! But my favorite "character" surfaced through the author's own introspection: It hit me then that while I had spent my twenties daydreaming and avoiding the reality of crying children, this man I didn’t know had met a woman and started a real family with real children who were not literary inventions, but actual characters who cried in coffee shops. This sort of life once sounded boring to me. It was too real, too unromantic, I suppose. But there in Boston it occurred to me that his story was better than mine for the simple fact that his story was actually happening. He was doing real things with real people while I’d been typing words into a computer. . . . I wasn’t living any kind of sacrifice. My entire life had been designed to make myself more comfortable, to insulate myself from the interruption of my daydreams. I'm new to reading, and even newer still to reviewing books. But, I loved the self deprecating voice of the author. I sit at this desk with the framework of writing and motivation to look past the usual suspects. I want to live a better story. --- last quote, I promise Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller. Word of caution - he gets into his beliefs and theology, so his style might not be for everyone.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    [June 2017 book group selection] I had to push myself a bit to get through the first half of this book, but I really quite enjoyed the rest of it. Lots of little tidbits of wisdom. Although I don't think it's groundbreaking the way he talks about seeing your life as a story (pretty sure he's not the only one who's done that), it's interesting to think about how viewing your life that way can help you improve and give meaning to the way you live, as well as help pull you through the difficulties [June 2017 book group selection] I had to push myself a bit to get through the first half of this book, but I really quite enjoyed the rest of it. Lots of little tidbits of wisdom. Although I don't think it's groundbreaking the way he talks about seeing your life as a story (pretty sure he's not the only one who's done that), it's interesting to think about how viewing your life that way can help you improve and give meaning to the way you live, as well as help pull you through the difficulties you (and all of us) face. It has plenty of anecdotes about himself, but also includes stories of others: some that he knows and some that he's read about, watched on TV, etc. A few stories and quotes that I appreciated: "The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It's about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle." [While suffering through riding his bike across the country during the heat of the summer] "But in that place, I remembered about story, about how every conflict, no matter how hard, comes back to bless the protagonist if he will face his fate with courage. There is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing. And I smiled. I'm not saying I was happy, but for some reason I smiled. It hurts now, but I'll love this memory, I thought to myself. And I do." "If you think about it, an enormous amount of damage is created by the myth of utopia. There is an intrinsic feeling in nearly every person that your life could be perfect if you only had such-and-such a car or such-and-such a spouse or such-and-such a job. We believe we will be made whole by our accomplishments, our possessions, or our social status. It's written in the fabric of our DNA that life used to be beautiful and now it isn't, and if only this and if only that, it would be beautiful again." He goes on to talk about seeing a 60 Minutes program about how according to certain studies, Denmark is the happiest country in the world. After exploring why, it was determined that the main characteristic that makes Danes content is that they have low expectations. They look at life realistically and don't expect products to make them happy or relationships to solve all of their problems. Quite the contrast with the typical American, it seems. I really liked the story about his friend, Jim, whose wife died of cancer, and how the two of them had influenced so many people over the years that after the funeral there were over a hundred people who came back to the house to celebrate and remember with Jim. As Donald Miller is describing the scene of so many friends talking and laughing and spending time together, he says, "I wondered how much it costs to be rich in friends and how many years and stories and scenes it takes to make a rich life happen. You can't build an end scene as beautiful as this by sitting on a couch, I thought to myself. And I also knew that while this group had experienced a devastating loss, the ones who remained were richer still because of her passing, as though Janice left an emotional inheritance of stories that would continue to be told, stories that would be passed down to her children." One more story about a man named Wilson Bentley, who was the first person to photograph individual snowflakes and who proved there really are no two that are alike. I have a picture book about Bentley that describes some of the effort he went to in order to capture so many photographs of snowflakes - it's pretty remarkable. Donald Miller had read a book about Wilson Bentley that talked about an important life lesson learned from his efforts. Donald Miller describes it like this: "What amazed Bentley was the realization that each snowflake bore the scars of its journey. He discovered that each crystal is affected by the temperature of the sky, the altitude of the cloud from which it fell, the trajectory the wind took it as it fell to earth, and a thousand other factors." I love that imagery of our challenges and experiences shaping each of us into our own kind of beautiful creation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    Wow. Whatever I was expecting when I opened this book, it wasn't this. Donald Miller gets the opportunity to turn his book into a movie, but first, they must find the story. This project inspires him to embark on a journey to transform his real life into a beautiful story, and to take the risks and face the challenges and become the compelling character he wants to be. This books is beautifully written, thought provoking, and at the same time completely down to earth. One of my favorite sections Wow. Whatever I was expecting when I opened this book, it wasn't this. Donald Miller gets the opportunity to turn his book into a movie, but first, they must find the story. This project inspires him to embark on a journey to transform his real life into a beautiful story, and to take the risks and face the challenges and become the compelling character he wants to be. This books is beautifully written, thought provoking, and at the same time completely down to earth. One of my favorite sections was when Don talks about how God is our author, and if we let him guide our story to places of discomfort, He will turn our lives into amazing stories. It was such a beautiful illustration of turning our lives over to God, and seeing the beauty of trials and overcoming them. I loved every minute of reading this book and I already want to reread it! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    An average of a (low) 3 for general story structure & some lazy writing in the second half (sorry, yeepers) but a high 4 for the not-unique yet still poignant reminder that we are the authors of the stories into which we have been placed. Narrative included some clever humor and clean prose early on. Did I cry toward the end? Idk, probs. But my reaction was more likely a case of reading the right book at just the right time, rather than a testament to the emotional impact of the denouement. Deserv An average of a (low) 3 for general story structure & some lazy writing in the second half (sorry, yeepers) but a high 4 for the not-unique yet still poignant reminder that we are the authors of the stories into which we have been placed. Narrative included some clever humor and clean prose early on. Did I cry toward the end? Idk, probs. But my reaction was more likely a case of reading the right book at just the right time, rather than a testament to the emotional impact of the denouement. Deserves a second read. Early on I took a maddening number of inspiring notes. Contains a lot of good advice for writers re: character development and motivation. And a reminder that, even when we feel like we have nothing more to go on, it goes on.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Maybe my story is too cynical but this book was totally cheesy. Then I looked up author and saw the TED talk and yes, it’s really cheesy. Make a better story. Help people. Think less about the meaning of life. Be like a puppy, but also read man’s search for meaning. And go to Cusco.

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