Book Review: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

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In The Four Agreements, you will find the keys to breaking free from negative patterns and realizing your true self. For eight years, it was a New York Times best seller. 

In this book, the author explains how society tends to raise people to conform to a strict set of rules and how you can set your own guidelines for your life with a little effort and commitment.

You may still be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you everything about this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Key Insights

Lesson 1: Always tell the truth and keep your word.

The word “blameless” comes from the Latin word for “without sin.” It’s important to be careful with the words we use because they have the power to shape our thoughts and influence the beliefs of those around us.

Self-criticism and blaming can be harmful, as they can lead to punishing ourselves for things we perceive as flaws. Instead, it’s important to speak kindly to ourselves and recognize our own worth. This is especially true when it comes to our internal dialogue – the thoughts we have in our own heads.

One example of the power of language is the story of a mother and daughter. The mother, a pleasant woman, loves her daughter deeply. After a long day, the mother wants some peace and quiet, but her daughter is in a good mood and singing loudly. In a moment of frustration, the mother yells at her daughter, telling her she has a “stupid voice” and to be quiet. The daughter internalizes this criticism and starts to believe that her voice is unattractive and annoying. She stops singing and has trouble communicating with others.

This illustrates how our words can have a significant impact on ourselves and others. It’s important to be mindful of the language we use, and to avoid using it to hurt ourselves or others. Remember, the words we choose have the power to either liberate or captivate us.

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Lesson 2: Having confidence in yourself can help you avoid taking things personally.

Have you ever taken someone’s rudeness personally? It’s a common problem, but it’s important to remember that when someone is rude, it’s usually not about you. It’s about their own issues, beliefs, and values. Everyone has their own lens through which they see the world, and sometimes their perspective can lead them to say or do hurtful things.

It’s natural to feel hurt when someone is rude, but it’s important to remember that their words or actions are a reflection of them, not you. If you are confident in who you are, you won’t need validation from others and can safely disregard hurtful words.

It’s also important to address feelings of anger and fear when they arise, rather than internalizing them. It’s not your words or actions that are causing these emotions, but rather the consequences of the other person’s own choices.

Remember, everyone is an individual with their own thoughts and feelings. When someone is rude, it’s usually not about you personally. It’s about them and their own struggles.

Lesson 3: Ask questions instead of making assumptions.

Have you ever found yourself jumping to conclusions about a situation or a relationship based on a minor detail, such as someone neglecting to greet you? This is a prime example of how making assumptions can create complications. The problem with assumptions is that they frequently lack evidence to support them, yet we still treat them as truths. It’s crucial to recognize when you’re making assumptions and make an effort to steer clear of them.

Take, for instance, when you see someone grinning at you on the street. You might jump to the conclusion that they’re romantically interested in you. However, the reality could be that the person is simply being friendly or has a completely different reason for their smile.

Assumptions can also wreak havoc in relationships when we expect our partners to read our minds. We might want them to satisfy our desires without explicitly communicating them, and end up feeling disappointed when our unspoken expectations aren’t met. Likewise, overestimating our capabilities can lead to discouragement after a setback, when some clear communication might have easily resolved the issue.

Rather than relying on assumptions, it’s wiser to ask questions and maintain open lines of communication. If you’re concerned about a friend who didn’t greet you, try inquiring, “What’s wrong?” Posing questions can help fight against bias and enhance understanding. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as needed to gain a complete grasp of a situation, as it can prevent misunderstandings and improve relationships.

Lesson 4: Keep doing your best despite changing conditions.

Your best may differ from one day to the next, and will depend on a variety of factors. By giving your all, you can take pride in your achievements and eliminate any lingering regrets.

It’s helpful to acknowledge that your energy levels and performance may ebb and flow throughout the day. For instance, you might feel exhausted after a long day at work, while in the morning, you might be refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Recall the encouragement from parents and teachers who urged you to always do your best, and apply that mindset to every situation.

At the same time, it’s crucial to recognize your limits and avoid pushing yourself beyond your capacity. Overextending yourself can result in burnout and may ultimately hinder your progress. Conversely, if you don’t put in your best effort, you may experience self-doubt and be more inclined to give up.

Strive to excel for the sheer joy and satisfaction it brings, rather than viewing hard work as a burden. Take salary as an example. If your sole motivation is financial gain, you might not give your best at work. This mindset can lead to unfulfilling, stressful jobs for many people, who then resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive drinking or partying to unwind.

On the other hand, if you genuinely enjoy your work and commit to giving your all, you’ll likely see your efforts rewarded and your hard work becoming second nature. Moreover, your unwavering dedication to excellence can inspire and motivate those around you.

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1. A Simple Yet Profound Framework for Personal Growth

The Four Agreements outlines a simple framework consisting of four principles that can lead to personal growth and self-improvement. These agreements are:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

While they may sound simple, integrating these agreements into our lives can be challenging but ultimately rewarding. The framework offers a clear and straightforward path towards a more fulfilling and harmonious life.

2. A Path to Inner Freedom and Authenticity

The Four Agreements encourages readers to break free from societal expectations and to live life authentically. By following the agreements, we can let go of our fears and false beliefs, freeing ourselves from self-imposed limitations.

For example, by not taking anything personally, we can become more resilient in the face of criticism and less dependent on external validation. This can lead to a profound sense of inner freedom and authenticity, allowing us to live life true to ourselves.

3. A Catalyst for Reflection and Personal Change

The Four Agreements is a thought-provoking read that invites readers to question their own beliefs and assumptions. Many of the quotes in the book, such as “We only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.

We don’t perceive things the way that they are,” serve as powerful reminders to cultivate self-awareness and open-mindedness. Reading the book may not provide all the answers, but it serves as a catalyst for reflection and personal change, encouraging readers to take responsibility for their own lives and well-being.


1. Author’s Writing Style

The tone of The Four Agreements can come across as dictatorial and absolute, with the author often presenting his insights as the ultimate truth. This style may not resonate with all readers, as some may prefer a more open and exploratory approach to discussing spirituality and self-development. A more inclusive and humble tone could have made the book more accessible to a wider audience.

2. Lack of Practical Advice

While The Four Agreements presents important concepts, the book often lacks practical advice on how to implement these ideas in everyday life. Many of the concepts discussed, such as states of perfection and pure love, are abstract and can be difficult to grasp.

The book would have benefited from more real-life examples and concrete strategies to help readers apply the principles in their own lives. Without practical guidance, readers may struggle to connect with the book’s theories and find it challenging to enact the suggested changes.

3. Use of Unrelatable Stories and Superficial Language

Some of the stories and examples provided in The Four Agreements are unrelatable or overly simplistic, making it difficult for readers to connect with the author’s points. Furthermore, the use of terms such as “black magic,” “spell,” and “parasite” may come across as superficial and detract from the book’s credibility.

A more relatable and grounded approach to storytelling, as well as a more thoughtful choice of language, would have made the book’s message more appealing and accessible.


The Four Agreements is a great book I’d like to recommend to anyone who is interested in personal growth. If you spend some time digesting the ideas, it might make a positive impact on your life.

Society imposes norms on us from birth, hindering our ability to develop our unique identity. However, the Four Agreements, rooted in ancient Toltec wisdom, can replace these societal rules and free us from their constraints.

Many of us are weighed down by numerous agreements we’ve unwittingly made throughout our lives, but it’s never too late to break free from these constraints.

As illustrated in the book, even something as simple as challenging the belief that you cannot sing can be a small step towards breaking these limiting agreements.

While the book may have its drawbacks, its core message remains powerful and inspiring, encouraging us all to break free from societal expectations and live our lives according to our own unique truths.

About The Author

Don Miguel Ruiz is a best-selling Mexican author who specializes in Toltec and neoshamanistic teachings. He lives in Mexico City. 

The author demonstrates how we can all gain spiritual enlightenment through the application of ancient principles to current living. 

In 2018, Watkins named him as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People, according to his website. A near-death experience led him to decide to become a shaman rather than pursue a surgical career as he had planned.

Buy The Book: The Four Agreements

If you want to buy the book The Four Agreements, you can get it from the following links:

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