Read a million miles in a thousand years what i learned while editing my life by Donald Miller Online


After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller's life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility,After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller's life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years chronicles Miller's rare opportunity to edit his life into a great story, to reinvent himself so nobody shrugs their shoulders when the credits roll. Through heart-wrenching honesty and hilarious self-inspection, Donald Miller takes readers through the life that emerges when it turns from boring reality into meaningful narrative. Miller goes from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to fearful encounters with love, from wasting his money to founding a nonprofit with a passionate cause. Guided by a host of outlandish but very real characters, Miller shows us how to get a second chance at life the first time around. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a rare celebration of the beauty of life....

Title : a million miles in a thousand years what i learned while editing my life
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ISBN : 8139407
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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a million miles in a thousand years what i learned while editing my life Reviews

  • Denise
    2018-11-18 07:14

    I adore Donald Miller for his self-deprecating humor and poeticinsights. However, reading him a few years after my initialinfatuation (I seriously thought I had a chance with him when he posedfor a picture with me at a book signing), I find myself unsettled with his conclusions mostly because they are fluff. I want to commend his resurrection of the concept of our lives as stories. I think many youth today need to hear that. But the bulk of what he writes is Oprah-esque admonitions to serve others. Preaching social ethics is fine, but not sufficient for a book on life as story. A metaphor of C.S. Lewis' describes three philosophical questions as three instructions to a fleet of ships. For the ships to know how to stay shipshape and avoid sinking would illustrate individual ethics. Social ethics includes how to avoid bumping into each other. But most importantly, the question most modern philosophers never touch is the summum bonum, the greatest good: where is the fleet of ships heading?Some say that service is the highest good. Peter Kreeft, in "Three Philosophies of Life" comments from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible that it is not sufficient:"If you do not know what the meaning of life is, how can you find it by leading others to it? We all know what happens when the blind lead the blind: both fall into the pit. It is all very well to prefer altruism to egotism, to work for the good of others, but what is the good of others? Once I find the summum bonum, it must be shared, yes, but I cannot share it before I find it."Don Miller seems to confuse social ethics with the summum bonum and maybe that can be forgiven, because he is not a philosopher. But I will not praise him for it.

  • Scott Welch
    2018-10-22 11:01

    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...

  • Daniel
    2018-10-26 03:56

    This is a Don Miller book. Hence,-Charming anecdotes from his lifeDon 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 witDon 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 sections254 pages, 36 sections, wide line spacing.-Ideas-clash-with-reality / reality-teaches-lessons experienceStory 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 admiresBob Goff, Steve Taylor, Robert McKee.-Theological educationGod is the ultimate storyteller. Applying story framework to the way we view the world is right perception.

  • C.G.
    2018-10-31 04:59

    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.

  • Karen L.
    2018-11-15 05:52

    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?

  • girl writing
    2018-10-30 09:13

    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!

  • Kevin Schneider
    2018-10-21 12:11

    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."

  • Crystal
    2018-10-19 08:58

    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.

  • Christine
    2018-11-05 07:14

    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

  • Bryon
    2018-11-04 10:14

    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.

  • Paul Angone
    2018-10-28 06:55

    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.OrB. 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?”

  • KrisTina
    2018-10-23 11:02

    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.

  • Ben Zajdel
    2018-11-10 12:00

    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.

  • Willie Krischke
    2018-10-21 11:08

    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.

  • Brian Eshleman
    2018-11-05 11:56

    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.

  • Barnabas Piper
    2018-11-03 10:48

    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.

  • Heidi
    2018-10-30 10:50

    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".

  • Camille
    2018-11-11 10:06

    [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.

  • Michael
    2018-11-06 04:10

    I can't quite recall how I first heard about the books of Donald Miller--whether it was through a friend or a web site recommendation. However, I do know that I read his book, "Searching for God Knows What" before the book for which he is best-known, "Blue Like Jazz." And while I like "Jazz" a great deal, it's always been "Searching" that has stuck with me and been my favorite book that Miller has written.Until now."A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" may have replaced "Searching" as my favorite book by Miller. It's certainly jumped up to the top of my list for one of the best books I've read all year. "Million Miles" begins with Miller sitting down with two other guys to write a screenplay based on one his best-selling memoirs. In the course of writing, Miller realizes that he wishes his life could tell a better story and begins a journey into discovering how to do that. He learns about the elements of what makes up a story and relates those to his daily life and his response to God. Miller utilizes a conversational style to his books so it feels less like you're reading words on a page and more like you're sitting across from him, sharing a beverage or meal and talking about things. Miller's books is one that will challenge, that will tug at your emotions and one that get you to make a serious evaluation of where you are in your life. It made me sit back and ask how I was telling my story and examine the vital scenes within my own life, wondering if I'm truly living the story I want to live and the one that I should be living.Miller does this by bringing in examples from his own life. At several points, Miller talks about how writing can be hard for him, but it never seems that way reading his work. He peppers in stories, giving us the details of the story as needed to make his points. He weaves together a tapestry of stories, showing how one decision led to another and those went into a completely and totally unanticipated direction. For example, Miller decides to go hiking in South America to impress and spend time with a girl, which leads to his decision to get in better shape and leads to his meeting with the father he never really knew. It's a series of events that you'd have a hard time putting together in fictional novel, but told in the context of Miller's life and journey, it's a fascinating look at the points he's trying to make and challenge of making sure the story we're telling is the right one.As always, Miller's book is a fascinating, compelling and interesting one. Yes, we did have to wait a bit longer than usual for this release, but it was completely worth it. If you're looking for a book that will offer you wit, wisdom and a challenge for your life, this is one to put at the top of your list.

  • Heather
    2018-10-30 08:00

    This month, I read my first-ever Donald Miller book. Donald Miller is best known for Blue Like Jazz. His new release is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. The book describes how Miller discovers what makes a good story while co-writing a script based on his popular book, Blue Like Jazz. Miller is transformed by the realization he could live a "better story." As he begins to make changes in his life, he encounters pain, joy, and a sense of purpose.Miller's writing style is conversational. He is random, funny, deep and authentic as he tells his story and as he reflects on the stories of others he has encountered along the way. I felt like he was someone worth listening to because he seemed down-to-earth and easy for me to relate to. His book delivers a message of hope--that everyday people can find meaning in life. As a Christian, Miller does not promise that living a better story will be all sunshine and roses; instead, it can be downright messy and painful at times. This I can wholeheartedly attest to. In our adoption journey to our son, one of our most painful moments was waiting to return to Russia to finalize the adoption. It hurt to wait almost 5 months before we could see him again. It hurt that it was out of our control. Was that pain (and other difficulties of the adoption process) worth it? You bet it was! But we kept going on because we felt called to become parents through adopting from Russia. The risks and pain brought meaning to our every day life...My husband and I found ourselves part of a greater story and are smack dab in a more exciting, meaningful adventure than if we had chose to play it safe when God called us to adopt back in 2007.Regardless of where you are in your life or your personal beliefs, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years will entertain you and possibly even inspire you to turn the TV off and get out and live your life with passion.

  • John
    2018-10-30 09:12

    "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.

  • Julie
    2018-11-14 10:03

    In the book, Miller discusses his experience editing his life to be made into a screenplay. Throughout the process, he learns more about what makes a meaningful story and realizes his life is comfortable and easy, but not the story he wants it to be. One of his primary realizations was that life involves character transformation — it’s not about achieving a certain goal or reaching certain socially agreed upon milestones like graduating, marrying, and reproducing. Instead, it’s about how the experiences you go through and the stories you set up for yourself (because we do, to an extent, set up our own stories or avoid doing so) change who you are.Miller discusses how stories have an inciting incident, something that begins the rising action and conflicts of the plot. He refers to this incident as a door that, once you pass through, the story is set in motion and there’s no going back. The story is inevitably less comfortable than not living the story, but it also confers rewards and growth beyond a life of comfort. Miller talks of adding characters and goals to your story, and about how the most unusual — and even the most difficult — experiences are the ones that make life meaningful, not the vanilla days where things have been comfortable.All in all, the book felt like such a timely read. It’s empowering to read about the ways in which we can decide to create our stories. I also just appreciated Miller’s voice — this isn’t a bubblegum Christian read churned out by the religious industry (I’m a committed Christian and though I love some Bible studies and such that that industry puts out, I’m disillusioned by the machine as a whole.) His faith is clear and devoted even as he talks about sharing a glass of bourbon with friends. There’s no pretense, no legalism disguised as spirituality. I so appreciated that.This was a very valuable book for me.

  • Holly
    2018-10-28 11:01

    I went into this not knowing what to expect. I haven't read any of Miller's other books; several of my friends think of him very highly, and I was really introduced to him (theoretically, not actually) because one of my friends works closely with him professionally. So, when I heard he had a new memoir, I figured I would give it a try, and was generously gifted a copy of this book by said friend.I came away from it with mixed feelings. It's a good quick read, although I can see reading it slowly, over time, a chapter or a few pages at a time. No doubt this would lead to different revelations than mine. It's fairly light, full of reflections and thoughts and centering around the idea of crafting your life out of great stories. It's an inspiring message. It doesn't seek to be a self-help book or to tell you the steps to take; rather, it offers examples of people who have crafted these stories, and explains a bit of Miller's own attempts to do so in his life.I knew that Miller was a Christian so I wasn't surprised to see many references to the Bible, Jesus, and his resulting philosophy of life. Personally, I took much more away from the anecdotes and personal reflection than the links to scripture, but then again, I don't share that particular worldview, so this isn't too surprising.I'm intrigued enough that I'd give another look at Miller's other work. He writes in an engaging way, and has some good things to say. This won't make my "favorite books of 2011" shelf, but it's given me some things to reflect on and I'm glad I read it.

  • Gabriella Gill
    2018-10-28 03:50

    10 out of 5 stars.I first heard about this book three years ago at a Christian camp, and I started reading it as soon as I got home, and I didn't stop. Miller had me hooked at the opening lines of the author's note. Miller is the kind of guy that I believe that almost anyone can relate to. It isn't until you read his book that you see just how much you've taken your life for granted, and at 15 years old, it completely changed the way that I saw everything. This book, besides the bible, is the non-fiction book that I live by.Warning: You'll start craving adventure, getting up earlier, and being more adventurous in general when you've finished this book- or at least you will if you're me. I re-read it at least three times a year, and it's just as fresh and relevant each time I re-read it. I can't praise Don Miller enough. The only thing that I might add that I didn't like was the actual movie that came of this book- the one that is discussed throughout the whole book, but, as they say, "Life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey." And while Miller's destination (the realization of the "Blue Like Jazz" film was less than satisfying, the journey was one that cannot be passed up.

  • Steven
    2018-10-26 09:11

    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.

  • Amie
    2018-10-23 07:05

    5 stars for the point of the book, but I had to knock off a star for some ramblings and oddly interjected anecdotes. However, it was a great book to make you think about what you can do when you feel like your life has stalled. I appreciated that it wasn't you typical self-help "life is AMAZING" kind of book. I guess it was a little like that, but not in the kind of forced enthusiasm that seems typical. I also enjoyed that he acknowledged that some stories are slower paced than others. At this point in my life I'm not in a place where I can bike across the country, but that doesn't mean I can't have a good story. And, as I looked at my 6 week old baby (who I was feeding during a good portion of my reading time in this book) it made me excited for the story his life will be, and made me want to start him off with good stories.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-05 06:51

    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.

  • Holly Broadbent
    2018-10-27 04:00

    a must-read. i wasn't really sure where he was going with this at first and wasn't really excited about finishing but then he hits you with his "inciting incident". What a great, inspirational story. I guess I need to amp up my story now! Plus, he's from Portland :)

  • Danica Holdaway
    2018-11-15 03:47

    This book recharged my batteries and got me to take a look at my life and what I want. We DO have the opportunity to "edit" or rewrite our lives at any given point, and what a gift that is!

  • Lj
    2018-11-18 04:00

    I save my five star ratings for books I'll read again. My copy is marked up and will be read it again and again. I loved it.