Book Notes – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years Notes

A friend of mine lent A Million Miles in a Thousand Years to me a few weeks ago, and to be honest I didn't think much of it at the time. Donald Miller is the author. He came to fame with Blue Like Jazz, a semi-religious memoir. He only writes memoirs.

Regardless, I take book recommendations from good friends seriously, so I cracked into the book. And for some reason, I was hooked. It's not a book that I would picture myself enjoying, but I sailed through easily over a weekend.

It's an enjoyable read if only for the prose, but I took a few awesome lessons out that serve as a new lens (or mental model) for how I look at the world.‚Äč

What Is The Main Point Of This Book?

Donald Miller is a writer, a storyteller. His biggest point in the entire book is that too many of us aren't living good stories. If we were characters in our own book, most of us wouldn't even care to read to the end of it (to say nothing of others wanting to read our stories). He believes that we all need to figure out how to live better stories, and relates his journey of how he came to do exactly that.

What Does This Book Share That Similar Books Do Not?

All of the lessons are framed through Miller's own life, a midlife crisis-esque tale. He's writing a movie about his life when his co-writers and him realize that Donald in the movie needs to be much more interesting than the real life Donald, because the real life Donald is...boring. He doesn't go for what he wants, he lives a small life. This realization puts Miller on a new path.

Who Should Read This Book?

If you've ever dealt with depression, felt stagnant, or wondered why some people seem to live better stories than others, this book is for you. Miller is that exact person and overcomes every challenge in his own way, which is very illustrative for others (myself included).

Who Should NOT Read This Book?

If you're already living an epic and interesting life, where you go after what you want and throw yourself into stories and memories with reckless abandon, this book isn't for you. If you don't want to read about someone who struggled with depression and  is quite religious, this book also isn't for you.

Note: I'm not religious, but I didn't find his religious language too bothersome‚Äč

What Skills Will This Book Help You Develop?

The book doesn't help you develop skills per se, but through the framework of story, you'll learn what propels the characters in a book or movie forward. You can use that framework as a way to put yourself into more interesting stories in your own life, or just as an interesting way to look at your life trajectory.

What Part Of The Book Was Most Illustrative Or Memorable?

Miller's realization that characters do not cho0se to advance or change, that the must be forced into change was insightful. He did this in his own life by committing to an active hiking journey to Peru while out of shape simply because he thought a woman was hot. It was the stakes he needed to commit to living a different story in his life.

If You Only Have 10 Minutes, Which Part Should You Read?

There are a few great stories about biking across America and committing to Machu Picchu (because a girl wanted to go) that were fun reads.