Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery

Title:  The Fifth Agreement:  A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery
Author:  Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz
Publication Information:  Amber-Allen Publishing. 2011. 248 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book because of an interest in the genre and because it is a follow up on an older book I had read.

Favorite Quote:  "People live in their own world, in their own movie, in their own story, and that story is truth for them, but it's a relative truth, because it's not truth for you. Now you can see that all their opinions about you really concern the character who lives in their movie, not in yours. The one who they are judging in your name is a character they create. Whatever people think of you is really about the image they have of you, and that image isn't you."

The Fifth Agreement is a follow up on the book The Four Agreements written in 1997. Both books are meant to be life guides based on Toltec philosophies that originated in Mexico. This book reiterates the four agreements - be impeccable in your word, don't take anything personally, don't make assumptions, and always do your best. The book elaborates on each of them and introduces a fifth that according to the author "wasn't included in my first book because the first four agreements were enough of a challenge at that time." That agreement is to be skeptical but ready to listen.

As is the case in books of this genre, the base ideas are simple and understandable. Implementation of them is quite another matter, and that is where the book and many like it falls short. It presents the ideas but without the practical suggestions as to how to implement them.

As a framework, I agree with many of the ideas and principles in the book. It seems like it should be accompanied by a "how to" guide, or perhaps my need for that is a statement to where I am on my own spiritual journey. I do know, however, that certain descriptions and imagery like the quote above do stand out and will stay with me for a long time.

As with many books in this genre, I will take what benefits me from it and leave the rest.


  1. This looks very interesting. I sent a sample of the first book to my ipad. I may give it a whirl tonight.

  2. I read the first book several years ago as a book club read. This time around, the ideas appealed to me much more so than the first time. I would love to know what you think.