Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz. It's a short and simple book about four rules of life which you can use anywhere.

1. Be impeccable with your word. You can read this as "don't swear", but it's not about that. It is about the constant and continuing things we say to ourselves that make us feel bad. We don't even know we do this. And it's not about big things, it's about the thousands of small reprimands we give ourselves that hold us back living our life.

2. Don't take anything personally. When someone else says something to you, good or bad, it shows how they feel. What they say is about them, what they think is important, what is relevant for them. It's not about you. This doesn't mean that you can ignore it, but it shines another light on things other people say about you, or about others to you. This applies to "good things" as well. If someone gives you a compliment, it tells something about them. And of course it works as well for the things you say or do - they tell something about you.

3. Don't make assumptions. Don't think you know what other people think, or that you know why they do the things they do.

4. Do your best. You can't always live your life following rules. Do your best, and if you break a rule, bad luck, next time better! That means that you can forgive yourself. And it means that you should not give up after a big fuck up. Or a small fuck up, or many fuck ups. You can start over again at any moment.

The book is much better at explaining. It's about 60 pages, worth the effort.

I've only read it in a hurry but it had some rather odd bits

For example, re 1. :

> Every human is a magician, and we can either put a spell on someone with our word or we can release someone from a spell. We cast spells all the time with our opinions. An example: I see a friend and give him an opinion that just popped into my mind. I say, "Hmmm! I see that kind of color in your face in people who are going to get cancer." If he listens to the word, and if he agrees, he will have cancer in less than one year. That is the power of the word.

The Four Agreements is one of my favorite books, so I was glad to see it already listed, but yeah it does have some nonsense mixed into it as you have pointed out. With that said, the fundamentals are very sound, and for some reason the way the book talks about it makes it all click nicely in my mind even though the fundamental advice is all "common sense".

Well, don't take it too literally I think. It's not magic which he talks about. The introduction about the Toltecs is similar.

The example he gives here is very simple and direct with cause and effect. It's too simple, but shows the principle. That's what this is about.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact