Friday, September 23, 2011

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

I finally got around to reading this book, after hearing so much about it (mostly good) for a long, long time. Make that "attempted" to read this book. After the first couple of chapters, I just couldn't waste any more time with it.

You guessed it.... just plain BAD!

I had heard about Dan Millman's story and his chance meeting with the mysterious and wise man: "Socrates" several times. I had been under the impression until I began reading the book itself (and not just snippets of reviews etc) that this was a completely authentic life story. It is not.

In Millman's own words from the preface of the book: "This story is based on my adventure, but it is a novel. The man I called Socrates did, in fact exist. Yet he had a way of blending into the world, so it's been difficult at times to tell where he left off and other teachers and life experiences began. I have taken liberties with the dialogue and some time sequences and have sprinkled anecdotes and metaphors into the story to highlight the lessons Socrates would want me to convey."

Ummm...already the alarm bells were going off for me.

Yes, it's fine to write a novel. But is it still ok if that novel is based almost completely around the author's interactions and conversations with a main character who actually lived? Where does reality fade and the fantasy begin? Make up your mind Dan Millman!

The credibility issues were already there for me. Add to that, Millman's own life story (the undisputed real one!) struggling for years to make ends meet. Dead end jobs that left him financially strapped and looking for ways to improve his lot in life.

Presto: the Peaceful Warrior has certainly done that for him and then some. Millman has gone on to write a number of follow-up books too including a companion edition to the Peaceful Warrior. Seems this whole magical experience of interacting with his buddy Socrates has paid off very well indeed. No more struggling! And as far as his writing abilities, this is written at about a pre-teen level. It's choppy, amateurish and pretentious. No....make that grade-school level. Especially for fairy tale lovers.

Here's a (oh so candid) review of this book, from Amazon:

 Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives (Paperback):

Way of the Peaceful Warrior changed me. It transformed me into a being who will never trust the title of a book again. The degree pseudo-intellectualism and ridiculous insight within the pages of this book are only surpassed by the one-dimensionalness of the characters. I was forced by an employer to read this book and it only took a glance at the cover art and quick scan of the blurb to blow the top off of my lame-o-meter. The "sage" is a rude mystic who seems to hide every nugget of insight within a crusty coating of belittling insults. The progagonist is a somewhat dense, however sexually satisfied jock, who undergoes supernatural experiences vaguely reminiscent of peyote induced spirit quests. The entire time I read this story, I felt like I was listening to the ramblings of a person who has been brainwashed by a cult. If I were less opinionated, I would say that this book is not for me. Because I AM so opinionated, I'd say this book is not for anyone. If you haven't bought it, don't. If you have already purchased it, you could use it as a coaster. Aaron Boyd.

Aaron...I gather this book won't be on your Christmas gift-giving list either?

There are all sorts of fans of this book over at Amazon but also a lot of people who thought it was just another "get rich quick" venture for the author as I unfortunately have to agree with. I had high expectations for this book. It's sad that they were dashed before I got very far reading it. Definitely NOT what I hoped for or expected.

Overall rating for this book: BAD. 0 out of 5.


  1. I appreciate this review very much 'cause the title and the image might have made me interested, so thanks sugard, God Knows Ihave no money lol

    1. this man writing this review is a straight up fool! it is not about whether it is real or not. that is not the point of the book. figure it out for yourself. do not let someone decide for you. this book is very enlightening, and it is meant to be is an eye opener, the beginning to things that are much more important life. read it for yourself. do not let any person's experiences influence or dictate what you do!

    2. This book is not for you to believe in something, but to REALISE the message it contains. The author said himself it's a novel, but this novel (as well as many others) contains REAL message. And if you understand the book, you'll see that some things in it really Don't Matter.

  2. Geraldine,
    I hadn't heard of this book, and it does look interesting. I gather some employers are wanting their employees to read it, as an educational tool, possibly.

    Following reading your review, I'm not likely to read it, it doesn't sound very well written.

    I do want to comment about what you say about fiction, and using actual historical people. I think this is very common - a woman named Annabel Lyons, wrote a book, "The Golden Mean", around the character of Aristotle. I think it was awarded the Giller, or GG award a couple of years ago.

    Shakespeare based many of his plays on historical figures - both from ancient history, and his contemporaries, such as King Henry VII.

    Perhaps your concern has more to do with the quality, (or lack of quality), of this man's writing.

    In fiction just about anything goes, it is common for authors to change actual facts, to fit in with the story they find themselves putting down on paper.

    Wishing you a good weekend,

  3. Hi Lorraine, I hear ya L! The 649 is always a possibility LOL. I'll share if you do. Then we can both buy oodles of books. Thank goodness for libraries.

    Hi Brenda,Yes, I realise that the line between truth and fiction can blur in any book. That's not my concern with this book. It was the impression I had before reading it that it was in fact a true story and experience of the author. I could have lived with that and perhaps enjoyed the book if it wasn't written at such a juvenile level. Then again, a lot of people loved it and had no problem with the author's "style" of writing or the story itself. You may like it. It's a book that I had heard so much about and I thought it would be great read. In my opinion, it was anything but.

    Happy Reading, G :<)

  4. I'm not going to read this one either. Sounds like a stinker.

  5. Hi, Geraldine,
    Well, I think I won't read this, I've come to trust your reviews here, as right on tne mark.

    I agree that if the book was put out as a non-fiction book, then it is misleading that he would blur the line between fact and fiction. I'm thinking of that book by James Frey(I think), that was an "Oprah book", and turned out to be fabricated. I know someone who had loved the book, but was saddened to learn he'd misled the reader.

    Although in this case, being about an ancient Greek historical person, and the author's "relationship", so to speak with Socrates - the reader has to assume that it is fictional.

    Somehow it just doesn't appeal to me.

    All the best,

  6. I have heard of this author but could not remember why so I looked up his books, and I still don't know why . Now that I have read your review I don't have to even think about his books. Your reviews are aways so helpful. Thanks.

  7. Hi Joe, In a nutshell, yes I'd have to agree.

    Hi Brenda, I didn't actually say that this was published as a non-fiction book, it wasn't. But my impressions after reading about the book and some of the reviews was that it was a true story. I don't want to give the impression that the author misled anyone. It's hard to explain more than I have in the review above. I guess it's all down to what rings true for the reader. And as I said in my previous comment, you might like this book. These are just my personal observations. A lot of people do like Millman's books.

    Hi Teri, made my day Teri, thank you! And I appreciate your book suggestions too. Keep them coming!

    Happy Week, G :<)

  8. I want good writing, which your review suggests it was not. So thanks for saving me the time.

  9. huh!?! And out of the 81% of the 3-5 star reviews (265 out of 326) in, you choose one of the 19 1-star review to support your claim of its "badness". Hmm, interesting...

    Indeed, you are really making us "well-informed". Indeed!!!

    1. exactly! well placed point.

  10. Hi SandyC, So many books to read and so little time. I don't waste mine on poorly written or boring books, sites...anymore. I know you are an avid reader too. I'm glad you found my review helpful.

    Hi Anonymous, Thanks for your comment. My review, my opinion; we're all entitled to that. If you liked this book, that's fine. I personally did not.

    Happy Week, G

  11. Amazing what type of influence a bad review like this one has on people. Guys, if you want to base your read on reviews, go and check on places like Amazon, with multiple reviews. I have read this book, and I believe it's awesome (not so much the movie). Do you guys know that it sold over a million copies just by word of mouth? Get a second opinion and don't just go by someone who did not even read the book.

  12. Dan I think you would be valuable in our group and you would find our group valuable for yourself. Your film touches only the surface, but it is extremely useful for the people who haven't 'woken up yet' and whose ego let them live in the past or the future. I leave you the name to search for as I don’t want to leave you my link. It is up to you. Should you join us, I will contact you one day with a proposal to be your friend. Look at ‘A Bug Free Mind’.

  13. Maybe the reason some people don't like the book is because it is not for them. This book is more for people who are trying to further their enlightenment and spirituality. Plus there is good and bad in everything. Also, do not just pick one review from a site with many. Especially since there were many mixed reviews for this book on the SAME site. Some good, some bad. It is your responsibility, as the reviewer, to show both sides of the book not just one.

  14. This book is not for everyone.It will appeal to you at a certain stage in your life.The fiction or non-fiction part is irrelevant, its the philosophy. If you really are in need of motivation the book really will serve you as a guide to get back.Its simple philosophy of living for the moment.If you are looking for a story no this is not for you. If you are looking for a look at your life this is a damn good book


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