The Four Agreements
This book will always remain my best book. Its simple, short but very useful. The book has been in the New York Times bestseller list for five years. I am not plugging for the book and am not giving an Amazon link here. If interested you can buy or borrow it from anywhere.

The four agreements that Don Miguel talks about are

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally (my fav.)

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

I like to say “assumption is the mother of all troubles” . Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Pic of Don Miguel Ruiz

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

How this book changed my life

  • I read this book in 2001 and since then it has helped me. I no longer imagine that people are being sarcastic or criticising behind my back. Even if they do, I don’t take it personally. Its insecurity within us that makes us put down other people. If we are comfortable with ourselves, we will not deride others. Show me a human who has not made a mistake, and I will wake you from your dream.
  • I no longer make assumptions. For e.g. don’t assume you can’t lose weight. The fun is in trying to lose weight – not after you lost it. If you assume you will fail, then you stop enjoying your existence.
  • If you feel like abusing someone, then hold your tongue. Use inside voices, but don’t say anything that you may regret later. The Disney movie Bambi is my all time favourite for in it is the dialogue where Bambi’s mother tells him “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Eleventh commandment, I say.

I very strongly recommend this book and The Alchemist as part of your collection.