Saturday, June 19, 2010

Write a Good Story

I just finished reading Donald Miller's new book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and I have to say it is one of the most thought provoking books I've read in a long time.   I just keep thinking about the ideas in the book and I've already told several about it.   I have to speak at a symposium in a few weeks and I've already decided that I'm going to talk about the book there too.  Recall that Miller wrote Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What.

The story is about Miller having to write the story of his own life and in the process, he is forced to think about what is a good story and what makes a great life.   He  realizes that most people live boring lives that aren't very interesting.   We spend our time in front of the television watching re-runs and after a lifetime, we find we've spent a lifetime in front of the tv instead of out 'living.'  Image at the end of your life your top accomplishment having been to not miss a single episode of Lost.

I recalled a quote from Eugene Peterson and Run With the Horses that was in a church bulletin that I cut out years ago:
The puzzle is why so many people live so badly.   Not so wickedly but so inanely.  Not so cruelly but so stupidly.  There's little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture.  We have celebrities but not saints.  Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insominaiacs.  Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists.   Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators.  Aimless and bored, people amuse themselves with trivia and trash.  Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets the headlines.
The message is that we get to write our own story.  We can choose to help those around us, go on an adventure, learn a new language, get to know those around us (neighbors?) and make a difference in this world.  We are the authors of what we do in this world.   Don't waste it.  Write a good story.

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is about this too and Miller ties his thoughts to that book too.  There is a great, one-line summary of Ecclesiastes in Miller's book.

I heartily recommend this one.   I liked it so much I might go back and re-read his other books.

Write a good story.


  1. You convinced me to read it! Thanks for the recommendation. If you ever read non-business books, I could recommend The Reluctant Tuscan - funny non-fiction of how an American couple bought a 300 yr old farmhouse in Tuscany when the wife decided to "save" her husband from his stressful Hollywood job.

  2. Robin, thanks for stopping by. I'll take a look at the book you recommended. Also, I stopped by your blog and I'll be following. Thanks!