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Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  43,363 Ratings  ·  1,634 Reviews
In the cloud-washed airspace between the cornfields of Illinois and blue infinity, a man puts his faith in the propeller of his biplane. For disillusioned writer and itinerant barnstormer Richard Bach, belief is as real as a full tank of gas and sparks firing in the cylinders...until he meets Donald Shimoda--former mechanic and self-described messiah who can make wrenches ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 1st 1979 by Dell (NY) (first published 1977)
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Mar 03, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe this book moved me more than any other before or since. Not because the writing was so great but the thoughts contained in it were so close to what I was feeling as a 19 year old away from home and on my own for the first time. I still believe the ideas contained here are timeless and profound. The fact that the author kind of went a bit off the deep end does not bother me (although it did for a while!)

I remember that some factions of the Christian right were outraged that the book ref
Feb 20, 2012 Dickie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Bach, inspirational books, toaism, ect...
Recommended to Dickie by: the girl who liked anchoives and olives - Liz.
This book changed my life. Over and over again. That is the simplest way to put it. One day a girl came into the pizza parlor I was working at and I commented on her tramp stamp. (It was as always, an attempt to get her to lower the jeans) - It was a blue feather tattoo. I asked what it represented and she told me it was the feather from the cover of a book, called "Illusions", and it had changed her life.
She brought the book into me as promised a couple days later with a four leaf clover as
Jul 05, 2007 Sfdreams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone--especially those on a spiritual path
Shelves: reviewed
I LOVED this book!! I read it over and over and have given copies to several people.

The book starts off with a "handwritten" and smudged story, written like books in the Bible, by a auto mechanic who discovered the Divine in himself and was followed by throngs of people,who called him a messiah, until he had to disappear.

Then the "real" book begins: A young man flys around the country in his airplane, supporting himself by selling flights in his plane. One fateful day, he meets a strange individ
Apr 19, 2016 Kamran rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
پندار را با اغماض بسیار هم نمی توان یک اثر داستانی دانست، مگر آنکه بتوانیم به اثری بدون پیرنگ صفت داستانی را نسبت دهیم. کتاب از مجموعه ای جملات مثبت و چند اصل پیش پا افتاده ی روانشناسی در قالب بسیار ضعیف یک داستان شکل گرفته است. پندار دو شخصیت اصلی دارد: ریچارد (راوی) و دونالد، اما دریغ از ذره ای شخصیت پردازی. به نظر می رسد نویسنده با این پیشفرض دست به قلم برده که مخاطب ، پیشتر با خواندن کتابهای دیگر با شخصیت و افکار ریچارد آشنا شده. درونمایه ی داستان را این اصل تشکیل می دهد که همه چیز در دنیا ( ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Shakirah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard about the book on Esther & Jerry Hicks Video. After reading the reviews here on Goodreads I decided to make the 10 odd minute trip to Kinokuniya to grab a copy. I never regretted it. A book which carries the message of how we mould our own future, our own life, our own outcomes in a very engaging way. I finished this wonderful book in 4 hours or so. If you need anything to lift your spirits when you are feeling down, or restore your faith in the Law of Attraction, this is one of the ...more
Steve Merrick
Jul 20, 2011 Steve Merrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Here is a test to find whether your mission to Earth is finished; If your alive it isn't."
Why write of the book when it could be more fun to explain the reactions of several other people who have read this one. Before I say anything else I feel it needs a health warning. The symptoms that I have witnessed as people read this book include, delusional psychosis, fantasising in public, maniac attempts at cloud bursting and one very very bruised nose. (A result of a grown man trying to swim in the
Apr 11, 2010 Madeline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: um, fans of Johnothan Livingston Seagull
Recommended to Madeline by: its pricetag
um... probably the nicest thing to say about this book would be... a dumb mans "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

anyway, i saw this book at a garage sale for 25cents... that made me pick it up. what made me *buy* it was this introduction

"I do not enjoy writing at all. If I can turn my back on an idea, out there in the dark, if I can avoid opening the door to it, I won't even reach for a pencil. But once in a while there's a great dynamite-burst of fling glass and brick and splinters thr
Rajat Ubhaykar
I call anything sounding grand and oh-so-awesome but actually meaning squat a Richard Bach quote. Illusions, to summarize, is a compendium of such quotes.

However, I gave the book two stars only because it is consistent with the philosophy it preaches. The idea that the book is saying anything of consequence is an illusion and you are the one attaching any reality and importance to it.

The book might have had some 'message', but I was too busy smell-proofing my mind from all the shit flying aroun
Errin Davenport
Jan 05, 2014 Errin Davenport rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book! I have read it several times and with each reading I discovered a little part of myself, and remembered those times of miracles I had forgotten.
Jan 28, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story.
I love taking responsibility for my own life and outcome.
I love doing what I want to do, and leaving others free to do what they want.
I loved the analogy about all the creatures clinging to the sticks and rocks in the river, but one was tired of clinging and let go to follow the path the river led it down.
I loved the point that freedom is watching "your own films" not someone else's films, and the introspection that resulted when I pondered the films I actually like and wh
Farnoosh Farahbakht
در حال خوندن کتاب یه اتفاق جالب و عجیب برام افتاد!
سر کار با یکی از همکارام در مورد مفهموم خانواده بحث می کردیم.به طور اتفاقی کتاب رو که تازه شروع کرده بودم و فقط چند صفحه اولش رو خونده بودم از رو میز کارم برداشتم و این جمله که با فونت درشت نوشته شده بود نظرم و جلب کرد : "حلقه ای که خانواده ی حقیقی تو را به هم متصل می کند، همخونی نیست بلکه احترام و خوشحالی است که نسبت به زندگی یکدیگر دارید.بندرت اعضای یک خانواده در زیر یک سقف با هم بزرگ می شوند."
تعجبم وقتی خیلی بیشتر شد که شب در ادامه کتاب خوندم
Jun 24, 2016 Zeynep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Back'in okuduğum ikinci kitabiydi. ilk Martiyi okumustum. iki kitapta birbirinden guzeldi herkese tavsiye ederim. kitabin sonu cok guzeldi cok uzun zamandir ilk defa bi kitabin sonunu begendim
Apr 26, 2009 liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Please note the shelves this book is on: It's much more "junk" than "fun." I received this as a gift, and it says on the cover, "The glorious best seller by Richard Bach author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and One", which I think pretty much sums it up. The author's note in the beginning is pretentious drivel about "I never wanted to write another book again because it's just so hard, but these characters and this story were just begging to be let out of my head..." Waah. The book isn't even 2 ...more
May 07, 2014 Saby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the way he started this book - with the fable... I found parallels to the life of Jesus - the messiah of the Bible. There are so many inspiring quotable lines. I liked this one best: `Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers'. Maybe because I'm a teacher? But I always loved that line. Even before I became a teacher :)
I think the idea th
Nathan Trachta
Feb 20, 2012 Nathan Trachta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend Renee recommended this one to me, she knows I've had questions in life and I'm open to unique perspectives; what can I say, I don't know everything in life and I'm still learning. Illusions is a book of self learning or teaching by and indirect method, I'll let you decide. For me it was an indirect method learning about the illusions of life and how we limit ourselves. In this case Mr. Bach has two gentlemen who give airplane rides to people meet and we watch as one quests and learns a ...more
Lance Greenfield
Nov 26, 2015 Lance Greenfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-top-books
This is absolutely the best book that I have read in a long while.

There is much philosophy and much humour. And there is so much to stimulate the reader's mind into a flurry of thoughts. I could pick out so many quotable passages, but my favourite remains as one which I used on my own blog recently. If you are interested, take a look at Writer’s Quote Wednesday – The Chrysalis Moment .

I loved it so much that I shall immediately put it onto my personal top books of all time list.
Feb 05, 2010 Anastasia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dope smokers
Wow, this book... *sigh* When I FINALLY got around to reading this little beat up paperweight, I was sick, in bed, with nothing else to do. I could have just as easily been asleep and equally productive. It was such a disappointment, because not only was it practically free, one of my best friends had good things to say about it.
This book was like the dictionary of fortune cookie-isms. The general message seemed to be "Whatever you think, that is what is, also, the opposite of that is as well."
Nick Duretta
I didn't know quite what to make of this. It's a mishmash of new-age wisdom and eastern philosophy disguised as some sort of fanciful folk tale about a man with godlike powers (he can create items out of thin air, fly his barnstorming plane without fuel, and so on) and a book of aphorisms he passes on to Bach, the author who also is in this tale. It's all a bit too precious. Thank goodness it was short.
Jun 19, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again a wonderful yet short tale, enjoyed this even more than Livingston Seagull. It's like reading a condensed philosophy, with key points cleverly highlighted using the 'Messiah handbook'. Bach is as ever insightful, shall definitely revisit this after some time has passed.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly."
Nov 16, 2011 Janice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
fuck a bunch of this.
Iona  Stewart
Jun 12, 2015 Iona Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this classic years ago, and have now re-read it. It is a book one never forgets. I read it in Danish, so my quotes from it are my own translations from this language.

The teller of the story, Richard, is a pilot, who flies from town to town selling short rides in his plane for three dollars a ride. One day he encounters another pilot, Donald, who leads the same sort of life as himself, also travelling round selling rides in his plane.

Richard, which is of course the authors name, notices fr
Feb 16, 2010 Rosalía rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was actually a life-changing book. It was a book that opened my mind as to my own thought process when I came upon other individuals having challenges with life's journey. Here's a story I wrote about it (Not for eyes under 18):


I'm in love with a man who doesn't love me. Well, love is a strange word, a strong word, a poor-excuse-to-be-miserable word. He loves me as a friend, as a sister, as a pet, perhaps. I'm always around, following him like a lost puppy.

It's cruel, un
Dec 31, 2012 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I had issues overcoming some of the poor writing line to line in this book: "He smiled for maybe a tenth of a second," on the whole, this book does what it sets out to do.

It's a clever little pop-spirituality diatribe about Bach's view of the world, which is not a horrible one. It has a cool gimmick that makes it work. I can't endorse its message outright, - and you can probably guess some of the narcissistic tendencies of the work from the subtitle - but Bach is pretty straightforward
Oct 07, 2009 Viraj rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: None
Recommended to Viraj by: Swanand Sahasrabuddhe
Shelves: novels
Overall: Boring…

Directly from the book (my comments in brackets):

Pg. Quoted
49 The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, “I’ve got responsibilities.”
75 Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.
90 Negative attachments… If you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you don’t make a big production out of it; you just relax and remove it from your thinking.
92 You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it h
Joe McPlumber
Jun 09, 2011 Joe McPlumber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
My favorite part of this book is the mini-story-within-a-story about the village of little critters clinging to the rocks and reeds on the river bottom. It pretty much sums up the singular spiritual wisdom i keep going back to... stop clinging, let go of the securities and comforts and knowns, be prepared to be dashed about painfully on the rocks. This is how to set the soul free. Such simple instructions, so easily implemented, yet so difficult to remember as i attach to mundane narratives and ...more
Marat M. Yavrumyan
Ավելի լավն էր, քան «Ջոնաթան ճայը»։ Չնայած, Բախի սիրահարներին դեռ այնքան էլ չեմ հասկանում։ Դանդաղ ու հանդարտ ընթերցանություն է պահանջում։ Ամբողջ գրքում միայն մի պարբերություն հավանեցի։)
«Երբ նա ասում էր այս ամենը, այնքան միայնակ տեսք ուներ, ինչպիսին երբևէ չէի տեսել, որ ունեցած լիներ մեկնումեկը այս երկրի վրա։ Նրան ո՛չ ուտելիք է պետք, ո՛չ տուն, ո՛չ փող, ո՛չ փառք։ Նա մեռնում է իր իմացածն ասելու կարիքից, ու ոչ մեկին հետաքրքիր չէ, ոչ ոք չի լսում նրան։ Ես կկոցեցի աչքերս, որ արցունքս պահեմ»։
May 20, 2008 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, my-library
A book I reference like it is my own Bible and have read dozens of times. It has helped me find my way more than once. I absolutely adore Richard Bach for giving the world this way of looking at things.
Vicky Wang
Interesting, short read. Unlike most reviews, I wouldn't go to the extent of classifying this story as "life-changing". I found the book a little too "spiritual" to my taste, but that's just personal. Bach did make the read fun and engaging, and also included some interesting insights that I related to (quoted below).

Then again, I did quickly flip through the book... Maybe I would've enjoyed it more if I took the time to take in the quotes and analyze the symbols.

A couple of favourite quotes:
Nov 01, 2011 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the book since an X'er employee said he had a philosophy that "in every problem is a gift" and that was why he why he did not react to dramas the way that everyone around us did. I read the book and that one quote was the one that stayed with me. That one piece of wisdom was worth the price of the book. It's about the law of attraction, in current spiritual terms.
To me, the spiritual aspect of it was not as important as realizing that it's my choice how I look at something and more impor
Aug 26, 2011 Suka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I find it amazing that so many reviewers feel the same way that I do. I first read this book many years ago, and pick it up to re-read every so often. It's a simple read and yet it takes me a long time to get through it -- there are so many profound, insightful observations that I set the book aside and think about it. I feel so empowered by some sections. I actually learned how to float on my back after reading the chapter about walking on water! I just walked into the lake and did it (float on ...more
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Since Jonathan Livingston Seagull - which dominated the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for two consecutive years - Richard Bach has touched millions of people through his humor, wisdom and insight.

With over 60 million copies of his books sold, Richard Bach remains one of the world's most beloved authors. A former USAF fighter pilot, Air Force captain and latter-day barnstorm
More about Richard Bach...

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“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” 1020 likes
“Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness.
Listen to it carefully.”
More quotes…