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Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

(Illusions #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  58,498 ratings  ·  2,369 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
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Delta (first published 1977)
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Mar 03, 2009 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 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah is a novel by writer and pilot Richard Bach. First published in 1977, the story questions the reader's view of reality, proposing that what we call reality is merely an illusion we create for learning and enjoyment. Illusions was the author's followup to 1970's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. llusions revolves around two barnstorming pilots who meet in a field in the Midwestern United Sta
Jul 05, 2007 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
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 aro
Mar 12, 2008 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 many ...more
Steve Merrick
Jul 20, 2011 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 22, 2008 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
Richard Bach is the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a book about birds, but teaches lessons relevant to humans. I liked that book, but I like his second book MORE. It is about PEOPLE learning life lessons, not birds. I guess I relate more to people!!

Illusions is a lighthearted mystical adventure story about two barnstorming vagabonds who meet in the fields of the Midwest. Richard Bach meets Don Shimoda, the Reluctant Messiah. Magic and miracles surround Don. He calls them Illusions, not M
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Errin Davenport
Jan 05, 2014 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.
Nathan Trachta
Feb 20, 2012 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
Jared Della Rocca
I am the product of two families. On the biological side, I was raised a Roman Catholic, and frequently joke that I'm part of the world's largest religion, Lapsed Roman Catholics. On my married side, I've been raised a Spiritualist. Wait, strike that. I'm a lower-case 's' spiritualist. Because it's not an organized anything, it's just a state of being.

This second way of living has trickled down from my mother-in-law to my wife and now to me. They are both more well-versed and studied in the mir
David Ward
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, my-favorites
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (Delacorte Press 1977)(Fiction). A barnstorming messiah stops long enough to make some profound statements. This is much better than it sounds. For instance: "The original sin is to limit the is. Don't." - Donald Shimoda. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 1978. ...more
Tom Quinn
You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.

You may have to work for it, however.

Sometimes the stories of why we read the books we read are more interesting than the books themselves. Illusions was recommended to me by a coworker as one of his favorite books. In exchange, I suggested to him some of my favorites (and also pressed them on him from my personal library with an urgency that might have bordered on off-putting). I find it tricky to read someone el
Apr 26, 2009 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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Yes, it is all soft pop-philosophy, but it can be profound at the same time. Just listen to it with an open heart, and let its message ease into your heart.
Lance Greenfield
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
fuck a bunch of this.
Laura Larson
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: september-2020
This is an inspiring and thought-provoking novella about what life really means. It really made me think about my place in the world, morality, and the comfort of religion.
Jun 12, 2012 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
I read this when I was a kid and it really did influence me, as did Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I love reality bending fiction and I also loved the bent it had toward living with wisdom. I can't imagine what my life would have been without being surrounded by good notions like that. Of course, it was also surrounded by reality bending, too, so maybe I was pretty messed up as a kid. Fortunately, I read a lot in order to shuck-off all of those reality-bending mindscapes in favor of new reality-be ...more
Feb 05, 2010 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."
Feb 16, 2010 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
Iona  Stewart
May 25, 2015 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 author´s name, notices f
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Arrogant, precious, trite, irresponsible. Methinks the author could use a lesson in transcending ego, for he could not resist sharing his vast knowledge of aviation, even at the risk of alienating readers with his cocky jargon. He was also fond of reminding us that he was often one step ahead of his master and was able to correct him at turns, peppering the speech with dickish evidence.

I disliked the jocularity, verbiage, setting, background, and even the message. I do not buy that I "just
Joe McPlumber
Jun 09, 2011 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
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. ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bach fans
Recommended to Erik by: Maureen Maloney
Shelves: philosophy
While I was still in high school, Mother recommended Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I could see why she would like it. Years later, a friend recommended his subsequent book, Illusions. It was more of the same, but at least these were human beings. Like its Messiah Handbook, one may get a lot out of it if one approaches it the right way--sort of like the I Ching.
Ben Wilkie
Sep 03, 2012 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."
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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-d

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  • Illusions II: The Adventures of a Reluctant Student

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