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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  27,594 ratings  ·  2,371 reviews

Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were a character in a movie.

Years after writing his best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another.


Hardcover, 255 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Thomas Nelson (first published April 15th 2009)
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Karen Lebuhn Storyline has changed my life! Last year, after reading all of Donald Miller's books...I also read Victor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning".

So, so mo…more
Storyline has changed my life! Last year, after reading all of Donald Miller's books...I also read Victor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning".

So, so moving and touched my core values...purchased Storyline and have had great healing with the templates provided(less)

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  27,594 ratings  ·  2,371 reviews

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Start your review of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
"The character of the character matters."

"Life could be magical, if we are only willing to take few risks."

Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is about finding meaning, and living a meaningful life.

It is about realising that the story is not about the ending, but the journey of the story as it is happening and getting moulded...

Don also discusses about his life without having a father, and meeting him after 30 years. The author explains about the effects on a child not having a f
Scott Welch
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. At times, he had me frustrated with his writing about himself, and sometimes he hooked me with how he applied his stories to the point of the book. The 4 stars is an average: 5 stars for the point of the book (Life is a story, what kind of story are you living?). It really got me thinking and I have probably thought about this book everyday since I read it at some point or other. But, I gave it a 3 for the rambletastic ridiculousness of his stories ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, essay-memoir
This is a Don Miller book. Hence,

-Charming anecdotes from his life

Don meets Steve, who wants to shoot a movie based off Blue Like Jazz, Don doesn't like them changing his life to appeal to moviegoers, Don realizes he is living a lame story, Don embarks to rectify, Don dates a girl, Don hikes a mountain, Don bikes across the country, Don matures.

-Self-depreciating wit

Don at no point brags and any acheivement mentioned is tempered by mention of a personal failing. He's unflaggingly artless in the
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-book-list
After getting past the first 8 chapters, "A Million Miles" started getting very thought provoking and I was quite challenged by some of the ideas that Miller shares. The idea of creating a story, taking the skills and abilities that God has given you and doing something with them, rather than waiting for something to happen to you, has struck a chord.

As a caveat, that there are Rob Bell-esque tones in here, and I disagree with some of the theology that Miller spouts throughout the book. However
Paul Angone
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The main way A Million Miles in Thousand Years struck me was the way Donald Miller danced around this idea that many of us are waiting to act the lead role of our own stories. Literally, sitting at home, smoking a cigarette, hoping our agent will call. We want God to write some heroic scenes where we get to rescue the girl, make a million, kiss the girl, save the bus full of kids from the upcoming cliff while we’re on the phone making a few more million, and then relax on a tropical island (whic ...more
Kevin Schneider
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Quotes from the book...
"People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain."

"fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life."

"It made me wonder if the reasons our lives seem so muddled is because we keep walking into scenes in which we, along with the people around us, have no clear idea what we want."

"God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it i
Karen L.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this book.I listened to the author reading,audio version, which I highly recommend. He has a wonderful conversational style of writing. I liked his honesty. He shares stories from his life freely, sharing both his good and bad choices through both humorous as well as serious stories. Some of the stories caused me to belly laugh and others, like the death of his friend's wife made me sob. He shares about his father leaving when he was a child and about his finding his father later as an a ...more
girl writing
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've stumbled upon several blogs all having to do with improving quality of life by being unconventional. While reading the Blog of Impossible Things, I came across this book. With the magic of e-books, I had the book in my hands and read by the end of the evening. I laughed out loud at the first page and cried at the last. What an unique approach to living a meaningful life...from the book: "I wondered if life could be lived more like a good story in the first place. I wondered if a person coul ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
1st read 9-2014. Reread 3-2019.
Nov 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
3.5 stars. Miller's conversational style makes this read smoothly, and he is charming company while he asks interesting questions and uses interesting vocabulary to discuss his ideas. And hey, I'm a sucker for things that explore the concept of how our narratives shape our sense of identity. The subject matter has been approached by many others, and I don't think he adds anything particularly new to the canon, hence rounding down, but the journey was enjoyable.

That said, I have to credit this bo
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read Blue Like Jazz, Miller’s first and wildly successful memoir, in what seems now another life and another frame of mind. But Donald Miller is travelling with me in a freakish parallel universe. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years tracks Miller learning to view his life through a camera lens. This hook, life as a story, snagged my inner writer, pulling me through the book as Miller sharpens his point.

The book begins as Miller is approached to edit Blue Like Jazz into a movie script, turning
free preview copy from Thomas Nelson publishers. I was so excited when I heard Donald Miller had a new book out, and even more excited when I got the news I was getting a free copy. then I got the book and read it. Oh bummer.
The book isn't bad, persay. it's just not life altering for me. Maybe it's one of those subtle books, that I'll find I keep remembering and thinking about later. But it definitely didn't strike me as I was reading it. I felt more like, okay, I'm going to listen to more about
Ben Zajdel
Donald Miller was in a funk. He had written a bestseller, and was now a much sought after speaker. He was accomplished. But for some reason, all of his success didn't bring the climatic ending that he was hoping for. He felt lost. Then he received a call from two men who wanted to turn his book, Blue Like Jazz, into a movie. Miller was unsure of how to turn his book, part memoir and part collection of essays, into a movie. So the two men came to visit him, and teach him about story.

From there M
Willie Krischke
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
A few years ago, Don Miller was a promising young writer with a unique voice and some things to say. And then he had to go and become a conference speaker.

I don't blame him; there's a lot of money in speaking at conferences, and not that much in writing a book every 3 years, even if you have one on the New York Times bestseller list. Writers make pretty good conference speakers, but conference speaking ruins pretty good writers.

Conference speakers have to tell a joke, or say something cute, or d
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo."

That single insight, from the first page of the book, effectively distills the wisdom of 288 pages down into one sentence.

In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller writes of how collaborating on a screenplay based on his life transformed his perspective on life, and then transformed the living of his life. As he thought on the fictional story of his life, he began to see his real life as a story, and that, as the sa
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Really 4.5 stars.

From a few people that I follow - this book has been highly recommended. I checked it out at the library once and just never even got out of ten pages. But then the recommendation rolled around again and it was strong enough that I thought I would try it. I found it on audio and for probably the first hour or so I thought, "why in the crap is this book so highly recommended?" but the further along I got the further along I loved it. I love the idea to consider about "what makes
Brian Eshleman
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
WOW! If five stars and that exclamation didn't tell it, this was a great book. Donald Miller manages to tell us a lot about our story through his story, especially because he is so honest about his own flaws that have persisted or have even been magnified through his previous success. He is one. He is candid. He is able to maintain a tone that makes the reader believe he is "just talking", all the while choosing figurative language that is so perfect that he must have come through dozens of othe ...more
Paul Nelson
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I think this is my first Don Miller book. I enjoyed the unassuming style. I loved it not because of beautiful prose - although there is that. But because for me, Don is so relatable. I felt his journey of self discovery and learning about story was exactly what I needed, right now. This simple story gave me hope that I can take responsibility to be a good character in an interesting story. My story. Something of a revelation to me when I am asking questions about the meaning o ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: character, parenting
It took me almost half the book to get into it but it had so many gems in it! It gave me a lot to think about. I love how he compares God to "the writer that isn't me". ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had gotten rave reviews from my book club, but I was still kind of hesitant when it finally came up in my queue. Oh my goodness I should have bought this one on Audible when it was first recommended to me. It really resonated with me. Short, and funny, and self deprecating, I really liked the idea of making our lives an epic story. I liked the idea that Jesus Christ --or God --or whomever you believe in, wants us to put our heads down and do something meaningful with our lives -- not j ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Donald Miller is a one-of-a-kind writer. His talent is a rare gift. He is one of the few that can tell a story about himself and get out of his own way.

In "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," he explores what makes a story great. The big question the book asks is, "Can my life be a great story?"

Miller writes, "…the elements that made a story meaningful [are] the same that made a life meaningful."

A good story has a protagonist – the good guy. That's the person in the story you love or want to b
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I began reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years two months ago. After the first couple chapters, I thought "This is just Donald Miller, desperate for another hit book, riding the tails of what made Blue Like Jazz work." It wasn't long until I discovered he was on to something much bigger than in his first book.

Miller discusses in depth the elements of story and how they apply not only to movie scripts and novels, but to each individual's life. The principal is quite interesting in itself and
Barnabas Piper
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it
It's really more like 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book a fair amount, and found portions of it both or found and beautiful. The portions between those portions was a little flat for me - not bad, just kind of empty. Still, a worthwhile read. ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a like an unexpectedly good cheap wine that pairs well with life crisis, Ecclesiastes, and long late-night talks with friends (all of which are on my plate currently). It provides provides a common language to talk about big life decisions. Definitely the book I needed right now.
Tasha Swinney
Never finished. Couldn't be bothered. ...more
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when you write a book that gets filmmakers knocking on your door asking to turn your life into a movie?
You get another book answering the question "has my life been a story worth telling?"

I guess because I read this during 12-2020, like most people at the turn of each year, I'm presently mired by the reflections of the past and goals for the future; usual suspects being:

"vacation to X was so short lived - where to this year"
"insert hardest project at work brought so much career gr
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
[June 2017 book group selection] I had to push myself a bit to get through the first half of this book, but I really quite enjoyed the rest of it. Lots of little tidbits of wisdom. Although I don't think it's groundbreaking the way he talks about seeing your life as a story (pretty sure he's not the only one who's done that), it's interesting to think about how viewing your life that way can help you improve and give meaning to the way you live, as well as help pull you through the difficulties ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Whatever I was expecting when I opened this book, it wasn't this. Donald Miller gets the opportunity to turn his book into a movie, but first, they must find the story. This project inspires him to embark on a journey to transform his real life into a beautiful story, and to take the risks and face the challenges and become the compelling character he wants to be. This books is beautifully written, thought provoking, and at the same time completely down to earth.

One of my favorite sections
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
An average of a (low) 3 for general story structure & some lazy writing in the second half (sorry, yeepers) but a high 4 for the not-unique yet still poignant reminder that we are the authors of the stories into which we have been placed. Narrative included some clever humor and clean prose early on.

Did I cry toward the end? Idk, probs.

But my reaction was more likely a case of reading the right book at just the right time, rather than a testament to the emotional impact of the denouement.

Josie Jones (Lutz)
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it
I really liked the idea of this book and the overall message. There were some really beautifully written portions that inspired the reader to reflect on and intentionally live a story. I found myself really thinking on this a lot, however I feel like that message got lost in the author’s ramblings and short stories about his life. I didn’t feel the book to came together in a cohesive or concrete way. I found myself wanting more applicable and helpful thoughts to take the idea of creating a story ...more
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Editors and Writers: Editing slots for August 1 19 Jul 27, 2020 05:08AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Book #69: A Milliion Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller 2 6 Jul 12, 2013 08:00AM  
Has This Book Inspired You? 12 76 Dec 10, 2011 08:32PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Donald Miller grew up in Houston, Texas. Leaving home at the age of twenty-one, he traveled across the country until he ran out of money in Portland, Oregon, where he lives today.

Harvest House Publishers released his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, in 2000. Two years later, after havin

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