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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

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  22,535 ratings  ·  2,027 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…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)

Community Reviews

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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,535 ratings  ·  2,027 reviews

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Oct 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
I adore Donald Miller for his self-deprecating humor and poetic
insights. However, reading him a few years after my initial
infatuation (I seriously thought I had a chance with him when he posed
for a picture with me at a book signing), I find myself unsettled with his conclusions mostly because they are fluff.
I want to commend his resurrection of the concept of our lives as stories. I think many youth today need to hear that. But the bulk of what he writes is Oprah-esque admonitions to serve othe
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
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
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
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
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 be
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
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
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.
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".
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
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe my story is too cynical but this book was totally cheesy. Then I looked up author and saw the TED talk and yes, it’s really cheesy. Make a better story. Help people. Think less about the meaning of life. Be like a puppy, but also read man’s search for meaning. And go to Cusco.
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I can't quite recall how I first heard about the books of Donald Miller--whether it was through a friend or a web site recommendation. However, I do know that I read his book, "Searching for God Knows What" before the book for which he is best-known, "Blue Like Jazz." And while I like "Jazz" a great deal, it's always been "Searching" that has stuck with me and been my favorite book that Miller has written.

Until now.

"A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" may have replaced "Searching" as my favorit
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing

This month, I read my first-ever Donald Miller book. Donald Miller is best known for Blue Like Jazz. His new release is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. The book describes how Miller discovers what makes a good story while co-writing a script based on his popular book, Blue Like Jazz. Miller is transformed by the realization he could live a "better story." As he begins to make changes in his life, he encounters pain, joy, and a sense of purpose.

Miller's writing style is conversational. He is
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
Julie Ruble
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the book, Miller discusses his experience editing his life to be made into a screenplay. Throughout the process, he learns more about what makes a meaningful story and realizes his life is comfortable and easy, but not the story he wants it to be. One of his primary realizations was that life involves character transformation — it’s not about achieving a certain goal or reaching certain socially agreed upon milestones like graduating, marrying, and reproducing. Instead, it’s about how the exp ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I went into this not knowing what to expect. I haven't read any of Miller's other books; several of my friends think of him very highly, and I was really introduced to him (theoretically, not actually) because one of my friends works closely with him professionally. So, when I heard he had a new memoir, I figured I would give it a try, and was generously gifted a copy of this book by said friend.

I came away from it with mixed feelings. It's a good quick read, although I can see reading it slowly
Gabriella Gill
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
10 out of 5 stars.

I first heard about this book three years ago at a Christian camp, and I started reading it as soon as I got home, and I didn't stop.
Miller had me hooked at the opening lines of the author's note.
Miller is the kind of guy that I believe that almost anyone can relate to. It isn't until you read his book that you see just how much you've taken your life for granted, and at 15 years old, it completely changed the way that I saw everything. This book, besides the bible, is the no
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
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
5 stars for the point of the book, but I had to knock off a star for some ramblings and oddly interjected anecdotes.

However, it was a great book to make you think about what you can do when you feel like your life has stalled. I appreciated that it wasn't you typical self-help "life is AMAZING" kind of book. I guess it was a little like that, but not in the kind of forced enthusiasm that seems typical.

I also enjoyed that he acknowledged that some stories are slower paced than others. At this p
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.
Holly Broadbent
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
a must-read. i wasn't really sure where he was going with this at first and wasn't really excited about finishing but then he hits you with his "inciting incident". What a great, inspirational story. I guess I need to amp up my story now! Plus, he's from Portland :)
Danica Holdaway
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book recharged my batteries and got me to take a look at my life and what I want. We DO have the opportunity to "edit" or rewrite our lives at any given point, and what a gift that is!
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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 72 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
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 4400 likes
“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” 376 likes
More quotes…