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Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  52,784 ratings  ·  2,128 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 wrenc ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 10th 1989 by Dell (first published 1977)
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4.15  · 
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 ·  52,784 ratings  ·  2,128 reviews

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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
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 aroun
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 ...more
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
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
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.
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 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
Lance Greenfield
Oct 29, 2015 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.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
fuck a bunch of this.
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
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
Joe McPlumber
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
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."
Stunning Mess
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy
It's a wonderful short tale which has so much philosophy. I can also call it a "life changing book" but this latter depends on the way you'll perceive its messages..
Kiki Lemke
Mar 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ahh! Illusions was boring, repetitive, and pretentious. Because he was trying so hard to be meaningful, Richard Bach forgot to write an engaging plot, and the message he was trying so hard to convey seemed trite. This book came into my possession because my school library no longer wanted it. Now I know why. I finished it only because it was so short, but I feel that it was still a waste of my time.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not the sort of book I would read by choice, but a patron was so enthusiastic about recommending it to me, even lending me a personal copy, that I felt obligated.

I'll say the same thing about ILLUSIONS that I said about THE SHACK--if this book speaks to you and helps you deal with the travails of life, great. Enjoy it. But it's just not me. For the most part, I don't care for books that attempt to impart some grand wisdom on the meaning of life and metaphysical matters.
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 authors name, notices fr
Oct 07, 2009 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
Dec 31, 2012 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
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't even remember how many times I have read this book over the years & every time it has a profound effect on me. Strangely(this probably won't come as a surprise to those who have been effected by this book), just yesterday I saw my tattered copy of this book on a long ignored book self. I saw it - my heart skipped a beat, I grinned widely and went about my business. Today, I come across - quite by accident, I might add - reviews here on Goodreads. To me that is a knock on the head kin ...more
Tori Porter
May 12, 2008 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.
Daniela Ark's Bookiverse
I don't read many self-help books because I'm fiction reader. I like to read fantasy.

I read Bach's books because they were recommended to me as a "magical books". And I really enjoyed them. I though it was a charming way to inspire people!

If you don't normally read nonfiction but want to give them a try, you may like Richard Bach's books. You cam read them as self-help or you can read them as fantasy/magical realism. At the end, both ways tell a story about pushing your limits, try to aim higher
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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
“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.” 1161 likes
“Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness.
Listen to it carefully.”
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