A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life [book review]

olive chan —  January 12, 2012 — 2 Comments

Olive’s rating:  4 stars out of 5

I was skeptical about this book when I first picked it up because I’d thought Miller’s previous work had been a little fluffy. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. In my humble opinion, I think this book is more mature than his other work – but with the same laugh-out-loud humour that is so enjoyable to read. This book looks at what makes up a good story and asks us whether our lives are reading as good stories.

a million milesIt inspired me to look at the story my own life was telling and to dare to make choices that would make for a great story.

Tim’s rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I always like reading Donald Miller’s books, because he’s an entertaining writer and his stuff makes me laugh. In this book, Miller asks the question, what would the story of your life be like if someone made a movie about it? Would it be adventurous and exciting, or mundane and barely watchable?

Miller defines a story as “a person that wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it.” Nice and simple. In fact, the best type of story is where the main character is willing to give up his or her life to overcome the conflict and get the something that he or she wanted.

A good story also includes character transformation. “He’s a jerk at the beginning and nice at the end, or a coward at the beginning and brave at the end. If the character doesn’t change, the story hasn’t happened yet. And if story is derived from real life, if story is just condensed version of life then life itself may be designed to change us so that we evolve from one kind of person to another.

What this book did was challenge me to think what I really wanted in life. If what I wanted was too easy, then there would be no conflict and the story would be boring. Reading the book moved me into a direction where I was more intentional about creating good stories in my life. That’s one of the reasons I helped to put together a family trip with Olive, my mom, dad, siblings, and significant others to Europe 2 summers ago. I knew it would be the only opportunity for us to take a trip like this before we had kids.

For more thoughts on this subject, read Donald Miller’s post entitled “Living a good story: An alternative to new year’s resolutions.”


  • Can’t wait for his new book to come out in Canada. It’s called Storyline and it’s based on the conferences of the same name that he has been running since releasing this book!

    • Cool! I hadn’t been aware of his new book. Thanks for telling me, Darrell!