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  • Writer's pictureThe Black Syllabus

Review | The Four Agreements


This book was almost unbearable. The Four Agreements read like a self-help book where the author pretty arrogantly attempts to give you the answers to life. His views, while presented as revolutionary and groundbreaking, were quite elementary. He makes very broad assumptions about things “everyone” does and how “everyone” thinks (based on what evidence?), and then gives blanket advice on how to fix these issues (ironic that his third agreement is “don’t make assumptions”). Ruiz fails to acknowledge the complexities of life when elaborating on these agreements; it seems like he’s projecting based on his own life experiences, therefore implying that we all go through these things and if we all follow these agreements, we will have life figured out. The God complex made me cringe.

I was also really turned off by the black magic/white magic analogy throughout this book. There was a note included on the copyright page that explains that “black magic” is not meant to have any racial connotation, which I appreciated, but I still feel this language is problematic and outdated (black = bad; white=good).

There were some parts of this book that I appreciated and even agreed with, like general advice on how to deal with conflict and some of his perspectives on faith, but they are still pretty elementary ideas that shouldn’t be projected onto everyone as truth. Overall, this book was agonizing.

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