A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is an introspective story about finding meaning in your life, told from Miller's perspective as he works with some movie producer's to create a movie about his life. I didn't actually get into the book until after about 40 pages.

It's an enjoyable look at the familiar from a slightly different angle. In this book's case, Miller applies some of the lessons from a story seminar to his own life.

We usually think of story as something that's written on paper; a book, a screenplay, a precursor to production. A Million Miles explores what happens when you edit your own life as it's happening, to make it a story worth living and remembering. A life like that sounds great to everyone, but it takes work to get great things to happen with your life, and Miller openly and humorously wrestles with getting the elements of his life in order.

I also enjoyed his insights and descriptions of what it's like to be a writer, to have to stare at a blank page and make something of it. I feel like I do something similar each day when I get up and write code. Even when it's hard--especially when it's hard--it's worth pressing on and trying. He mentions Steven Pressfield in this context.

As Miller refines the story of his life going forward it makes for a good read, as you'd expect, by definition. I enjoyed reading about his trip to Machu Picchu, partially because Michelle and I hiked the same trail a couple years ago. He writes well, but I could picture the trek particularly well.

It's a good book, and a reminder that there's a "long middle" part of our lives that's difficult, perhaps monotonous, and slowly wears away our earlier ambitions. It's the part that, with some extra effort and deliberation, provides the greatest opportunity to bow out your character's arc.

I'm not sure how it happens so fast, but the book has 4.5/5.0 stars from 142 reviews on Amazon.