Book Notes: Interview with Donald Miller, Part 1

This month we start shipping Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It hasn’t even started shipping yet, but it is already #2,900 on Amazon. In a minute I will tell you how to get a copy free.

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As you probably know, Don is the author of Blue Like Jazz, a personal memoir that spent more than 40 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list. Unfortunately, that success got him stuck. By his own admission, he went into a funk for months, sleeping in and avoiding us—his publisher.

It wasn’t until he met a couple of screenwriters from Nashville, that his life started to get some forward momentum. They wanted to make a movie based on Blue Like Jazz. However, they informed Don that his life was too boring. They would have to edit it, to make it more compelling.

Along the way, Don learned the elements of story and realized that he could edit his own life in real time, to make it more interesting. He takes what he learned about story and started applying it. Amazingly, it worked. Why? Because our lives really are a story. This is not a metaphor; it is reality.

Whenever I read a book, I know I’m onto something if the following three things happen in my own experience:

  1. I read the book quickly. No one is making me read it. In this particular case, I read the book in two sittings.
  2. I am sad when it ends. When I finished A Million Miles, I felt like I a visit with a really good friend had been cut short. The time few by.
  3. I start thinking of people I want to read the book. In this case, I thought of dozens, starting with my own family members.

After reading the book, I thought it would be fun to interview Don on video. He is so engaging and funny, I wanted you to experience it first-hand. The interview lasted about an hour. However, Gabe Wicks, our VP of Design and Multi-Media, and his team edited it down to about 15 minutes. I am going to post this in three, five-minute segments over three days. Today’s episode is part one of three.

In the meantime, here are two ways to get a free copy of the book:

  1. Leave a comment on this post below. Tell me why you want this book. Be creative. Then fill out your shipping information in the special form I have set up for this book. Do NOT leave your address in the comment itself. On Thursday, I will select 100 people, based solely on my arbitrary and subjective evaluation of their comments. If you are one of those selected, I will notify you via email. If you don’t hear from me, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.
  2. Post a book review on your blog. If you are a blogger, you can get a free copy of the actual book. If you are not already signed up as one of our Book Review Bloggers, you need to do that first. Then you can request a copy of the book. We are making 250 copies of the book available to bloggers. These will go quickly. Guaranteed!

By the way, you can find the official book Web site here, along with Don’s tour schedule. Believe it or not, he will be traveling to 62 cities this fall to promote this book. Chances are, he is coming to a city near you!

I will post part two of this interview tomorrow.

Update: We have now given away all of our free copies. However, you will be able to pick up a copy of the book from your favorite bookseller soon. It is shipping to stores now.
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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TomMartinATL TomMartinATL

    I don't think I heard of Donald Miller until I saw a RT. Not having read Blue Like Jazz, I don't have a reference point to draw from, but this interview leaves me wanting to know the whole story.

    One thing I found compelling Don’s statement & your follow up about how the accidental can become intentional, especially when you listen to God and in obedience He will provide the motivation, skills, & resources to make anything possible, ex: Don's cross country bike trip for charity.

    Learning more about the parallels in his life & mine such as the weight loss, reconnecting with family, being at the top of your profession and then suddenly being without a compass, or as he said “finding nothing to give your life to” also peaked my interest.

    Thanks to Don for doing the interview & thanks to you for opportunity to win the book before I buy it! @TomMartinATL

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TomMartinATL TomMartinATL

    One other component of the interview which I hope the story dives into is the correlation between change = fear.

    I know my own experience with change and fear is exactly what was mentioned. For me losing the job I never thought I'd leaving, finding myself in a nursing home battling a staph infection, but in the midst of these changes, the fear, & fighting for my life I found a Savior and connected with God in a relationship not as part of ritual, losing 200+ pounds, my Father's post retirement alcoholism, running my first 10K, etc. All this and so much more set in the motion by change; change I didn't think I could survive yet change I'm now grateful for that now defines my character.

    Just wanted to add my final thought on the interview, hope to see Don in Atlanta this fall. @TomMartinATL

  • Carrie

    It'll free up a good $15 which I PROMISE to pass along to the Mentoring Project. Plus, my birthday is on Friday.

  • http://scripturestudent.wordpress.com Don Kimrey

    All this makes me wish I could write like him and have a friend like you! ~donkimrey

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  • tonychung

    I know you say you've given away all the free copies, but I'm sure you must have one left over for me!

  • tonychung

    I know you say you've given away all the free copies, but I'm sure you must have one left over for me!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TonyChung TonyChung

    Feel free to delete my last two comments. I forgot I'd signed up with IntenseDebate before.

    You can also delete this one. Thanks!

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  • adel

    I loved Blue Like Jazz but when I bought and read 'A million miles in a thousand years"….. I was very disappointed. Miller has made enough money to set his life stories in a more expensive setting , but at the end of the day, is there any real integrity in continuing to write about yourself ?

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  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    So connected with this interview.
    Never have seen Donald Miller speak or interviewed. This is the first time I’ve seen his personality or even him talk about himself.  Gives me hope.

    I’m not one of those people who “puts himself out there” or feels like he has answers. But what I do relate to is being real. Donald comes across to me as just being real.

    One thing I am curious about though is his statement about “our identity comes from our external”. I don’t have people telling me much of anything. Feeling like I’m having an identity crisis now. 
    Who am I?!  Ha!

    DEFINITELY interesting he wrote down things years before… and they became realized. Another testimony for written down goals/vision.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Don is definitely the real deal. What you see is what you get!

  • Anonymous

    A Million Miles in a Thousand Years has helped me gather up the courage to change my own life.  I just bought a 2nd audio book copy so that I can lend it out to friends and family.  I think that people hate it when I get excited and ask them “are you living a good story?”, but that’s their problem.  
    I have no interest in reading Blue like Jazz.