Richard Bach’s Illusions made for a nice read after the lighweight sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary. Unlike other Bach books, it is quite a slim book and moves faster. Nevertheless, it packs in just as much wonderful things to ponder over as his other books.

Illusions is a magical story written in autobiographical format. It speaks about a young pilot, who knows he is guided, but wants to learn more about life and the world. He meets his mentor in the form of Donald Shimoda, another pilot who gives joy rides to customers in fields, just like himself.

Donald teaches him all that he knows, but does not wish to be a ‘messiah’ for ‘common people who are suffering’. He says there is a guidebook for messiahs, which you open at any page, and there’s the answer to any question in your mind.

The story has been beautifully presented, I must say. It has the right amount of philosophy and humour and magic. Though I couldn’t agree with everything, I loved a lot of things in the book. There are parts of the book that have left a lasting impression on me, parts that I could relate to the most.

All in all, I would say it is a nice read, one that will leave you smiling and reflecting on things you already know but no one ever TOLD you.

Recommended? Definitely.

Here are some parts of Illusions that I loved:

“The only learning that’s mattered is what I got on my own, doing what I want to do. There isn’t, but if there were a soul on earth who could teach me more of what I want to know than my air plane can, and the sky, I’d be off right now to find him or her.”

The dark eyes looked at me level. “Don’t you believe you’re guided, if you really want to learn this thing?”

“I’m guided, yes. Isn’t everyone? I’ve always felt something kind of watching over me, sort of.”

“And you think you’ll be led to a teacher who can help you.”

“If the teacher doesn’t happen to be me, yes.”

“Maybe that’s the way it happens,” he said.


You teach best what you need to learn.


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.


Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.


Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.


There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.


You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.


A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed. It feels an impulsion… this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.


Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.


I read this book for the Orbis Terrarum 2010 Challenge. The stopover was USA. My rating: 3.5 stars


Filed under Reading Ramana

6 responses to “Illusions

  1. Illusions sounds like a good book about trusting yourself and finding the lessons life “teaches” us. Wonderful review!

  2. one of my all time favorite books this one.

    The greatness of Bach is levels at which you can read his books, at some level its a plain story, at another a deep philosophy

  3. priyaiyer


    yes, it is a nice book, for sure. specially for those who like mystical books with life philosophy explained in simple terms.


    i know you are a big bach fan! 🙂 i have read three of his books so far – jonathan livingston seagull, illusions and the bridge across forever. yet to read his others..

  4. Pingback: OT ’10 Wrap-up | uniquely priya

  5. I had read this book a long before. Was such a great read. I like Richard Bach’s work, Jonathan Livingston being one of my favorites.

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