Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, authored by pilot and writer Richard Bach was first published in 1977. The story questions our views on reality portraying the premise that what we call reality is made of illusions that we create for our learning and enjoyment.

Richard Bach's mystical adventure story revolves around two barnstorming pilots who meet in a field in midwest America. The two main characters, who are doing what each one really wants to do, take on a relationship of teacher-student about the illusions that make reality.

Imagine how it would be, if somebody came along who could teach you how our world works and how to control it? ... What if a Siddhartha or Jesus came to our time, with power over the illusions of the world because he knew the reality behind them? This is the story line behind Illusions.

Donald Shimoda is one of the two main characters in Illusions. He is a “messiah” who leaves his job of being a messiah (and also of being a mechanic at a garage) after deciding that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and want to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the message behind them. He meets Richard, a fellow barn-storming pilot and begins to pass on his knowledge to him, even teaching Richard to perform "miracles" of his own.

The book impacted me in two ways me. First, it was an entertaining, uplifting story that brings renewed hope to me every time I read it.

Second, it re-opened my eyes to new possibilities and insights. I don’t believe it is to be read and believed literally, but as an allegory teaching us a new approach to life.

Some of the insights that I received can be gleamed from several passages in the “Messiahs Handbook.”

1) Argue for your limitations, and they are yours.

2) Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

3) 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.

4) In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.

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

6) Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet them than your acquaintences will know you in a thousand years.

7) The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.

8) What the caterpillar calls a tragedy / the Master calls a butterfly.

One word of caution for future readers of the book, “Everything in it may be wrong.”

Good luck on your journey to greater personal growth.

David Riklan
Founder –

Author's Bio: 

This book review was submitted by David Riklan. He is the president and founder of Self Improvement Online, Inc., the leading provider of self-improvement and personal growth information on the Internet.

His company was founded in 1998 and now maintains three websites on self-improvement and natural health, including: