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2020 Book Review: The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda

This is a review of the first book in a series of books by Castaneda on the teaching of Don Juan, a Yaqui shaman he met in Mexico. I am aware that the author was considered a con and his work a pieces of fiction instead of a non-fiction, but I always knew it as a non-fiction memoir. Whatever the case is I took from this some interesting teachings on wisdom.

I’m a firm believer whether a piece if fiction or non-fiction if you’re learning something from it that leads to you learning something to helps you how really bad can it be? I’m sure there will be many that disagree or come up with situations that would be difficult to answer when going at them with this mindset, but ultimately this work has some beautiful writing and some interesting lessons from a shaman that he may or may not have even met.

The powerful insights and lessons are often lost on the reader that go into this believing it’s fake or asking for more proof. I began reading it not knowing until later it was a possible ‘con’. I have heard this is an entire work of a ‘man tripping on drugs’. With all the hate the work has received here are my final thoughts and my review:

It’s a wonderful tale of a man on a journey. He finds enlightenment. It’s well written and has beautiful imagery. I don’t want to give too much away, but I recommend readers go into this book with the mindset it’s a memoir and enjoy the fantastic adventure you’re going to join the writer on.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.


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