The book is based on a series of spiritual beliefs, held by Toltec`s seniors, to help readers transform their lives into a new experience of freedom, happiness and love.  According to the author, everything a man does is based on agreements he has made with himself, with others, with God and with life itself.  In these agreements, we can tell ourselves who they are, how to behave, what is possible and what is impossible.  Some agreements that create individuals may not cause problems, but there are certain arrangements that come from a place of fear and have the power to deplete emotional energy and reduce a person`s self-esteem.  The book states that these self-limiting agreements cause unnecessary suffering.  Ruiz also believes that to find personal joy, one must get rid of socially imposed and fear-based agreements that can unconsciously influence the individual`s behaviour and thinking.  Another fundamental premise of the book suggests that much of the suffering is created and that most people have the ability to transform themselves and the negative thoughts they have about the situations in their lives.  The author identifies the sources of unhappiness in life and proposes four beneficial agreements that can be concluded with oneself to improve their general state of well-being. By pacting with these four most important chords, an individual is able to dramatically influence the amount of happiness he feels in his life, regardless of external circumstances.
 Ruiz suspects that we conclude and strengthen thousands of these agreements every day, and unfortunately, many of them are negative. We have prejudices and criticisms of the individuals, organizations, events or ideas we allow to color our experiences. (By the way, the film Traffic does a great job exploring this subject.) Ruiz proposes that, although we have been “programmed” by thousands of small agreements that we have concluded with ourselves and with society, the active search for control of four key agreements can compensate for the fate of them. The goal is to create an “authentic” lifestyle. Think of the timeless bliss of five-year-olds at stake. These children are authentic. They don`t know how to be different. And they`re happy. That is what we are working on. The chords themselves are extremely simple, but also brutally demanding. Society teaches us to applaud.
To criticize. To cut corners. To exaggerate or lie. Mastering these four chords takes time, patience and an incredibly strong will. Ruiz, however, believes the effort is worth it. Through these four agreements, we can learn to counter the “fog” of our existence and live the life we should really lead, instead of being on the path dictated to us by social programming and peer expectations. While we do not have time to examine the four agreements in detail, here are some important ideas for mastering these agreements. The four agreements are different. Although I don`t believe that this book (and Ruiz`s writing style or language) is a book that`s going to be comfortable with everyone, I have a strong feeling that the message is universal and can be experienced by anyone. We are subject to social pressure and societal expectations.
Subconsciously, we respond to what the world tells us, what we should be and do. We`re usually not happy about it, but at the end of the day, we make everyone else responsible – our bosses, our parents, our partner – it`s always someone else`s fault. The message of this book is clear – they must take responsibility for your own life and your own destiny. You choose the path and the way you want to live your life. My personal opinion is that the four combined chords are a powerful set of tools to guide you in the right direction. As I said, it`s not for everyone, but for powerful things for mentally inclined people. This path begins with the four agreements.