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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles [Paperback]

Steven Pressfield , Shawn Coyne
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Jan 2012
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. hat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles + Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work + Do the Work
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Product details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Black Irish Entertainment LLC (11 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936891026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936891023
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Pressfield is a bestselling historical novelist whose books include the classic Gates of Fire, Alexander: The Virtues of War The Afghan Campaign and Killing Rommel. He lives in Los Angeles.

His official website is

Product Description


Finished copies have arrived and have been mailed from the warehouse. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

STEVEN PRESSFIELD is the author of Do the Work, The Warrior Ethos and the international bestselling novels, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, The Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign, Killing Rommel, and The Profession. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is war, and war is hell. 9 Jan 2011
Any tortured artist type who flops about never finishing anything for fear it might actually expose in concrete terms the limitations of their talent will find this a slap in the face, a kick in the ass and a cold shower all at once. Your list of great excuses for why your novel/screenplay/business start up/big-project-of-any-kind remains unfinished (or unstarted) will dwindle to one line with a question mark at the end of it. Do you have what it takes or not?

And there's only one way to find out.

The War of Art might be the last diversion you take into doing something that you shouldn't be doing. After you've read it you might actually end up doing what you should be. Or you could put everything off just a little longer by writing a review of it for Amazon.

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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Resistance is Futile 7 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The War of Art (nice title) is based on the premise that there is something called `resistance', which prevents artists or anyone doing anything to better themselves from getting on with the task. Resistance manifests itself in lots of different ways, but ultimately in work not getting done. Split into three parts, each comprised of several pages which are often nothing more than a pithy paragraph, The War of Art isn't heavy reading. The first part of the book identifies the problem; the second part of the book identifies the qualities of the professional who does not succumb to the problem. These parts are witty, concise, and quite inspirational. In common with some other reviewers here, I was expecting far more practical advice about how to overcome `resistance'. What War of Art effectively boils down to is an impassioned call to arms from a hotheaded military leader against a ruthless and bloodthirsty enemy. That's well and good, "but what about the tactics?" says the poor grunt about to charge the enemy guns. "Well, there aren't any. Good luck, give `em hell..."

If parts one and two are good as far as they go, the third part of the book jumps off a very high pier. It's largely concerned with the author's loopy religious and philosophical ideas, which, if you didn't know better, would place him somewhere around the early 20th Century, before Freud's ideas found common currency, before World War I made people rethink the idea of progress. Back then, the best explanation for irrational drives in our lives was probably something like bad demons and good angels, which is what the author of The War of Art has settled on as the most likely explanation. To be fair to Pressfield, he does say you can call it what you like; I called it `wishful thinking'.
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
This book is superb. Everyone who has ever tried to improve their lives or start a new venture will know that the main problem is not the money or the time; it's the motivation. Deep in our psychology we have a hidden enemy, a devious little voice that tells us not to start or attempt anything because we'll automatically fail or we've got better things to do. This little creep is usually the reason diets fail or books don't get written. Until I read War of Art I just thought I was a procastinator or at best just lazy. But Pressfield has given this enemy a name: Resistance.
Pressfield's book is without a doubt the most intriguing and genuine motivational book out there to date. It's written in plain tongue with no technical rubbish or pen-in-hand techniques that nobody would want to even try. It's staright talk; we've got an enemy, fight it! I couldn't put it down. Read it in a day. By the end of it I felt I could achieve anything and like some weirdo bible thing I have tuned to it since whenever I feel like I want to do something because most of the time I know I won't do what I want without a good push. Steven Pressfield's War of Art is that push. It's the compass that guides you toward success.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Metaphysical nonsense 1 July 2013
By Acre
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The whole book can be summed up in one sentence: "focus on your goals and you'll achieve more", the same basic message conveyed by every self-help book under the sun. The only difference is Pressfield felt the need to write another 'The Secret' and layer on tons of spiritual and superstitious babble that suggests something profound whilst really just disguising a trite and, frankly, quite brief book.
The worst part comes when Pressfield attempts to clumsily integrate dated psychology. Statements like "angels make their home in the Self, while Resistance has its seat in the Ego" become commonplace and from that point on, the book is unreadable.
I'm sure Steven's fiction is quite good, but this was just awful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battling the Ultimate Enemy! 19 Mar 2012
If you have dreams you would love to make a reality but you're no closer to them than you were last year, you are not alone. If you find yourself choosing that chocolate bar over 20 minutes of cardio training, you are standing with the many. If you feel that work, loved ones, hated ones, money troubles, are all getting in the way of where you want to be, welcome to the world of the average person. This book is for you. This book is what you need to hear, and what you need to use to take you from the average to the dream accomplished successful.

What it doesn't do: It doesn't clog you down with self help strategies that you will never stick to. It doesn't pin your hopes on wishful thinking, or lead you to believe that just BELIEVING in something hard enough, the laws of the universe will pull together to make it so. It doesn't suck up to you and tell you what you need to hear.

It tells you the truth. It tells you that, ultimately, success and failure is within you, and that the battle is against yourself. There is an enemy within: a cold, heartless thing with the hunting instincts of a shark. It will eat you from the inside out, and then cast you aside, once you've wasted your life on instant gratification and long standing excuses.

This book identifies that enemy and gives it a name. It then breaks the enemy down so that you can identify its every form. It shows you all the angles of attack it may throw against you. What you do with that knowledge is then up to you. You have to fight this enemy. No one can do it for you.

A brilliant book. I've never read anything quite like it. I don't think it's a coincidence that one of my favorite works of fiction, The Gates of Fire, is by the same author either. The War of Art is for the modern day warrior, who has his own Thermopylae to face...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable despite certain weaknesses
I think this book has a strong insight that is helpful to a prospective artist of any kind. I think it focuses on the aspect of procrastination or fear of endeavour that may lead... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Literary Goshawk
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it in an afternoon.
Highly recommended, got me out of my own little rut. Read, reflect, live it.

Why do these reviews have a minimum length? How authoritarian.
Published 20 days ago by Knight_77
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must read for all Artist and Business owners (start-ups should own...
Possibly the most important book there is for creative workers on achieving there art or a better word would be output. I could write a book on how essential this book is. Read more
Published 1 month ago by E. Welburn
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has helped me massively
Highly recommend to anyone who wants to understand their creative blocks and how to overcome them. It's a simple book, will make you laugh but also has some serious wisdom to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ms Sunita Wardhan
3.0 out of 5 stars Some important points but it's apparent spiritual inspiration may...
The War of Art was obviously written straight from the author's heart. The result is a book that it is passionate, direct and very opinionated (occasionally polemical?). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alisa Mane
4.0 out of 5 stars No more excuses!
The recommendation came, in my case, from Chris Guillebeau. A short book, but oh so powerful; as one of the reviews on the book cover says, the book is "a kick in the ass". Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for any creative out there.
Whether you're flourishing or drowning Pressfield clearly breaks down why we sometimes struggle to motivate ourselves. Well written, great read.
Published 2 months ago by JC
4.0 out of 5 stars Great...depending on your own state of mind, situation and vision in...
4/5, it lost one star for the following:

-the writer only considers his own life and interpretation, sometimes other celebrities, but mainly his own and does not look at... Read more
Published 2 months ago by jazzk1
1.0 out of 5 stars Just... no.
I've got several problems with this book. I really struggle to see why it's got so many 5 star ratings. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kim Lawler
5.0 out of 5 stars mind bending
If you are creative in any sense of the word this is a must read. I found it very liberating and hopefully a change for the better.
Published 3 months ago by Neal Petty
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