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The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle [Hardcover]

Steven Pressfield
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Aug 2003
What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? How can we avoid the roadblocks of creative endeavour be it starting a business, writing a novel or painting a picture? THE WAR OF ART is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. In this inspirational and engaging book, bestselling author Steven Pressfield helps people overcome what he terms 'resistance' and so release the individual's abilities whether a diet programme, spiritual advancement, a business venture, writing a novel or any other life goal. It's inspirational, practical and entertaining - emphasising the need to recognise and overcome the obstacles of ambition and how to acquire creative discipline. From the book: 'There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.' Whether an artist, writer or business person, this inspirational, entertaining, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (21 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752860313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752860312
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 655,589 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.

About the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of international bestsellers THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, GATES OF FIRE, TIDES OF WAR and LAST OF THE AMAZONS. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 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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77 of 82 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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70 of 75 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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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 This is a fantastic book and is full of inspiring and motivational...
This is a fantastic book and is full of inspiring and motivational gems whether you are a writer, entrepreneur, creator or not. Read more
Published 5 days ago by A. R. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiration
Great book for any procrastinator. Got a bit God heavy at times but still a great help. Definitely recommend it.
Published 19 days ago by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars If you're an artist and you're avoiding doing any work, stop...
It's ironic that a book about procrastination should be quite as long (even though it's quite short), and draw its topic out quite so much (even though there's very little to say),... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Mr. Simon J. Harpham
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Tells me what I knew but not what to do about it
Very disappointed by this quasi-spiritual collection of notes.

It told me all about what I already knew: that many of us have problems overcoming a lack of motivation,... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Lakeman
3.0 out of 5 stars ... of the discussion was common sense approach but a good reminder.
A lot of the discussion was common sense approach but a good reminder.
Published 29 days ago by G
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Some practical tips. No more procrastination.
Published 1 month ago by Peter May
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A loving kick in the behind. Thank you!
Published 1 month ago by Anne Hummel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All Creatives
To quote:
'Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. J. Penny
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting
A few good points about work ethic, but on the whole it is spoilt by near constant repetition and God bothering.
Published 3 months ago by Kevin Chapman
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever ways to deal with procrastination
It would appear that our inability to move forward with any or many of our projects in life is caused by procrastination. Or as this book cleverly puts it, resistance. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Keith105
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