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on 9 January 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.

Hmmm.....
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on 22 October 2004
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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on 29 October 2014
I came across this book having seen Steven's interview with Marie Forleo on her YouTube channel. Chances are that you already have a good idea about what this book is about so I won't repeat what others have written at length.

As an arch procrastinator with an embarrassingly short attention span I found the unusual structure of this book very helpful. The chapters, for want of a better word, are very short, often just a page or two and sometimes just a paragraph. However, they feel beautifully crafted with each one putting forward its meaning both concisely and powerfully (although I do find the term "Resistance" a little broad and have found substituting the word "Familiarity" helpful).

I find myself re-reading War of Art and Turning Pro quite frequently and have been through both books several times now. Each time through I seem to notice something new in the relatively few words, or maybe they are just sinking in a little more. Either way, deep down we probably already know what is being written about but it somehow helps to see it before our eyes. I find that I can pick up either book, pick a page at random and find something immediately relevant to put in the 'here and now' which is so helpful.

It feels that Steven has put a lot of himself into this book in quite an authentic and revealing way. I think anyone who has, or who is contemplating putting anything creative 'out there' will recognise the bravery in that.

Incidentally, I ordered War of Art and Turning Pro from Amazon at the same time and Turning Pro happened to turn up first, so I read it before War of Art. I'm glad I did. Although Turning Pro was written later and expands on Part 2 of War of Art, it feels more like a prequel.

I think they are both excellent books.
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on 7 August 2011
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'. Of course the author is entitled to his beliefs, but since the book begins with a no-nonsense call to arms against irrational beliefs about the artist, you might, like me, look back from page 166 and find yourself a long way from home.
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on 1 February 2014
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 the situations that arise in other peoples lives and why they might act in certain ways.

-the book is too short, 160 pages of which many are 1 paragraph pages and blank on the next side, if condensed, would probably be less than a 100 pages.

-says some silly things like all critics who give a negative review are jealous and those who get cancer get it because there body is telling them to be there full potential, it the cancer goes once they start living happily.

the good points from the book:
-does what it says, a kick in the ass, more of a summary that you should read every so often to remind yourself where you might be slipping.
-book 1 of the 3 mini books inside is the strongest of all 3, very informative and shows you how you fall under the resistance

So overall, it is a great bit of work and when I put it down I really did enjoy it and it definitely does what it says, I just feel it could of cut down on some of the nonsense spoken and more of a description of what the writer was trying to say, instead of 1 paragraph chapters.

P.S, Many complained about the third book in which he talks about Angels and Muses, I actually think it was nicely written and related well to his own way of thinking although it was definitely the strangest part of the book but was a good interpretation on life.
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on 28 January 2014
I've got several problems with this book. I really struggle to see why it's got so many 5 star ratings.

I'll go ahead and say that there *is* some good advice in here, mainly relating to just kicking yourself in the a*se and getting the work done. It's just so sad that it's veiled with woo-woo rubbish.

It's short, I read it in a couple of hours. I think that's probably a blessing in disguise, 'cos I really wouldn't want to waste much time on this drivel.

Here are my main bones of contention:

- 'Resistance' (the author's affected term for procrastination) causes cancer and mental illnesses. Resisting your calling, and following a different path, will result in your death. Basically.
- If Hitler hadn't diverged from his path as an artist ('cos of that old Resistance malarkey), there wouldn't have been a tyrannical war resulting in hundreds-of-thousands of deaths. He probably also got cancer.
- If you DO get cancer, then you need to take a long, hard look at your life, and follow your calling. The cancer will probably just disappear if you do that.
- Drugs, drink problems, social issues, all down to that pesky resistance.
- When you DO overcome procra.. RESISTANCE, people around you will become sick. Yep. (I'm not sure if they get cancer, the author didn't specify).
- About 30% of the book is dedicated to woo-woo cr*p about Muses & Angels.
- All your critics are just envious. All of them. And they probably have cancer.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is completely made up by marketing companies. See also: seasonal affective disorder and social anxiety disorder.

The author of this book doesn't seem to have taken into account the different lives that people have. For some, it's INCREDIBLY difficult to 'follow their calling', and to suggest that if they don't they'll get cancer? Hum. He seems to have spewed out a bunch of knee-jerk opinions and bundled them into a self-help book for artists.

Like I said at the start, there are some nuggets of value in the book, but no more than in other books of the same ilk (I heartily suggest It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden).

Read with caution, and remember that there's more than one way to reach your end goal.
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on 10 August 2011
"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."

Sounds familiar? Most of us are very much aware that there could be a different life for us, but we continue our own treadmill. It is simply too hard to change, and if we attempt to do so, there are numerous blockages on the road that will discourage us. The good news is this. You are not alone. It is a natural resistance which comes in many forms, and it can be overcome.

Steven Pressfield's book is a joy to read and you'll finish it on a lazy day. The book comes in three sections. After defining the many forms of resistance we experience, Steven describes how we can combat resistance and become a creative professional. In the third section, he describes the higher realm, i.e. how to invoke the muse inside ourselves. Steven's writing is in a way mystical as well as down to earth. To live the unlived life is not mysterious but requires hard work. But it will be so much more rewarding since we will become more authentic and successful. "Our job in this lifetime is to find out who we already are and become it."

If you want to pursue your dreams and get started, this book will definitely light a fire in you and encourage you to make the first step.
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on 21 February 2013
Some one recommended this book, but I could hardly get through it.

The first thing that put me off was his reference to Hitler. He claims Hitler found it harder to fill a white canvas than start WWII. If the writer had done his homework, he would have known that Hitler painted two to three little watercolor paintings every day. These were to accompany picture frames that were sold in shops. He worked his ass off as a painter! He definitely didn't suffer from the "resistance" this book talks about.

The writer apparently didn't bother to fact-check. Note that this is supposed to be non-fiction. And it went down-hill from there.

The premise of this book seems to be that there is such a thing as "resistance" that artists need to overcome. It is written as a pep-talk a coach would give you, or your army drill instructor. It is all written as if art creation is like going to war. Later on he's all on about "amateurs do this, pros do that".

I (strongly!) believe that is not the right approach to art creation. The artist should first and foremost make sure he enjoys the process of art creation. All else follows from it. Resistance is non-existent as the artist cannot wait to jump out of bed every morning to continue work on his art. Beautiful things get made, and maybe, just maybe, commercial success is also around the corner.

I believe this book has it all wrong.
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on 17 April 2012
Whatever your current project is, if you love the act of creating works of art, from paintings to musical compositions, from poetry to an epic novel, then The War of Art is a book that you will need to -- or at least probably should -- read every year or so. It deals with the curse that is procrastination, as seen through the eyes of a writer, appealing to and empathising with artists in general; their struggle to engage with their muse, achieve their flow, elevate their spirit!

The style is light and the reading easy-going; yet, The War of Art gets directly to the heart of the matter. It offers a comprehensive treatment of the multifarious disguised forms of procrastination, providing plenty of techniques and strategies for overcoming them; encouraging you to "go pro" and thereby up your game, conquer and win!. The book can be read in one sitting, in a matter of a few hours.

The only thing I did not enjoy about The War of Art, although it does not merit the deduction of a star, is the heavy and persistent references to God. The publisher may have felt the same way, as this aspect of the book is acknowledged and to some extent justified, in the forward by Robert McKee. I am not anti-God, nor am I against Steven's expression of his passionate beliefs in this way, but as a non-Christian the references lacked relevance.

The War of Art is such a great book; a cherished read.
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on 10 December 2010
This book is great, very easy to read (got through it in about 4 hours, in spite of being massively dyslexic) and helps you to focus and recognise when you're putting off work. Since I've used it I've been writing every day and my work is getting a lot better quicker and I'm finding it easy.

I'd highly recommend.
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