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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Hardcover – 22 Sep 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 22 Sep 2015
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (22 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408866730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408866733
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 2.9 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her . Gilbert's prose is fuelled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and makes the reader only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in (Jennifer Egan, New York Times Book Review)

A writer of incandescent talent (Annie Proulx)

Gilbert dares us into adventures of worldly discovery (Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times Book Review)

Sumptuous ... Gilbert's prose is by turns flinty, funny, and incandescent (New Yorker)

Readers prepared to enter Gilbert Time will be rewarded: she is an unflaggingly curious writer, prone to delightful touches (Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times)

Smart but unpretentious, funny, warm, and generous . By the end of one of her books, you feel as if she is your friend, too (San Francisco Chronicle)

Charming . Her tone is relentlessly endearing. It's like talking to your hippy-est friend, the one who never turns up at the right bar but always makes you feel great once she's got there . Some great stuff about the power of ideas themselves, about how utterly useless emotions such as fear are when trying to do anything creative, and why we all have a right to live creatively (The Debrief)

Gilbert writes about enchantment and wonder, but her feet are always firmly on the ground .Eminently practical . Witty and self-aware, she never urges her readers to just follow their dreams or to believe that they can't fail, or any of the usual platitudes often thrown at people with creative ambitions . It's all very refreshing . In almost every section of Big Magic I found something that rang perfectly true to my situation, something that helped me to view my work and creative stumbling blocks in a new and more productive way . Whether you're worried about getting started, burning out, making money, failing or even succeeding, there is something in this book that will speak to you (Irish Times)

Gilbert offers powerful insights into the mysterious nature of creativity, and she delivers the vibrant message that we can all find, and create, magic (Veggie)

Doing that [Turning fear into a positive force in your life] starts simply by acknowledging that having fear isn't the same as letting it control you. In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes this brilliantly, explaining that living life healthily alongside fear is like taking it on a road trip (Top Sante Health and Beauty)

I was feeling fragile about quite a few exciting projects that were up in the air. This book, which is all about creativity, helped me recognise anxiety is just part of the creative process, which made me much more accepting of the way I was feeling. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love - she's so open and makes me laugh. I buy this for loved ones and recommend it to clients and students who I think will find it inspiring (Eve Menezes Cunningham Fit & Well)

Absurdly comforting (Mslexia)

Review

'[Listeners] prepared to enter Gilbert Time will be rewarded: she is an unflaggingly curious writer, prone to delightful touches.' (The Sunday Times)

'Sumptuous ... Gilbert's prose is by turns flinty, funny, and incandescent.' (The New Yorker)

'Gilbert dares us into adventures of worldly discovery.' (The New York Times Book Review)

'Smart but unpretentious, funny, warm, and generous. By the end of one of her books, you feel as if she is your friend, too.' (San Francisco Chronicle)

'If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her. Gilbert's prose is fuelled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and makes the [listener] only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in.' (The New York Times Book Review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Big Magic is a charming, inspiring, and deceptively wise work. On the one hand, it’s deeply mystical (for example, the title comes from Gilbert’s concept of “Big Magic” as some sort of universal energy). On the other, it’s incredibly pragmatic, offering sage advice that applies to anyone engaged in a creative pursuit, whether purely for the joy of it or to make a living as well. This isn’t a “how-to” guide, but a series of essays and meditations on some of the challenges and contradictions involved in creative endeavours.

Some more rationality-loving readers might find the beginning of the book a little “out there” as Gilbert attempts to make sense of how creativity works in her own life. The theory that ideas are floating around in the universe looking for an owner was a big stretch for me, and the anecdote involving Ann Patchett is something I, personally, would file under “extraordinary coincidence.” Despite this, Gilbert’s endearing and self-effacing writing style means she comes across as passionate without being dogmatic, and encouraging without being pretentious.

Although the first couple of sections read more like magical realism, the rest of the book is down-to-earth and sensible, packed with valuable insights, suggestions and advice. Topics she covers include self-ownership (taking responsibility for your creative life), education vs. experience, commitment, not needing a permission slip, dealing with other people’s judgements and opinions and how to "follow your passion” when you have no clue what your passion is.

She also tackles pervasive creativity-related myths, such as those of the impoverished artist and the tortured artist. Rather than leaving our creative fate in the hands of the universe, Gilbert’s message is clear: stop complaining, show up, don’t wait for permission, and avoid getting distracted by things like discussions about high art vs. low art.

In other words, just focus on creating—and enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recently, the wonderfully inspiring author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things published a new book for aspiring writers. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Big Magic is her first self-help book and as is as witty and humorous as Eat, Pray, Love. I took it with me on my solo trip to the Isle of Eigg and it was the perfect book to bring for those long rainy days when I couldn't get out but needed some inspiration and motivation to write. I haven't read other books about writing but I am sure after reading this that this is in a class of its own. When I first started reading it I thought that I probably wasn't going t get much out of it but I was still loving EG's style. She writes like she is speaking to a friend in the room. Big Magic is written openly and honestly and so therefore rather courageously I thought. One of the things which impacted me was the way she expressed the magical things that sometimes happen when one if writing. Perhaps some will scoff when they read about her theory that inspiration is floating around looking for creative people to birth these ideas or perhaps some will think, it's a good enough explanation as any. Elizabeth Gilbert offers quite a lot of sage advice as well as some wonderful personal anecdotes. I was totally wrong when I thought I would get nothing from it but an enjoyable read. This book is extremely encouraging and so much fun to read. At times she had me chuckling to myself and even laughing out loud. I was so inspired to write for the pure joy of writing that I ended up having an encounter of my own with 'big magic'. I wrote (or perhaps channeled) a short story of over 5000 words without hardly a pause except it was getting late and I was fighting sleep to keep going.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2015
Format: Hardcover
Very interesting. However for 272 pages Elizabeth Gilbert is basically saying the same thing over & over....& over....& over but intercepted with some interesting quotes from other authors. It is a motivational book indeed but it really bored me with the lectureous chapters droning on about fighting your fear. Perhaps some writing exercises would have been good here & there to motivate us further or perhaps inspiring us to look differently at that same old man who sits on the park bench every day:where is his home? What is he thinking every day?

A disappointing book.
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Format: Hardcover
I tried and tried with this book, but it is just so incredibly waffley. Basically, you can read the opening paragraph of each chapter and have the same understanding of the book as reading it in it's entirety.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this book a little light on substance to begin with. Nice stories, perfectly pleasant; but then, as some of them end, they become little parables to carry with you through life and they really do add some meaning to it all. I am torn between reading it over again immediately or going off to make something...anything. Which is rather the point, beautifully made.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my second favorite therapy book after The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
The book is based around 'The law of attraction' principal. I'm on the fence about that but the book has helped me a lot with gratitude. I suffer from anxiety, depression and negative thinking. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about so many things to be grateful for... things that didn't even cross my mind. The exercises helped, especially keeping a gratitude journal. Even if you are on the fence about 'The law of attraction' there is still some great advice to take away from this book.
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