- Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: Black Irish Entertainment LLC (11 Jan. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1936891026
- ISBN-13: 978-1936891023
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 329 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Paperback – 11 Jan 2012
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"A vital gem...A kick in the ass for all of us with a tendency towards procrastination."
"Amazingly cogent and smart on the psychology of creation."
About the Author
STEVEN PRESSFIELD is the author of Turning Pro, 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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* You are deeply unhappy with your life despite feeling that you have an immense urge to create—i.e. tortured by inactivity
* You are astonished by the fact that you find yourself unable to start, but don't know why
* You do not have a muse in person who helps push you
* You dream but do not do
This is a bold claim. I shall modify it slightly: apart from the book that inspires you most—the book in which the author literally moves your hands and guides you to begin, which Dostoevsky and Tolstoy always do—this book is the most important book for any individual that fulfils the above criteria. Certainly, it is the best non-fiction book for anyone whose life is severely affected not only by the fact that they are inactive, but by the more complex state of affairs that for some individuals, the desire to create is not something they choose. Failure to meet this inner demand, which is more important to their existence than almost anything else, leads to self-destruction that is as catastrophic as it is unavoidable. It is the source of much mental illness and therefore physical suffering.
That is why this book is so important: for those who are simply born to create, not creating is tantamount to suicide. This can lead to literal suicide, or the state of suicide that is living a life that makes life a punishment. This book offers the solution to this issue not only through its clear statement of the answer, but by examining what stands in the way of living in accordance with that answer.
The beauty of this book is that the author has centred in on the single-most important truth, and then dramatised this truth, and this struggle, allowing you to use the power of mythology to destroy the evil that is inactivity. I refuse to name what this truth is, because thinking one knows something and being able to act on it is precisely the issue this book solves.
The end result is simple: if you are or know someone who is a person who cannot live without creating (by which I mean someone whose soul was forged to create, to search within and then present that finding to others, whether in the form of literature, music, painting, film or any other creative act—not the embarrassingly generic "I am a creative" description) and that person suffers because they are unable to force themselves to create, usually due to fear, this book is the single-best thing you can read. It is short, sweet, and powerful. It explains not only the problem and the solution, but the effects of the problem. This can shed light on issues that seemed to be disconnected, but were in fact all related to the individual's refusal to act on their nature. In this sense, this book both diagnoses and cures the source of great misery for a certain type of person, and frees them to embrace what they were born to do.
This book is simply essential if you are or know someone who was born to create, but does not.
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.
I bought this due to the consistent 5 star reviews stating how this helped procrastinators. Needless to say, this just left me scratching my head. Not for me.
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