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Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work unknown Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 439 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1936891030
ISBN-10: 1936891034
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work
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  • Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way
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  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Total price: $29.75
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War, The Afghan Campaign, The Profession, The Warrior Ethos, Do the Work, and The War of Art among others. He lives in Los Angeles. In 2008, he was made an honorary citizen by the city of Sparta in Greece.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Black Irish Entertainment LLC; unknown edition (May 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936891034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936891030
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (439 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Let me offer an executive summary of "Turning Pro," before I give my detailed response. I consider "Turning Pro" to be a simple to read yet powerful self-help book. It contains a lot of practical wisdom that applies to almost every area of life. In particular, "Turning Pro" diagnoses the problem many of us have of being an amateur who settles for the lower things in life, out of fear and distraction. Pressfield then provides a remedy by defining what it means to Turn Pro and get serious about life and offers some wisdom on how to Turn Pro.

What made "Turning Pro" most useful for me was that it provided the motivation for an extended self-examination. When you understand what Pressfield means by "Turning Pro" you'll be compelled to examine the beliefs, attitudes, and habits of your life to see if they're leading you where you want to go and be.

Pressfield presents his wisdom in easy to read, small chunks. He whets your appetite for becoming a pro and clearly diagnoses the problem. However, even though the final section deals with how to become a pro, I left the book feeling as if there must be more. Maybe I'll need to go back and study the many brief points Pressfield makes: it may be all there, but somehow I felt like something is missing, so I'm giving the book 4 stars. Also, I feel like Pressfield beats a dead horse some times and begins repeating himself.

The book needs a Table of Contents, especially since there are so many small sections. It didn't work on my Kindle version of the book.

Now for the longer review.

For a few years now, I've profited from the works of Stephen Pressfield (as well as Seth Godin, with whom he has now partnered). But this book has a particular appeal to me.
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Pressfield's other book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles literally changed my life. I refer to it regularly when I'm struggling against 'Resistance'. Then came Do the Work, which is one of the weakest books I've read in any genre. Turning Pro falls in between those two. If you haven't read War of Art there might be some inspiration in here, but Turning Pro lacks clarity of message and seems to be a cheap attempt to capitalize on the loyal following for War of Art. I bought this book because of the apparently-new concepts of shadow careers and displacement activities. However, they are only described in passing and I can give you a more explicit and helpful description here: we pursue a shadow career when we sit on the sidelines of our passion (e.g. professor of creative writing instead of a novelist). Displacement activities are things which replace and displace doing our Work (e.g. blogging or reading a good book on writing instead of *actually* writing your novel; writing a review on Amazon...... etc.). If you don't own War of Art, absolutely buy that book. If you own War of Art, read it again, or better yet, sit down and do your Work.
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If you enjoyed "The War of Art" but thought that "Do the Work" was utter crap you'll end up wondering if your fourteen bucks couldn't have been better spent elsewhere when you are finished with this book. Being published ten years after "The War of Art" and having been written during three years you'd expect it to contain more meat than it does.

The chapters of this book are as short as Seth Godin's sentences. Here's an example: "The amateur tweets. The pro works." (Yes, that's the whole chapter.)

One of the book's longest chapters consists of an excerpt from Rosanne Cash's memoir -- detailing her "turning pro" moment. The chapter following that is an excerpt from The War of Art where Pressfield retells his own life-changing moment. The book's third "turning pro" moment is made up of a one-page description of an alcoholic finally deciding that she's had enough of her drinking.

If those descriptions of going pro aren't enough for you, there are plenty of other clues as to what happens when one turns pro:

"What happens when we turn pro is, we finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads. At last we find the courage to identify the secret dream or love or bliss that we have known all along as our passion, our calling, our destiny."

The author describes turning pro as life-changing decision. It is similar to 9/11 in the sense that you never forget where you were when it happened. Pressfield's life can be divided into two parts: before and after he turned pro. This makes it very confusing when he, perhaps as an attempt to show how similar he is to the novice creator, writes that "The amateur is you and me" and "But mostly what we all fear as amateurs...".
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The subject matter, finding AND doing your life's work, is a deceptively difficult topic. Self-doubt, fear of failure, fear of success, and ego can keep us from ever pursuing it.

Many of us end up with a shadow career: a degree removed from our true calling. It could be someone who teaches writing at a university instead of writing the novels that they have dreamed about.

"A shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us."

Pressfield gives examples of his failure and success in his life and others. While you won't be surprised that the amateur phase of his life is full of unrealized potential and disappointment, the professional (from his 30s to present) phase has failure as well, but only by an external definition.

The professional failures are only considered failures as measured by others. Books and scripts that never got published. But these were the years that he honed his craft and became the writer he is today.

As he exhibits throughout the book, turning pro is about doing the work you were meant to do with an internal frame of reference and enjoyment. Credit from others may never come.

Not sure if I agree with his stance on casual sex: "My own theory is that the obsessive pursuit of sex is an attempt to obliterate the ego, i.e., 'normal' consciousness, the monkey-mind that tortures us with restlessness, fear, anger, and self-centeredness."

Need to think about that some more.

Regardless, the book does its job in questioning the reader if they are truly a pro and not just a shadow of one. It compliments The War of Art. Make sure to read both.
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