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Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work
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More About the Author
His debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was adapted for screen. A film of the same title was released in 2000, directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron.
His father was in the Navy, and he was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943. Since graduating from Duke University in 1965, he has been a U.S. Marine, an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital and screenwriter.
His struggles to earn a living as a writer (it took seventeen years to get the first paycheck) are detailed in The War of Art, Turning Pro and The Authentic Swing.
There's a recurring character in his books, named Telamon, a mercenary of ancient days. Telamon doesn't say much. He rarely gets hurt or wounded. And he never seems to age. His view of the profession of arms is a lot like Pressfield's conception of art and the artist:
"It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior's life."
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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...".Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At best, a stream of consciousness grouping of blog entries dealing with anything but what the title suggests. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Common Sense
Author has done a good job in His original book War of Art!
This might be waste of time for you.
Decent book. Steven Pressfield delivering as always. This read more like an expansion and less of a book that can stand on it's on. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
As usual while reading, I was marking sentences and passages that struck me. After some time I realized there were more lines highlighted than those unmarked... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Jarek Mirkowski
This book is OUTSTANDING!!! It was referred to me by a Ph.D. who told me it was necessary when I was facing a "writers block". I was inspired. Read morePublished 15 days ago by NDRmornicjo
I reference this book in conversations regularly. Little Pressfield reminders occasionally come to mind and immediately make me rethink whether I'm currently taking correct action... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Mark Powers
No book I've ever read before has affected me so profoundly...in such a life altering way. Somewhere, and I can't say for sure which chapter, sentence or title I was reading when... Read morePublished 19 days ago by J, Merritt O
For any entertainment professionals - you must add this book to your collection. I read it in 2 days because it's such a quick and easy read.Published 19 days ago by Mercedes C Lindsey