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Do the Work Hardcover – April 20, 2011
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Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don't know where to start?
The answer is Do the Work, a manifesto by bestselling author Steven Pressfield, that will show you that it’s not about better ideas, it’s about actually doing the work. Do the Work is a weapon against Resistance – a tool that will help you take action and successfully ship projects out the door.
“There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.”
Available in both a 5-pack and 48-pack for you to share, as well as a special collectible edition, Do the Work may be just what you need to get out of your own way.
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Pressfield may not be talking about his imaginary friends in the sky this time, but he still loads the book with bits of little wisdom that he turns into foolishness by taking them way too far, to their willfully illogical conclusions. Metaphors about babies and bathwater come to mind.
For example he declares, "Bad things happen when we employ rational thought." Er... no. Bad things happen when we let rational thought stop us from being creative, but that's not the same thing. And bad things also happen when we ignore rational thought altogether in favor of instinct.
A little bit later he cites Lindbergh, Jobs, and Churchill as "stupid" because that's the only way they would have undertaken the seemingly impossible things they did. Um... no. First, that's not stupidity, it's foolhardiness or naïvete; a writer should know the difference. Second, they weren't naïve, either. Jobs understood what he was up against when he returned to Apple; he was just arrogant enough to believe he was up to the task (which Pressfield appropriately praises) and smart enough, analytical enough, critical enough to be right (which is where Pressfield is wrong).
Pressfield sees people doing things like overthinking or ignoring their instincts or being too self-critical (which are all real problems), and then failing (which is what happens), so he apparently concludes that you should *not* think, *always* trust your instincts, *never* listen to your doubts, etc. When the real solution is Balance. Think things thru, but don't obsess about them. Listen to your instincts, but examine their assumptions. Listen to your doubts, but don't let them paralyze you. So read Pressfield's little bits of wisdom if they motivate you, but don't put a metaphorical icepick through the left hemisphere of your brain as he suggests.
Now, I'm no movie-adapted novelist, and I don't have the key to success. But one thing I do know is failure. And it's come at least as often from the don't-think-about-it mindset that Pressfield endorses in this book as from the mindset he's trying to counteract. Every time, the post mortem has indicated that I should've done a bit more of one or the other, not that reason or instinct itself was the enemy. I wasn't taking full advantage of both kinds of thinking. Which is precisely what Pressfield's book encourages.
There are some good motivating ideas to be found in this book, just like there was in War of Art. But having to wade thru mushy-headed stuff like those bits I quoted, just to find that stuff, isn't worth the trouble. Especially when you have Work To Do.
This book had a profound impact on the me. I feel like my past failures were explained. I feel like my past successes were explained. I feel like, for the first time, I truly understand why I quit nearly everything I start and why I can feel invincible in my endeavors one day and completely defeated the next - and I feel equipped to do it differently now.
It is going to sound fake but it isn't -
since reading this book:
I have stuck to my diet
I have taken on some major clients/projects at work
I have watched a LOT less TV and have determined to do what it takes to get my work done for the day
I have been able to defeat the dragon more consistently than ever before.
I am SO glad I read this book. SO glad. This book ranks up with a handful of books that I have read in my life as LIFECHANGERS. This one has been a catalyst for me. You may not have the same experience - but I honestly want to tell everyone I know - Read this book. And then read it again. I am going to have my 17yo read this book over the summer even thought it has some profanity which I am not thrilled with. If it didn't have it - I would have my 11 year old read it as well. Instead, I will just teach him the concepts within the book. They are going to help me in my business this summer and I want them to learn these principles and to master the ability to DO THE WORK.
The result: many projects started, none finished.
Be it from ADHD, or fear of success, or just plain old clinical procrastination -- the key to overcoming this is to simply focus and do the work.
That is what this book is for, to help motivate you to DO THE FREAKING WORK.
It's a small book. It can be read cover to cover -- twice -- in less than a day.
I can't recommend it enough. It gets the job done.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a life changing book, I read the kindle book listen to audible audiobook and the experience is extremely great !!! Thanks again !