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Enemies of Promise Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, the book is a bit literary and occasionally dated and I even skipped most of the last third, but I'll say it: This is the best book I've ever read on literature, writing and publishing. In it, Connolly discusses all the things that writers face: distractions, critics, influence, self-destructive habits, egotism, financial needs and how these things impacts what they write and whether it will succeed. His famous line "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first call promising" comes from this book and its gems like it that make reading the somewhat tough book worth it.
The first section comes across as a parlor game (similar to placing writers in Isaiah Berlin's Hedgehog or Fox classification system) and ultimately no more helpful than that. The second is full of advice that frequently seems dated and often sexist (writers are encouraged not to have children as the "pram in the hallway" is just a distraction, unless you have a wife willing to deal with said pram and allow you to work). Only the last section, wonderfully written, recalling the petty motivations of boyhood and the intensity of the drive for the "glittering prizes" at Eton, holds up, and even this section goes into details of personalities that were important to the writer but mean little to the reader.Read more ›