- Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: Black Irish Entertainment LLC; 47716th edition (January 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1936891026
- ISBN-13: 978-1936891023
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2,703 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Paperback – January 11, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Novelist Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance; Gates of Fire) goes self-help in The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu's The Art of War and Julie Cameron's The Artist's Way, Pressfield's book aims to help readers "overcome Resistance" so that they may achieve "the unlived life within." Whether one wishes to embark on a diet, a program of spiritual advancement or an entrepreneurial venture, it's most often resistance that blocks the way. To kick resistance, Pressfield stresses loving what one does, having patience and acting in the face of fear. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Drawing on his many years' experience as a writer, Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance) presents his first nonfiction work, which aims to inspire other writers, artists, musicians, or anyone else attempting to channel his or her creative energies. The focus is on combating resistance and living the destiny that Pressfield believes is gifted to each person by an all-powerful deity. While certainly of great value to frustrated writers struggling with writer's block, Pressfield's highly personal philosophy, soundly rooted in his own significant life challenges, has merit for anyone frustrated in fulfilling his or her life purpose. Successful photographer Ulrich (photography chair, Art Inst. of Boston; coeditor, The Visualization Manual) explores the creative impulse and presents an approach to developing creativity that, like Pressfield's, will be relevant to artists and others. He identifies and explains seven distinct stages of the creative process: discovery and encounter, passion and commitment, crisis and creative frustration, retreat and withdrawal, epiphany and insight, discipline and completion, and responsibility and release. He also develops his view of the three principles of the creative impulse, which include creative courage, being in the right place at the right time, and deepening connections with others. Rooted in Eastern philosophy, Ulrich's fully developed treatise nicely updates the solid works of Brewster Ghiselin (The Creative Process), Rollo May (The Courage To Create), and Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way). It also supplements Pressfield's inspirational thoughts on overcoming resistance through introspective questions and practical exercises that further elaborate the creative process. Both books are recommended for public libraries needing additional works on creativity. Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
This is an unorthodox book. You'll finish it in a day or two. It's filled with words like "Resistance" that sound like self-help buzzwords. It isn't. It's a very apt and all-encompassing term for the forces that keep you from doing your life's work, whatever that may be. Distraction, apathy, booze, procrastination, excuses, toxic relationships, depression, and my favorite of Pressfield's: "compulsive screwing up", just to name a few. Anyone honest with himself who has ever claimed to have "writer's block" knows it's a cop-out, an excuse for not sitting down at an empty screen/page, and doing the work.
This book will kick you in the ass and show you how you've been self-sabotaging yourself. It will also fire you up and give you the strength you need to press on and do the work. Pressfield is a kindly drill-sergeant; he holds no punches but you get the feeling that he really wants you to succeed.
As I read the opening chapter on resistance I saw my guilty self on each page. Illusions were shattered. but it inspired me to sit down at the blank screen and do it. You'll read it once and then refer to it again and again as you might work with a coach on your golf swing.
It's a blue-print, not a map, and everyone's experience will be slightly different as they work through their own demons creating their blocks, so don't expect this to solve your problems. It's up to you to kill your own Minotaur. YOU have to do the work. Identifying the things in life that hold you back, the negative thought patterns, perfectionism, etc., is only the beginning.
The third part of the book, the part that addresses that thorny issue of where ideas and inspiration comes from, will be where many will fall by the wayside. Pressfield cautions you not to hold on too tightly to that precious gemstone you call your "talent", and open yourself to other possibilites, that there may be a higher dimensional energy at work here and that we, the artists, writers, dancers, whatever, are only the agents that this energy works through. Call it what you want. god, the universe, the tao, whatever. I think it was jazz great Charlie Parker that said when asked where his ideas come from, "I just try to get out of the way". He meant that he suspended all ego and allowed the work to flow through him from a higher plane. not comfortable with all this higher-dimensional nonsense? Maybe it's not for you.
But The War of Art will help you. It's helping me. Try his other one, Do The Work as well; some of it is redundant, but is still very worth it. you have nothing to lose, only your blocks, so open your mind and try it.
As a writer, the section on resistance was the most helpful. Also, avoiding the hierarchy and utilizing territory was a great perspective. I highlighted several passages inside and even bookmarked a few pages for easy referral when I need it. Interesting book to read when you're facing a bit of resistance.
I know this sounds silly and most people probably wont care but it just feels and looks cheap. If you want what the author says, you'll get it.
I havent noticed it so far but the last book i bought that they printed themselves were missing certain letters on a few pages.
The first part of the book is devoted to resistance, defined as the most toxic force on the planet. Pressfield’s observations of resistance shifted my views on a few topics. For one, wine seems like it ought to relax and open creativity instead of create resistance. However, as I reflect on my own experience wine really does impede my creativity.
His observation about criticism and resistance is something to ponder. Pressfield concludes: Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others.
Also, his thoughts about self-doubt reflecting love in the form of a dream. Interesting that he concludes the counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident! The Hack is one who tries to predict what his audience wants and create accordingly. The Hack is who many marketers would have us be.
Much of his book reminds me of George Lenard’s book Mastery. Both sharing that art of any kind is really self-mastery.
Savor this book and create!