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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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A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. hat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavorâbe it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identif ies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.
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"The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear, then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there's no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist. What Henry Fonda does, after puking into the toilet in his dressing room, is to clean up and march out onstage. He's still terrified but he forces himself forward in spite of his terror. He knows that once he gets out into the action, his fear will recede and he'll be okay."
~ Steven Pressfield from The War of Art
This is the 109th review I've created. Up to this point, I've made a lot of strong recommendations on books I think you'd love but I've never said you *must* read a particular book.
I'm gonna break that streak here.
If you're a creative person, you need to read this book. It's that good. And, when I say "creative person" I mean anyone who's committed to creating an authentically awesome life. (And, given the fact that you're reading this, my hunch is that clearly means YOU!)
I'm not sure how many times I've read The War of Art over the years but it's a lot. Each time I pick it up I get a swift kick in the creative butt and my life takes a significant step forward.
As the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and a number of great best-selling novels (my favorite beyond Bagger Vance is Gates of Fire--an incredible portrayal of the classic Spartan warriors), Steven Pressfield knows what it's like to create. He has an extraordinary way of capturing the challenges we face in the War of Art--along with the means by which we can overcome those obstacles (or, as he calls it "Resistance"). Powerful stuff.
Here's just a few of the Big Ideas:
1. Throwing Up - It happens.
2. Work & Its By-Products - Let results take care of themselves.
3. True Love - The amateur vs. the professional.
4. It's 9 O'Clock - Time for inspiration to strike.
5. Time to Turn Pro - A checklist.
To find 250+ more reviews visit http://bit.ly/BrianReviews
If you're an entrepreneur, an artist, a writer, scientist or just about anybody with an internal urge to CREATE something but cannot because of distractions, fears, doubts and apprehensions, then this is the book for you.
This will book show and define the #1 thing that's stopping you from bringing out your creative potential. It's called Resistance and how it behaves and how it beats you.
And then it stresses why we should overcome the resistance and how to overcome it successfully by detaching ourselves from the fruits, operating from a territorial perspective (i.e. Doing work for the sake of doing work).
By the time I reached the small chapter on Gita and Krishna's explanation on doing work for work's sake, I literally had tears in my eyes.
... Because that's the way an artist must operate, not caring for the fruits.
And I can attest my success in my business & job for JUST that. I gave up all hopes, desires & doubts I had.
I didn't care. I just decided to do the work, punched in my time and 3 years later, I'm at a level that's shocking for many (but something I dreamed about).
However, I still have a lot of blocks where I didn't express myself and get the creative part of me and I'm fortunate to have come across this book.
Anyone who is here to CREATE something - read it. It will change your life!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This work is incredibly open and honest. A clarion call to finding the Artist and Warrior within you.