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Feb 26 2007

The War of Art – Win Your Creative Battles

Well, I have just finished reading the War of Art, by Steven Pressfield and I thought I would write a few words about my experiences with the book. I first heard about the book via a post at 43Folders.com and I added it to my book reading list. A few months later, and a bit of spare time found me with the book in hand.

Being an avid martial artist, I had read the Art of War by Sun Tzu on numerous occasions, so I was intrigued by the title “The War of Art”.


The book is split into three books, Resistance, Combating Resistance, and Beyond Resistance. Book One identifies what is known as resistance. Resistance is the little devil inside us all that prevents us from doing our work. The devil that pulls us off our project to read Lifehacker or 43Folders, or dare I say it, watch a video, that turns into an hour on YouTube. The author makes a great statement about writing.

The act of writing is not hard, the act of sitting down to write is what causes us the challenge.

Being a bit of a writer myself (with six published books to show) I can relate to this comment. I don’t consider myself having a motivation problem (I would not have wrote six books if I had!) but sometimes I can admit that it is the actual sitting down to work on the new proposal or flesh out the initial chapters which is the hardest. Once you are sat at your desk, in gear, the words do tend to flow. This brings me onto the power of starting. Again, there is a great statement in the book from the Scottish explorer W.H. Murray, how true is this?

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

Book two covers the difference between amateurs and professionals. An amateur is somebody who does whatever they do for fun. A pro is somebody who does what they do for fun, and a living. It is amazing how this reliance upon personal finances has a peculiar way of focusing the mind. I am just starting out on a new journey myself, leaving my job after five years of starting the company to go it alone, trying out a few things here, and a few things there.

Book three covers the invisible physic forces that support and sustain us in our journey towards ourselves. The author gets into angels and muses, and although I found it hard reading it is worth the effort as the general statement of the chapter is positive.

Although this is not the easiest book to read, it is still one I recommend. The book is more like a collection of little statements and does not really follow on in the true sense of a book. It is something that you could just pick up every now and then and give it a read.

UPDATE – 43Folders have posted another entry and also a podcastthat covers this neat little book. Be sure to check it out at 43Folders.com.

Click on the following link to purchase the book through Amazon.com.

  • 2 Comments... What do you think?
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  1. Travis Eneix said on March 7th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    An excellent review of an amazing little book. I read The War of Art last year as I was ramping up for NaNoWriMo (second year as a winner), the timing was perfect. As a starting fiction writer, and martial artist of 17 years, I ate up all of Pressfield’s concepts.

    I wrote the man a fan note through his website and got a reply in under 20 minutes. Good times.

    Reply
  2. [...] wrote a review of a great book called the War of Art, be sure to check this out if you have not already done so. This book covers the demons, or muses [...]

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