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The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles [Paperback]

Steven Pressfield , Shawn Coyne
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 11 2012
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 endeavor-be 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 War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles + Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work + Do the Work
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Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
"The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance: 1.) The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or uncoventional." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcome resistance to living the life you love Nov. 5 2003
If you have a passion in your life -- writing, painting, music, sculpting, dancing, acting -- and if this passion is the reason you believe you're alive, then check out this book. One of Pressfield's premises is that we're all MEANT for something, we're each here for some reason, to create something in the world (Eternity is in love with the productions of time) and if we don't live for and through this, then we're wasting our time. He blasts away even the most stubborn and alluring resistances - the excuses we tell ourselves for not doing the work. This book can rev you up -- it's short (165 pages)and powerful. I breezed through the book in a few hours and felt energized. Pressfield puts art-making in perspective, puts procastination in perspective, and delivers in a direct, conversational tone -- as one human who is trying to live a life that means something to another. I've read a lot of "how to" books and most don't live up to their hype. This one deals with how to overcome the obstacles of ambition and how (and why) to discipline yourself. As much as a cliche as it may sound, it will make a difference in how you look at what you do. Give it to anyone else you know who wants to write, paint, act, dance, compose, and wants to follow their dream.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I teach entrepreneurship to both artists and non-artists at a Boston nonprofit. We encourage all of our students to read The War of Art, and everyone who has read it says it has changed their life. Often, upon finishing the book, students are motivated to make some major decision or change that they have been agonizing over, and many students also get their spouse or kids to read it.
TWOA's main virtue is the clarity, precision, and conciseness with which it describes both the causes of, and cure for, creative blocks. Thanks to its clarity, etc., the reader can easily assimilate the points Pressfield is making and apply that information to make changes in his or her life. Because TWOA nails its topic so effectively and efficiently, I actually think it is more useful than other books on this topic, including best sellers such as Covey's Seven Habits.
I don't agree with every point Pressfield raises--for instance, he is somewhat skeptical of therapy, whereas I think it is often crucial--but there is no denying that this is a fantastically useful and effective book. In "real life" and on Amazon, I recommend it to everyone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Only for Artists Sept. 1 2003
Without rehashing what this book is about, I want to tell you what it does: It pushes you to move beyond your current way of thinking about your creativity and removes the obstacles preventing you from taking greater creative actions.
I am not an artist, but rather an entrepreneur. The morning after I finished the book (it's a very quick read), I took what was previously a half-finished idea, fooled around with it for a while, saw it through to its completion and started using it as a marketing tool right away. It instantly became one of my most powerful methods for driving customers to my business. If I had not read the War of Art, the idea might still be unformed and unused.
If you're stuck in your way of thinking about problems in art, business or life, give this book a shot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to turn 10% inspiration into 90% Aug. 19 2009
Creativity is innate, but productivity is not. The book is composed of short chapters that may be read one at a time, as meditations that slowly penetrate like a drop of oil into wood. In a similar fashion to Betty Edwards' "New Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain Workbook", you will learn to "trick" your brain into forgetting about distractions and focussing on taking just the first tiny steps forward.

Highly recommended as a reasonably priced gift for creative youths and adults.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Are you creative, yet are facing writer's block? Read this book and it'll shake your block loose and help set you free!
In this slim volume Stephen Pressfield discusses the inner naysayer we all have within us, also referred to as an inner critic by most writers.This book helps you identify and defeat the negative self talk any creative person must deal with. It does so in a serious tone, sprinkled with lots of humor. For example, the heading of one of his essays is "How To Be Miserable" - it was an essay that had me chuckling. It also had me nodding my head as I recognized myself in what he wrote.
Written using a variety of short essays, this book is easy to pick up and read at any point. I read it from the first page to the last, in order. You don't necessarily need to do that to benefit from Stephen Pressfield's wisdom about the inner struggle creative people face from day to day. Read from beginning to end does have it's advantages though -- the author takes aim at resistance, procrastination, rationalization, and finally at the end winning the war. When we win the war of art we are free to create, free to be truly happy.
This is one of the best books I've read on the subject. It helped me identify my own foibles then smash the blocks holding me back. I saw myself in each page and triumphed along with the author. This is an excellent book for any creative person. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration from a new perspective May 22 2002
I picked up a copy of The War of Art after spying it on the shelf and bought it out of admiration for the author's previous works and out of curiosity about his angle on this subject.
The War of Art seems akin to the likes of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. This is very good company to be in, in my opinion.
The War of Art is a quick read and, for me, held some measure of inspiration on every page. The book's central theme is a look at the artist's (writer, painter, anyone's inner creative self) constant battle with the evil of what Pressfield personifies as Resistance. I found this particular perspective on a very familiar problem (packaged and addressed in other ways in the works I mentioned above) to be one that I could identify with and while in the course of reading it I found myself making adjustments to my thinking about my work. That's what we all hope for from books, I think, and only a few deliver on that.
Pressfield designs an entertaining reading experience with this book, too. A great for instance is his use of a line from John Wayne in the classic western film The Searchers. I knew I'd met a kindred spirit.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Insightful...Honest!
I enjoyed Pressfields perspective on the artist and our calling so to speak. I have seen far too many people destroying themselves from within simply by following a path not of... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Brian Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, quick read if you feel stuck
Very inspirational! A great, quick read if you feel stuck.
Published 13 days ago by Bibi
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightfull and Telling it Like it is.
Wow, I found a new author (for me) that writes from the heart and tells it like it is. Great inspiration and kick in the butt to get back to what I love more and wonderful example... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Ken Ballard
4.0 out of 5 stars No disappointment here.
Same comments as for Do The Work. Worth reading several times.
Published 1 month ago by Ted Randal
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have
This is a go to book for all - especially artistic people - who embark on the journey of forward momentum. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Colwell
5.0 out of 5 stars It's helped me to further learn to "Put in the effort because it's...
I've read 95% of it thus far and it's amazing. It's helped to spark some real essential thoughts and feelings within me that have helped me to begin to develop my inner... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Soorena
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. Very well written. Highly enjoyed it.
Published 3 months ago by Vanja Vojvodic
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring and challenging
Steven's words flow through this book with the ease that only comes from the discipline he's applied to his craft of writing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marilyn Wardrop
5.0 out of 5 stars useful and beautiful.
Loved this book. Very useful for anyone trying to beat resistance. I've already talked all my friends into reading it. And they love it too. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Shawn D. Phelps
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
A nice read. An easy read. A book that makes you stop and think about where your life is going and how you're getting there. I will be keeping this book to read again.
Published 4 months ago by Chris Fraser
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