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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 (72 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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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
8 of 8 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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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to expectations July 15 2004
By A Customer
After reading several glowing reviews of this book, I was eager to read it for myself in an effort to unlock my own creativity. I did enjoy the first part (dealing with Resistance) because it did a good job of describing just exactly what kinds of forces creative people are up against and how those forces manifest themselves. If the rest of the book had been that good I would have given it 4 or 5 stars. However, I thought things really went downhill from there. Pressfield could easily have squeezed all the important and useful information in this book into absolutely no more than 50 pages. And I don't mean simply compressing all the text as opposed to using the "Life's Little Instruction Book" format with often no more than a short paragraph on a page, leaving the rest of the page blank. I can understand why the book is formatted that way. What I mean is that much of the book, and especially the information after part I, struck me as being so esoteric and repetitious that it was of little use and added nothing to the book. For instance, the point that an artist should simply stop procrastinating and get to work instead of waiting for inspiration to strike is a valid one, and I think Pressfield is correct that something kind of magical happens after the process starts. However, going on and on and on about this subject for several pages was unnecessary and monotonous. Pressfield also comments several times on his disdain for "self help" programs or "workshops," yet in the end this book struck me as being precisely that. I'm not a fan of the self help craze, so I felt uncomfortable with much of this book. Overall I am still glad I read this book, if for no other reason than to glean the helpful information in part I. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The War of art Oct. 28 2012
Steven Pressfield is a great read for any writer wanting to understand why procrastination serves no benefit. Writing is a practice, like meditation, running or mindfulness. If you want help improving your writing practice, I urge you to read Mr. Pressfield's book. You won't be disappointed. He certainly walks the walk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"It is a friendly, easy to read, multifaceted, Getting-Things-Done, spiritual kick-in-the-butt reference book which is totally recommended 4 EVERYONE!

I've read many great books (including "How to Win Friends and Influence People" & "Think and Grow Rich"), and this one by Steven Pressfield IS one of the most vital breakthrough books ever written! I generally tend to judge a book by its cover, but that definitely wasn't the case with this un-showy masterpiece of creativity inspiration at its absolute, positive finest!

BUY it NOW and gratefully read it...It is an absolute bargain!

[PS: I do have to mention that this vital publication certainly merits a much more exemplary cover, and I wouldn't have bought it, had it not been highly recommended by (believe it or not) Robert T. Kiyosaki of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" fame]"
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Self Help
This book can act as a self- help book for almost anyone. The topic that it covers does not only apply to people working in the fine arts but could easily be applied to daily life. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Matthew Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
Heard about this book on the Joe Rogan Experience pod cast and it is definitely a must read. I wish I had a stack of these books to just hand out to people on the street. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Jonathan Rogerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed….!
Just what I needed. I have read this 3x already. Great read and motivating.
The right book at the right time.
Published 1 month ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars The war of art
Loved this book. I applied it to so many areas of my life. The concept is simple but Pressfield really hit home for me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and eminently readable!
What an inspiration this book is for every writer, artist, and creator of beauty. A must read for students and anyone looking to make a difference in life.
Published 1 month ago by Peter Andersen
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should have this book to read and periodically review. Loved...
This book is really helpful because it is at the heart of everything we do or more often resist doing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by gloria
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the truth about resistance
This book was recommended to me and I'm so glad that I ordered it. I started looking at it the afternoon it was delivered and couldn't put it down.
Published 2 months ago by Bonnie Copeland
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book changed my life.
This book changed my life. It was a quick and easy read but incredibly profound and enabled me to reflect on my own creative struggles, understand them, and find the courage and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nur Shodjai
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I've read many books on writers block and this one surprisingly gave some new insights. The author takes on an approach of professional vs amateur that will put some fire in your... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lana
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone who is struggling with being creative
Pressfield does an amazing job of describing the challenges that people have with being creative. His use of the word "Resistance" and his debunking of the myth that... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris Johnston
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