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on November 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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on August 30, 2003
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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on September 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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on August 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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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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on 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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on July 15, 2004
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. However, I give it just 3 stars for these reasons and because the publisher has no business putting a $12 price tag on a book this short. If you have a chance to buy this book at a used book store or borrow it from someone, it's worth your time (and it won't take much time - I finished it in one day). Otherwise you're better off saving your money.
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on July 5, 2003
This is an outstanding book for all those frustrated in their search for creative fulfillment.
In it, the author puts forward some very interesting hypotheses. For example, he argues that it is creative frustration that is basically the root of all that ails society. To someone who suffers from it primarily, I guess it can look that way, and may even in fact be that way.
I'm not certain everything in the book is correct or the best approach to looking at the problem. But I think people struggling with these issues should read it thoroughly and decide for themselves.
In some ways a more masculine approach that Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones or Cameron's The Artist's Way, Pressfield anthrpomorphises artist's block as "Resistance", an enemy to be fought and defeated daily. Seems exhausting, and it probably is.
I'm currently looking around for really effective solutions to this issue. Most advice comes down to "just do it" but this book provides an interesting framework to think about the problem.
I would very much enjoy living in a world where the problem of creative block was solved comprehensively.
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on December 5, 2010
"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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on November 18, 2015
Entertaining but not at all what I expected. It just ges on repeatedly on a few of the key issues that prevent artists (and many people) from achieving their goal (ie procrastination, resistance etc.) and is very dramatized. If I had not purchased this in audio format I would have never gotten through it as he really rants on and on :(
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