Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Book description

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

12 authors picked Big Magic as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

While I loved this author’s book Eat, Pray, Love, I have to choose her title Big Magic as my favorite of all time. It’s sort of a self-help book exploring the mysterious world of inspiration, but it reads like a memoir. She has a beautiful writing style that I admire. This is a blueprint to finding your own path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of. I like the title too!

Big Magic is a book about living life as a creative. It’s a book about having the courage to create what you were made to create, to be all of the glorious you that God whispered into being when the world around you is trying to shape you into some other mold.

I’ve read this book several times and listened to it on audiobook. After living through my catch-playing year and writing about it, when my story forever got connected to the story of Dan Bryan and Ethan C. Bryan, I personally experienced Big Magic.

“Create whatever causes a revolution…

Magic often comes from an author’s ability to touch me with their voice, to challenge me with their words, and to inspire me to think about my own perspective. Gilbert’s prose contains passages achingly brutal in their honest perspective; passages that tear my heart out, stomp on it, and then put it back so that it beats in a new way. 

Do I agree with everything she writes? Not completely—the areas where I disagree have allowed me to define for myself the value of creativity in people’s lives. Like Gilbert, I believe everyone is creative. I also believe that we…

I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love, but Big Magic showed me what the hype surrounding Eilzabeth Gilbert is all about. This book helped dispel some of the deep-seeded “artists die broke and alone” socially imparted beliefs that I didn’t even realize were hidden deep down there. It also gave me a language for talking about the ideas I have that aren’t right for me (or aren’t right for me right now), which is incredibly freeing. It strips the guilt, shame, and most of the frustration away from “writer’s block,” and that gave me a fresh perspective on creative…

From Melanie's list on to make your marketing more creative.

What I love about Elizabeth Gilbert is the way she celebrates the good things in life, even from within the deepest grief. Gilbert’s Big Magic is a heartfelt hymn to the creative and spiritual soul in all of us, and an exploration of where our instincts can lead us if we only learn to trust them. With characteristic honesty, wit, and curiosity, Gilbert evokes the numinous in a way that never feels forced or sentimental, and reminds us to “create whatever causes a revolution in your heart” and – gloriously - to be “the weirdo who dares to enjoy.”

I get a little gun-shy when it comes to books that may “feel” a little foo-foo. You know, gems, crystals, incense… This is not that. The famed author of Eat Pray Love writes beautifully about the power of finding and bringing out your creative spirit. This is another book that I could read time and time again. Beyond the pragmatic advice, the writing is a sight to behold on its own. After reading this book, it felt like a block had been unplugged… and the ideas just poured out…

Reading Big Magic is like sitting with a wise, trusted, loving friend whose very presence is an inspiration. Throughout the book Elizabeth Gilbert generously shares her personal experiences dealing with fear, setbacks, obstacles, and self-doubt. Hell, if none other than the author of Eat Pray Love struggles—and ultimately overcomes—fear, negativity, and self-sabotage, I’m comforted and inspired to open myself up to what Gilbert describes as “the hunt to uncover jewels the universe buries deep within us…and then stands back to see if we can find them.” This, she says, is creative living. Thanks, Liz, I needed that. ☺

Worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love writes for all artists about the creative process. Often books about techniques and processes can be a tough read, but Gilbert is a wonderful writer and takes this topic to a place where the reader is bound to be inspired. Not just for artists but this book will also add enormously to anyone who wants their life to be more fulfilling. Gilbert adds plenty of ways to enhance our lives with more mindfulness and passion.

From Nancy's list on for painters to stay creative.

This book arguably saved my life. N.B. I would no sooner read Eat, Pray, Love than eat my own face. But this is a deeply and profoundly wise exploration on the Artist’s Journey for a writer – about honoring your talent and craft, supporting it instead of making it support you, and even finding joy and whimsy in what many (including, admittedly, Pressfield) approach as a vicious and violent struggle to the death. (“It's such a gangster move,” Gilbert notes, “because hardly anybody ever dares to speak of creative enjoyment aloud, for fear of not being taken seriously as an…

An honest, inspiring, playful and curious conversation not just about the creative process but about living creatively. As an artist, I deeply understand how alive and fickle creativity is and Gilbert guides the reader to approach your own creative living with wonder, playfulness, courage, and unattachment. She’s the creative godmother I’ve always wanted, forever encouraging us into a playfully collaborative relationship with the universe.

From Day's list on nature, art, and ritual.

Want books like Big Magic?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like Big Magic.

Browse books like Big Magic

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in life satisfaction, creativity, and courage?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, creativity, and courage.

Life Satisfaction Explore 130 books about life satisfaction
Creativity Explore 84 books about creativity
Courage Explore 31 books about courage