The War of Art

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Book description

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide forsucceeding in any creative sphere, The War ofArt is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid theroadblocks of any creative endeavor—be…


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Why read it?

13 authors picked The War of Art as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

For me, as an artist, there is no greater feeling than bringing a vision into reality and welcoming the formless into form. Having to wrestle with the angels of creativity and the demons of resistance is exhausting, soul-enlivening work. Steven Pressfield brilliantly describes and guides readers through this process in his seminal work The War of Art. Steven invites us to square our shoulders towards all that we’ve been resisting, as a means of facing the life we know we’re capable of and called to live. The book is divided into three parts, or books within the book: Book…

I loved this book because Steven Pressfield turns on a floodlight to show you what self-sabotage truly looks like and masterfully shows you how to tame it. And he does it with a sense of humor and inspiration.

To live consciously and deliberately is the advice shared in the book, and he does such a great job of reminding the reader why we fall prey to and how to avoid self-sabotage. It doesn’t matter if one is an artist, salesperson, or what have you. I found this book to be a really good motivating force and I know others will…

When I started writing, I struggled with being consistent. I used to wait for inspiration and rarely published anything. That completely changed after reading The War of Art. It taught me that everyone struggles with resistance. The only way to overcome it is to show up every day to do the work. So, I no longer wait for inspiration. I sit down every day and write — no matter if I feel like it or not.

From Patrik's list on how to develop self-discipline.

This is a must-read book for everyone, and I recommend reading it again every six months. This book is inspirational, funny, and is a good kick in the pants that we all need to achieve our professional and personal goals. This book will help you examine internal obstacles and create a game plan to conquer your internal foe, so you can fulfill what is truly important to you in life. You know how you can watch a movie or TV show a second and third time, and see things you didn’t see the first time? This is why I believe…

I keep this book on my nightstand because it helps me bust through my creative blocks every time. The opposite of depression is expression. It follows that living a meaningful life is predicated on organized and artful expression. But everyone knows that so much gets in the way of that expression. Professionals and amateurs both are afflicted by creative blocks. Pressfield helps us identify the work we feel called to do and shows us how to do an end-run around all the forms that our resistance may take.

From Sharon's list on making the most meaningful life.

A must-read for any creative person. It's a small book you can finish in an hour, but it's potent enough to change how you think about writing, life, and the universal force of resistance that rises up any time we try and create something beautiful or better ourselves. It’s one of the few books I reread every year, especially when I’m stuck in the middle of a project.

From Shawn's list on helping you heal and grow.

There are not many books that I read more than once. The War of Art is a book that I read multiple times a year. It’s not a book about how to create better content. It’s a book about getting the right mindset and attitude towards creating a daily ritual. There is no book like this, in terms of both motivating and helping you to get things done. Steven Pressfield wrote a masterpiece with this one. 

A quick, engaging read that effectively describes what resistance is and how it holds creators back from unlocking their full potential. For some readers, this book can be the swift “kick in the ass” that they need to start taking their creative calling more seriously. Some of the short, blunt chapters are things you might want to come back to again and again. But if the “just be a professional” approach doesn’t work for you, or if Pressfield’s grumpy uncle “let me tell you how I did it” voice rubs you the wrong way, you might want to skip this…

As artists when we create there are times when we get stuck, blocked, or feel like we can't proceed. There are many reasons why as artists we choose to take time and resources to create. Usually it is a passion we feel, a need to express ourselves creatively, or just to feel the joy of creating. It is important to not let those times of insecurity stop us from creating. This book addresses very clearly and in easy to grasp writing, why we get stuck, and how to not let these reasons keep us from following our dream. Recommended for…

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

This is a holy text, what is – or certainly ought to be – the bible for anyone trying to do anything hard and creative in the world. (Though it wears its bias toward fiction writers on its sleeve.) It breaks down the life-or-death stakes of your battle with Resistance, which is trying to kill the unique gift that you and only you have to offer the world (and the expression of which will fulfill your unique existence on this spinning wet rock). I keep a copy on my bedtable and review my highlighting from it every time I have…

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