10 books like The War of Art

By Steven Pressfield,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The War of Art. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

I chose Viktor Frankl”s extraordinary book, Man’s Search for Meaning, because, like Dr. Eger’s book, it reveals the indomitable nature of the human heart. The first part of this book is a condensed memoir on the years he spent in a concentration camp during WW2. The second part unpacks, thread by thread, what he learned from this experience, what made the Nazis do what they did, and why some victims can choose life while others perish. Like Dr. Eger’s book, his thesis is the same—ultimately, we have the choice. I also chose this book because my father was one of the soldiers that liberated the survivors of Dachau. After the war, he remained friends with many of the people he helped to liberate and watched them rebuild their lives. This led him to believe that education was the single most important gift you could give someone. He always said,…

Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


The Artist's Way

By Julia Cameron,

Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

When I first heard about The Artist’s Way, I doubted that this was a book for me. Was I wrong! Over the next year, I met monthly with a visual artist to process each chapter. We discussed prompts, our artist date, or what we wrote from the suggested journaling. The invitations at the end of each chapter led me to work that fed my spirit. Transforming theory into action exercised my creative muscles. The variety of creative engagements encouraged a rich body of work and a new confidence, while the book’s quotes introduced me to other thinkers. Artist’s-Way work not only strengthened my words on the page, but my nonprofit and library work flourished as well. I credit The Artist’s Way for pushing my work into award-winning territory.

The Artist's Way

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…


The Practice

By Seth Godin,

Book cover of The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

In The Practice, Godin successfully does that “thing,” that he is so uniquely good at: sharing wisdom with panache and joy, not condescension or cliché. He artfully argues for the creative to better empathize with their audience, and in doing so, create better art. Since, creativity is nothing without impact.

The Practice

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Practice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Purple Cow and This is Marketing comes an elegant little book that will inspire artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to stretch and commit to putting their best work out into the world.

Creative work doesn't come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn't. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.

Based on the breakthrough Akimbo workshop pioneered by legendary author Seth Godin, The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work. Godin insists that…


The Obstacle Is the Way

By Ryan Holiday,

Book cover of The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph

This book is really for anyone trying to do anything hard in life – because life is freaking hard. I actually find this to be the single most useful (and nearly best) nonfiction title in my library (of about 2,500 volumes), and it’s useful for everything – but, given that Holiday mainly makes his living writing bestselling books, once again writers enjoy a particular embarrassment of riches here. Also N.B. – contains the secret of life.

The Obstacle Is the Way

By Ryan Holiday,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Obstacle Is the Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We give up too easily. With a simple change of attitude, what seem like insurmountable obstacles become once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Ryan Holiday, who dropped out of college at nineteen to serve as an apprentice to bestselling 'modern Machiavelli' Robert Greene and is now a media consultant for billion-dollar brands, draws on the philosophy of the Stoics to guide you in every situation, showing that what blocks our path actually opens one that is new and better.

If the competition threatens you, it's time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you…

A Guide to the Good Life

By William B Irvine,

Book cover of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

This book is solely responsible for hooking me on Stoic philosophy, prompting my deep exploration of practical aspects of life in my own book and, most importantly, the application of them to my daily life. William’s writing is easy to follow, and his advice is very practical. I’d advise you to start reading the book from chapter four; and then when you are done with the book, come back to the first three chapters.

A Guide to the Good Life

By William B Irvine,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Guide to the Good Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.
In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using…

Grit

By Angela Duckworth,

Book cover of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit is your ability to stick with long-term goals. It’s what makes you keep going when things get difficult. I’ve always assumed that grit plays a big part in your success. But it wasn’t until I read this book that I realized how crucial this ability truly is. It taught me that grit is the best predictor of success that researchers have found. And it provided fascinating insights into how to improve my own grit.

Grit

By Angela Duckworth,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

UNLOCK THE KEY TO SUCCESS

In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.

'Impressively fresh and original' Susan Cain


Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott,

Book cover of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Lamott recalls when her ten-year-old brother put off a three-month project on birds until the night before it was due. She describes him as immobilized. Their father sagely advised, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Although these soothing words were indisputably not directed towards me, I cannot overstate how regularly they calm me in moments of thinly disguised hysteria. The metaphor is brilliant, plus I adore birds. Lamott frequently reminds the reader how quality writing requires—demands—full attention. So does deep reading. So does deep living. While this book is primarily about writing, it is equally about life—nestled atop a solid foundation of singletasking.

Bird by Bird

By Anne Lamott,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Bird by Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An essential volume for generations of writers young and old. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this modern classic will continue to spark creative minds for years to come. Anne Lamott is "a warm, generous, and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps" (Los Angeles Times). 

“Superb writing advice…. Hilarious, helpful, and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom…

Big Magic

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

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

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Big Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create…

Mindset

By Carol S. Dweck,

Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Dweck’s concept of “growth mindset” is an incredibly useful way to explain why some individuals and organizations respond more effectively to disruption than others. The key is, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella points out, is to shift from being a ‘know-it-all’ to a ‘learn-it-all’. Dweck’s message is “It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.” 

Mindset

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…

Art & Fear

By Ted Orland, David Bayles,

Book cover of Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

A guide to making art for those of use who are not geniuses. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece, just make your pieces of art. If you have a hard time letting yourself make bad art, so that you can one day make great art, this is the one to start with.

Art & Fear

By Ted Orland, David Bayles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art & Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Art & Fear is about the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. Drawing on the authors' own experiences as two working artists, the book delves into the internal and external challenges to making art in the real world, and shows how they can be overcome every day.

First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic, and word-of-mouth has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking and creativity. Written by artists for artists, it…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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