The War of Art
Published Jan 2012
What’s it about?
This book has probably the best Foreword of any book I’ve ever read. As it states, ‘I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem’. If you write as part of your job I would suspect that you will be hooked by the end of the foreword.
The purpose of the book is to help you recognise and respond to your internal resistance to make progress and achieve your dreams. It’s primarily about the challenges of writing, but I think it can be applied to most any goal or skill that you are trying to achieve. That might be starting or building your business, or anything which results in other giving judgement.
The book is structured in 3 distinct sections, labelled: Book 1: Resistance, Book 2: Combating Resistance, Book 3: Beyond Resistance. The first and 3rd sections are very good. I have to say the author lost me a bit through the middle section, which got a bit spiritual for my liking. But this is an easy book to read, and I would recommend that you read it in one sitting. It took me about 2 ½ hrs to read from end-to-end.
What did I think?
There’s a lot of discussion on mastery of your craft. This is definitely a theme running through many of today’s business books. What I like about Pressfield’s book is that it made me feel that I wasn’t alone in my ability to sabotage my own success! Pressfield makes you aware, through references to other successful people, that sometimes things don’t get any easier, you just have to be more determined to push on through.
This is one of those very few books that I think is worth a second reading. If anything, to combat the loneliness of being a writer, and to remind yourself that destiny is in your hands (as I said before, it probably does get a bit spiritual at points – not something that ordinarily appeals to me.)
“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
“Are you paralysed with fear? That’s a good sign.”
“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more we can be sure that we have to do it.”
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection. self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt and humiliation.”
Should you buy it?
If you need to write as part of your job – i.e. bogging, white papers, case studies, then you will have experienced writers block, or more importantly, self-doubt. You might not recognise it as this. You might recognise it as procrastination (which is one thing I am very confident I am an expert in!). If you’ve been affected then this book is well worthwhile.
Buy a copy of the book by clicking on the link below.