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Book Review: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art is an ode to the writer who can’t seem to put ambition to the pen; the runner who won’t commit to that haunting jog; as well as the entrepreneur who isn’t embarking on the venture of their dreams.

Author Steven Pressfield has put a name to the very wall that so many of us face in our vocations or hobbies: Resistance. Pressfield sets out to define and then battle Resistance.

Right off the bat, Pressfield sets the stage by declaring the many stabs that Resistance throws at the artist. He sums up its objectives when he writes that Resistance will try to reject any “immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.”

The rest of “Book One” indicates the many characteristics of this seemingly gigantic obstacle. Pressfield uniquely conveys each characteristic as a separate chapter; adding to that, each chapter is roughly a paragraph or two in length.

So if you consider yourself to be too weighted-down with other projects to consider this book, think again. If I were to guess, you could finish The War of Art in one day – two max.

“Book Two” is solely centered on how to combat resistance – what it means to turn pro. According to Pressfield, the difference between an amateur and a professional is that amateurs are “weekend warriors and professionals are there seven days a week.”

He then goes on to attest that Resistance dislikes it when we turn pro. He follows up this accusation by walking us through the mind of the affirmed professional.

Lastly, “Book Three” takes us far beyond the surface of The War of Art as a strategic guide of combat; “Book Three” delves into the spiritual realm of art. At the mention of angels and the nine mythological Muses, the reader has to make a purposeful shift of understanding if they are to keep up with Pressfield’s desired understanding.

In other words, “Book Three” is about respecting and earning the experience of art. He says that eventually, we must separate the ego from the self; by doing this, we will be truly living our lives – being the artist that we were meant to be.

For me, The War of Art adequately put a name to a force that I feel lurking behind me every time I get behind a keyboard. I can’t testify to the tangible presence of Resistance as a force, but I can agree that there is a wall between each of us and the thing that we wish to achieve.

After college, I hope I can say that I will be going pro, and Pressfield’s book as undoubtedly aided this goal. If you’re facing the very struggle that Pressfield says that all dreamers face, I highly recommend you read this book – even if only for perspective.

About Elliott Scott

  • Renita Wellman

    You wrote:
    Right off the bat, Pressfield sets the stage by declaring the many stabs that Resistance throws at the artist. He sums up its objectives when he writes that Resistance will try to reject any “immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.”
    He said that Resistance favors immediate gratification and rejects integrity.

  • http://theclimbalifetime.com Elliott Scott

    Renita,

    You’re absolutely correct Renita. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. What I should of said is that Resistance favors any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth….

    I apologize for the mix-up!