If you like the Barney character on 'How I Met Your Mother', this book is hilarious. If you don't... why not?
FYI, many of the anecdotes, asides, and caveats make more sense if you know the details of particular episodes of the show - i.e. (SPOILER ALERT!) the first time Barney sleeps with Robin.
But please, take this book as a joke, not words to live by. Some of the advice is sage ("Never sleep with your Bro's sister"), but more of it is goofy. Not that that's a bad thing. If more people lived this way... it would be a weirder world.
I love Neil Gaiman, I love H.P. Lovecraft, and this is Neil himself reading one of his own stories written in a Lovecraftian world. Does it get any better than that?
No. No, it doesn't.
What happens when an American tourist in England comes across a town that's not on any map?
Is Innsmouth really there?
Read it. Be creeeped out. It's awesome.
(And the sneak peak of 'Ocean at the End of the Lane' will drive you to go buy that book immediately. Just saying.)
Read Pressfield's 'The War of Art' first; this book is a good follow-up to that.
'The War of Art' delineates the enemy of creative work as internal Resistance; it defines Resistance's various incarnations (procrastinating, creating drama, keeping busy with less-important tasks, etc.), and points the way toward defeating Resistance by "turning pro".
'Do the Work' moves on from there to give more detailed instructions and advice on how to overcome Resistance. This includes the counterintuitive admonition to:
"Stay stupid": Ignorance & arrogance are the artist’s & entrepreneur’s indispensible allies. Be clueless enough not to know how difficult the project will be, & cocky enough to believe you can pull it off anyway.
"Begin before you're ready". Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it now.
Don’t over-think, over-prepare, or let research become resistance.
Begin at the finish: Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.
This book has many other gems, such as the Seven Principles of Resistance, the Two Tests of Resistance, the inevitability of the Big Crash (the 'wall' you'll hit when everything seems to be going well) and the two axioms to keep in mind while working through it.
Will 'Do the Work' revolutionize your life or your creative work? Maybe not. But it's great inspiration and a new way of looking at the problem of making art, and for that it's definitely worth it.
As an old-school comic book junkie, I loved this book. Anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to live in a universe filled with super-powered beings, a universe of aliens and magic and time-travel and alternate dimensions, where the bad guys always want to take over the world and the good guys always somehow win in the end, must give this a listen.
The narrators do a fantastic job with the voices (though I did have to overlook a few blatantly mispronounced words), and the story itself is pure comic-book mayhem. The characters all stand out as real and alive, while still somehow being carbon copies of the classic superhero/supervillain stereotypes.
No, this is not on a literary level with 'The Sandman', nor does it contain the brutal realism and moral philosophy of 'Watchmen' - but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment. Once you start this book, it's hard to stop. Check it out!
The material here is great - a must for anyone who wants to write well.
The narrator, though, is far too dry, he mispronounces words, and he entirely fails to make the language engaging.
A book this fundamental to modern English prose deserves better narration.
King's self-deprecating humor, including his admission that he sometimes doesn't follow the advice he's giving, even when it's great advice.
The tips on writing itself, particularly on scheduling work and beating procrastination.
The memoir parts were okay, and they do give some insight into a
King's voice isn't great, but he reads surprisingly well. As the author, he knows exactly which points to emphasize, which helps the whole book come alive.
I have already listened to it several times, and will again. It's great motivation whenever I have writer's block or get in some kind of creative rut.
I haven't read another book quite like it. It covers some themes that have probably been covered in other books on overcoming procrastination, but I've never before seen the concept of 'resistance' addressed this directly and relatably.
Using resistance as a guide - that is, seeing that whatever resistance is working hardest to prevent me from doing, is what I most need to do. So if I'm making every possible excuse not to sit down and write, that's my cue to sit down and write. No matter what.
I could have used a bit more practical, step-by-step advice on how to 'turn pro'. Otherwise, this is a great read/listen.
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