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Big Magic

Creative Living Beyond Fear
Narrated by: Elizabeth Gilbert
Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19,323 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The instant number-one New York Times best seller

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” (PopSugar)

From the worldwide best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of. Fantastic inspiration for the new year.  

Readers and listeners of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy. 

©2015 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Listeners looking for permission or encouragement to pursue their creative endeavors will find writer Elizabeth Gilbert...to be a confident cheerleader and guide. With a conversational delivery and warm, confiding tone, Gilbert exhorts listeners to respect inspiration and to put in the time and hard work to bring those ideas to fruition." ( AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 09-23-15

Biggest Inspiration In a Long Time

Embrace your ideas, accept and have a conversation with your fear.
I didn't pre-order this book, was ready to pass on it, but then I re-watched Elizabeth's TED talk on "Your elusive creative genius," acknowledged I'd hit a roadblock in my own life, and knew, yup. This might be just what I need.
And it was mind-blowingly good.
Naturally, it's not a perfect book, but for something that's not even 6 hrs. it sure does pack a whole lot into it. You'll learn that fear goes hand in hand with creativity, but the thing to do is to take it on the journey with you but let it know it absolutely will NOT be driving.
The most enchanting concept Gilbert discussed was that the earth is inhabited by Ideas that are just waiting for humans to claim them for manifestation. Which I really feel is true. Sometimes I feel the whole goosebump prickle/brick over the head/just got an amazing idea thing, and it's off to the races. But Gilbert goes further through the entire book because creativity is a long, long process. And sometimes we let it be disheartening, sometimes we even view it as the worst, most abusive person in the world when, really, creativity values and needs us. We have the opportunity to open our very souls to wonder, and we can invite even more inspiration into our lives, when we feel stumped, by taking baby-steps of action, and by simply declaring that we enjoy our creativity--we have to appreciate what we have. Plus, gotta kick the perfectionist habit which is fear-based; the way to function best is as "the disciplined half-ass" (which is a TOTAL relief to me. The half-assed part, I'm working on the discipline...)
This book is all about living these temporary lives of ours as joyously, as vividly as possible. Go ahead. Have an affair with your creativity! Steal away with it for 15 minutes here, 15 exciting minutes there! Let's treat it like we love it!
Truly wonderful audiobook. Great prose, and Gilbert has a wonderful speaking style.
By the way? Another reviewer mentioned the lobster. I've gotta admit: It really is indeed a memorable story that'll stick with you

167 of 182 people found this review helpful

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You Don't Need Permission ~~~

Beautiful Book--and Beautiful Narration!

Truly inspirational. So many things that Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in this book click with me from past thoughts~~maybe it's already been done, somebody already thought about it, etc. Her response is - So What? Almost everything in the world has been thought of or attempted before- but maybe never followed up on. That is not a reason to stop--because some of those ideas are still floating around out there just waiting to enter the head of someone who is ready to pick them up and complete them. She gives a unique and almost unbelievable example of this about a book she thought of writing - but didn't. However, I do believe it because I have had similar type events happen in my life - though not that extreme.

She brings to the forefront all of the reasons people have of putting off their dreams - "someday when I have a better job, get married, lose weight, make more money, live in a bigger house" and on and on. The perfect time will never come --so just do it.

Highly Recommended!

38 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Bright flashes of the blindingly obvious

Elizabeth Gilbert can write, this is undeniable. Many passages in this book are elegantly written and bring forth detailed images in your mind of the stories that she's telling.

unfortunately most of the actual content is painfully simplistic she draw simplistic conclusions such as, "being creative is hard but you should do it anyway,."

She often reinforces her point with long lists of explanatory terms which ultimately feel somewhat insulting as if I didn't get the idea from the first example. ( The chapter about tricksters just made me angry the examples went on for such a long time.)

it also felt a lot like she couldn't quite decide whether to write a book about how to write a book, or whether to write a book about creativity. iIt's pretty muddy whether this is actually focusd on writing as a creative outlet or if it's more broadly aimed at creativity in general.

in the end, I feel like I know Elizabeth Gilbert much better than I did before I started, but I don't feel like I have any greater access to my own creativity or to an understanding of the creative process than I did before.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Perhaps I wasn't the intended audience

Would you try another book from Elizabeth Gilbert and/or Elizabeth Gilbert?

No. In this book she says what her process for writing books is, which is not to take it too seriously and just get it out there. This book was a great example and I wouldn't try another.

What didn’t you like about Elizabeth Gilbert’s performance?

Over time, it started to feel very preachy and I'm not sure if everything, and the way she read it, was actually in print or she jazzed up her performance as she went. "I'm talking about Eat Pray FRICKING Love here people!"

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Confusion and a touch of frustration. On several large topics her non advice was contradictory or based on a foundation of sand.

Any additional comments?

There was an entire chapter that stereotyped men, so that might have been the final straw. If you're already a fan of the author, a woman, an aspiring writer, and can believe that creativity is literally a magical life force, then this book is for you. There were some really great parts that she just took too far, and it was for those brief parts that I kept listening. However, in the end, it wasn't worth it in my opinion.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • mikko
  • Espoo, Finland
  • 09-25-15

Truth and happiness

I love everything about this book. Thank you for giving us this gift. I will listen to it over and over again when fear comes calling.

I really wish she would read all her books because Elizabeth's voice is so calming. It's lika a spa for the ears as well as the mind :)

34 of 40 people found this review helpful

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A Perspective SHIFT on Creativity

A truly enlightening experience on the creative process. Elizabeth Gilbert's words have resonated with me deeply and the soul of who I am feels lighter and less burdened to just create, just keep moving through the process and just to BE the creative being that I uniquely am.

Thank you for this amazing work, your vulnerability in your story telling and your strength in your continued inspiring journey Ms Gilbert.

It is now time for me to get back at this amazing creative process to express that which I AM.

36 of 44 people found this review helpful

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just ok

I struggled with finishing this book, skipped the last 45 minutes. There were some really interesting points, some less interesting :/

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dina
  • LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States
  • 10-24-15

Just a bit disappointing

Listening to Elizabeth Gilbert is like spending time with an old friend. She is warm, wise, and articulate. This book started off strong, but lost focus a quarter of the way through. In addition, it was quite short. It would have made a much better article for a writer's or artist's magazine.

32 of 40 people found this review helpful

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She gets it!

Being born a creative spirit isn't always an easy road, but Gilbert made me feel very much in good company! She says it's not a "self help" although I found it extremely beneficial and uplifting and addresses so many of those aggravating, nagging insecurities that face us all! She addresses them with bravery and candor and doesn't mind sounding a bit brash ...Old fashioned good sense and a spirit of love and commitment touches every aspect of her message! I loved this book, it made me love her, it made me love the fact I'm an artist and have never been anything else!! Bravo to you Elizabeth ! For being so tenacious and persevering enough to write such inspiring stuff!

31 of 39 people found this review helpful

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Rich, Beautiful, Profound, Lighthearted Advice

""This treasures inside me are saying yes. It is all the reminders, nudges, push I need in one place. I love how beautifully the pearls are woven together. Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert.

26 of 33 people found this review helpful