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Publisher's Summary

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

127 of 138 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!

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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A Vacuous Bestseller

I've seen “Big Magic” everywhere in the past year. For such a bulky hardback, it's actually a quick, 5 hour audiobook. The colorful paint splotched cover screams that this is a book all about creativity and it is. As a wounded artist/creative/writer, I often find myself in the self help and personal development section and have read some provoking and insightful books on the subject of healing this artistic malaise. This book doesn't hold up to “The Artist's Way”, “The Right To Write”, or “The War Of Art”, all which I would highly recommend if you are coming from a similar background or looking for truly nourishing and inspirational groundwork to getting back into the habit of expressing yourself creatively and fighting the thinly guised anxiety known as 'Artist's Block'.

Back to “Big Magic”; something about this manifesto comes across as vapid. Maybe I am feeling a bit jaded after reading the author had a two hundred thousand dollar endorsement for her bestseller, “Eat, Pray, Love”, but it would explain the utterly meaningless spiritual statements that were made. I simply can't agree that creativity, stories and pieces of art exist without the human mind and are trying to find a sentient outlet and will stop at nothing to make themselves known. She even claims that a kiss transferred a complete novel from her to another author friend of hers that she just met at a party. While I agree that writing and artwork can sometimes be a meditative channeling session, where the artwork is chiseled out of our inner psyche as we do the work, claiming that they exist of their own world and energy is nothing better than fictional. It is more of a motivational speech with fictional embellishments which I think were put in more for adding to the author's very profitable, marketable persona then they were to actually improve the lives of her readers. While it's polished and it looks and sounds good, it is empty under the surface. Another piece of her advice was basically saying nobody wants to hear authors who try and help people, that one should only do the creative work to work through something within themselves. I find that completely untrue considering the massive amount of self help books out there that don't seem like a self centered announcement, but purely are there to help readers. She even goes as far to make some shout outs to some of my personal favorites in motivational writing such as Brene Brown and Marcus Aurelius, all which have nothing to do with her personal, spiritual inventions and would be very helpful to the wounded creative on their own.

Overall, if with that information you would still like to hear the motivational speech of a highly endorsed author, which has probably polished out anything truly authentic, then it's still worth the time. It wasn't horrible, but it was unremarkably vacuous to me.

34 of 40 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 :)

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Just a very bad book on creativity.

While it was moderately interesting to hear the extended story of the author's creative journey, it's a very bad book about creativity. Extremely discouraging, contradicting and somewhat crazy (I am not a fan of the new age stuff). The part where she says that you most likely won't make money from your creativity- I wanted to throw this book in her face but wait, it's an audio) . So, I'm keeping this piece of crappy literature just to know what a bad book is and how NOT to talk about creativity. Read Julia Cameron. That book is the real magic and an inspiring classic by a friendly and sane person.

8 of 9 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.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

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All at once inspiring, pragmatic, and surreal

Elizabeth Gilbert manages to revive an old concept about artistic types having a creative genius, not being a creative genius. This idea weaves throughout the a book in which she both grounds and inspires the reader. It was just what I needed to get out of my self-inflicted melancholy without feeling guilty for being there in the first place.

10 of 12 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.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Thoughts for Creatives

Would you listen to Big Magic again? Why?

I'm already planning to. I think she had a ton of good comments and ripped some ideas right out of my head. It spoke right to me and my challenges as both a professional creative and a generally weird person. I drank it like a cold beverage on a hot day.

What other book might you compare Big Magic to and why?

Brene Brown's work because of the impact in my life.

What does Elizabeth Gilbert bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice purrs and giggles. I floated along on it and it held me.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

n/a, some sentimental creative marketing bullshit.

Any additional comments?

Can't wait to listen again!

6 of 7 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.

27 of 34 people found this review helpful