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Publisher's Summary

Internationally best-selling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it.

©2002 Steven Pressfield (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • kimberly
  • claremont, CA, United States
  • 02-01-12

A must-have for anyone creative (or not)

What did you like best about this story?

This book will acquaint you with Resistance in all it's cunning disguises, so you can face it down and get on with your Work. This book is not only for artists, writers, or other creative types. I think it would be helpful to anyone who can't seem to lose a bit of weight, kick the drinking habit, or commit to taking the actions toward whatever eludes them. It's probably Resistance, and this book will show you what to do about it.

39 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Grant
  • Abbotsford, BC, Canada
  • 12-01-11

Fighting through procrastination.

The book title seems to indicate that it's only for creative types -- I would disagree. Anyone who is passionate about their work, or is trying to find how/what to be passionate about in their life can take away some valuable lessons from this book. If you suffer from procrastination, or lack the passion to finish projects -- this book is the kick in the butt you may very well need. It's a short read/listen, but it's well worth it; I would recommend multiple reads to keep yourself inspired.

68 of 74 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tye Riter
  • Boca Raton, FL, United States
  • 09-03-12

Good for writers and procrastinators

Interesting way to think of the creative process (or war). Probably the best quote "It was easier for Hitler to start WWII than to face the blank canvas."

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good, Interesting, not amazing

Any additional comments?

This book is broken into three parts, the first two are fantastic. He identifies and analyses what blocks an artist from accomplishing their work. It is something that everyone - artist or no - can relate to. The last part is a little too fuzzy and spiritual for my tastes - but at least he warns you about it first.

38 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • OliD
  • hollywood, ca
  • 05-30-13

A Game Changer

What did you love best about The War of Art?

I think as a creative person, this book just spoke to me, on so many different levels. The contents of this book are completely universal, regardless of whether you're an artist or not, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will listen again.

What did you like best about this story?

I actually liked part 3, the spiritual side of where he thinks our creativity comes from - it's definitely divine.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

I loved the idea of invoking the Muse, and I'm not a hippie either.

Any additional comments?

Try this book out if you're creative, not-creative, or want to be creative.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Marilyn
  • GLASTONBURY, CT, United States
  • 07-10-13

Some great stuff, a lot of yuk

I am not a Steven Pressfield person, didn't even really know who he was before I looked him up after ordering this book, but I wanted to read an artist's thoughts on creating art, and how hard it can be; I didn't care who the artist was. However, the book turns out to be very much from a male, former marine, do it or die point of view (the author's background). There was much in the book that I could identify with and I really loved the first part, which is on how to overcome resistance to working. What artist is there who doesn't find everything and anything else to do other than the work of their favorite yet most challenging thing? There were a lot of stories and insights about it that I could "take away" to use in real life. The last part was supposed to be transcendent, tying together philosophy, science and religion. It didn't work for me because I don't share his religious views, but his points were not radical or strange. I believe there is some useful info in here for everyone, at some point in their creative life. The reader did an excellent job, but he sounded all too tough and male and that probably made me feel separate (being female).

54 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not enough good ideas for the amount of garbage

I must begin this review with a discussion of the narrator. I adore George Guidall's voice. I could listen to him in the midst of a tornado and feel calmed and reassured that all was well. Such is his gift of narration. While I don't mind speeding up most other narrators, I would normally consider it a form of sacrilege to speed up a book George Guidall was narrating, but by the end of this one, I was at 3x speed. That's how bad it became.

It started out well. To summarize the best points, which all occurred in the first part of the book:

The toughest part of any project is getting started, which is why discipline and a schedule are immensely helpful in the creative process. Just because the process is creative doesn't mean that it should be impulsive. Scheduled work is work that helps the process along.

Figure that there are going to be pressures, disappointments, and irritations (Pressfield calls all of the above resistance). Ignore and fight anything or anybody that keeps you from your work.

Consider failure a learning experience and proof that you are succeeding at getting something done, even if that something is failure, itself. Better to try than to be lazy.

Laziness is next to being dead. To be productive is to be alive and to be alive is to be productive.

While I don't agree with everything he says about the importance of being at work all the time (one can drive oneself crazy with that idea), I also agree with the author that one can drive oneself crazy by being too lazy or, at least, lackadaisical, in one's work. We all need to know that we've accomplished something, and there is something to be said for the idea that time is your life and how you spend it is how you spend your life, so you'd better spend it well.

All of the above said, this book is not worth the crude language and the mixed-up pseudo-religious ideas that muck it up. I don't know what religion the author really professes given that he stole ideas from the Illiad and the Odyssey, from humanism, from stoicism, from Indian mysticism, and from pantheism. I don't know what that combination amounts to, but I found it contridictory and irrelevant to the topic. He rambles on at length about the importance of dreams, the self, and the ego to no productive end, as far as I could tell.

What I was expecting was help in the fight against procrastination, and some of that was present in the first part of the book, but that wasn't worth what I endured during the rest of the book. It's really bad when George Guidall's voice can't save it. My advice? Save the money and/or the credit and write yourself a schedule for completing projects that are important to you and stick with it. There. Now you won't have to fight through this badly-written book, which should give you more time to work on your project.

32 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 01-22-17

Just Do It

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Three stars in both content and delivery, but I should probably also disclose that I REALLY struggle with the whole self-help genre and this was basically just a self-help book for writers and artists. I'm not sure if it genetic, or shaped by my own experience on this blue dot, but I generally HATE all forms and types of self-help book. "The sub-genre of "How to Create" books, however, are infinitely better than "How to Business" or "How to Love" or "How to Win". Even with the best writers (and I like Pressfield a lot) the lot are usually filled with jargon, cliches, and almost religious rites/steps to salvation/success.

At their core, they also usually contain a couple good ideas that might not have required a whole book. The War of Art's good idea can be summarized by Nike's slogan:

Just Do It.

Or perhaps, my dad's slogan:

Get off your ass and do your damn job.

This book is basically Pressfield giving the reader ideas about how to overcome creative roadblocks. He describes why there ARE roadblocks, gets a bit philosophical about the nature of roadblocks for creativity, etc., and then give the reader his strategy.

Basically, Pressfield says you gotta do the hard stuff. You gotta work. Ignore distractions and do what it is you want to do, that you dream of doing, NOW.

That's it really.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathon
  • Silt, CO, United States
  • 02-14-14

Ironicly Lazy

Would you try another book from Steven Pressfield and/or George Guidall?

If it is fiction, I would absolutely consider a book by Pressfield.

What was most disappointing about Steven Pressfield’s story?

The book is full of claims with no backup. I know Pressfield wasn't writing for peer reviewed journals on his methods of defeating procrastination, but there are a lot of assumptions made that should not have been.

Did George Guidall do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I don't pay that much attention to the reader unless it is really bad or really good so he must have been in between that.

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

Disappointment, and annoyance. Spoiler alert: To defeat procrastination you should pray to muses and rely on angels. Okie dokie. Next time just tell me to throw a penny in a wishing well and save me a couple hours.

Any additional comments?

I won't say the book is worthless. I'm sure some people can find some motivation in there somewhere. It was just a lazy book of claims from someone that sees themselves as an authority on a subject. It comes off more like a drunk bar conversation with someone telling you the secret to their success.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I have given this book to at least 10 friends

Would you consider the audio edition of The War of Art to be better than the print version?

No - But common sense is not always common practice. It helps to listen to it again and again

What other book might you compare The War of Art to and why?

Steven Covey's 7 habits is a good one because we all need to understand that we are the captain of our own ship.

Which scene was your favorite?

Can't say that I had a favorite.

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

Let the magic of art flow through you.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful