The War of Art

The War of Art

  • Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
  • Steven Pressfield

The books title and sub-title pretty much say it all. If you want to create something from nothing, whatever that may be, then it’s a battle, it’s full combat, it’s a war. The only way forward is to do it, practice until you get better, then, when you are good, work harder to be the best.

The book is split into 3 sub-books: Resistance - Defining the Enemy, Combating Resistance - Turning Pro and Beyond Resistance - Higher Realm. It’s the first two that I found most interesting. If you aren’t actually doing what you want to do then there is some form of resistance stopping you. It might be the fear of failure, that it won’t be any good or that the task is too difficult to achieve. You just have to press against this resistance to break through. The last book seems to falter slightly when it discusses the role of gods, angels and specifically a muse.

Apart from the theme of resistance and overcoming it, there are two things have stuck with me since finishing the book. Steven had a dream that he was part of a crew on an aircraft carrier that was landlocked, the only person who could help them was a Marine gunnery sergeant called ‘Largo’. The other is this Goethe couplet:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.

Well, what are you waiting for!

  • Reviewed on Saturday, 13 November 2010
  • Tagged with book review