Monday, August 26, 2013

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is one of those books that seems to be recommended by everyone.  I can see why.  The chapters are very short, easy to read, the information is accessible, and many of the ideas presented are inspiring. 

Pressfield does a good job of sharing from his personal experience the challenges that the artist experiences—the resistance, the doubt, the hubris.  Much of the focus is on the various ways in which Resistance manifests, complementing such works as The Artist’s Way by Julia Cmaeron and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  Procrastination and the Inner Critic are just two of the forms Resistance takes and Pressfield focuses the first 2/3 of the book on reminding, even urging, the artist to get the work done, regardless.

The last third of the book slips into a lot of new age spirituality that probably appeals to many readers.  I suspect that many of the people who recommended this book to me—and a lot of people recommended it—did so because of this final third of the book.  I found the last part to be the least insightful, the least practical, the least interesting. 

With that said, the bulk of this book is definitely worth reading and worth sharing, as evidenced by my immediately giving it to my daughter after I had finished reading it.  I doubt I’m the only one who felt disappointed by the last part and I suspect she will feel as I did, that this is a very good book that ends in a fizzle.

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