Tag Archive: The Art of War

Sep 23

Review: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

War of Art

I will read a self-help book, ya’ll.  I will read one in a heartbeat.

Now, I’m not going to read something that’s going to teach me positivity or help me become more confident or let me shed inches from my waistline.  After all, I don’t need help with any of these things.

However, a good motivation book is my guilty pleasure.  I, like a lot of people, have large aspirational goals, but I lack the follow through to make significant headway on them.  I know that I should just knuckle down and get to work, but somehow, I still end up watching TV on Netflix or scrolling through Imgur for ungodly amounts of time.  I guess I’m looking to hear about other people’s successes and best practices so that maybe I can steal their secrets and push myself back on track when I wander off.

And if it’s about artistic endeavors, even better.

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art is just that: a primer on what’s in between you and what you want to accomplish.  It takes many forms, but he refers to it as personified Resistance.  The book is structured into thirds: an examination of what resistance is, the way to power through it, and an examination of where ideas and inspiration come from.  The chapters are super short.  Like the average length is a page and the longest one might be six.  I read the whole thing in an hour.  It says over 100 pages, but seriously, it’s like 40.

I found the book very inspiring.  Pressfield posits that the source of all our Resistance to progress is internal.  His solution: be a professional.  Amateurs over-invest their energy, their resources, and their feelings into what they’re working on.  Amateurs take days off when they’re tired.  Amateurs have no commitment to the end product because they’re too involved in the process.  A professional, on the other hand, makes time to get done the things he has to get done.  He goes everyday, and he’s always focused on the prize.  And if making this mental distinction in your head doesn’t help you, then this book really won’t do anything for you.  However, sometimes all you need is a little shift in your frame of reference to get down to work and knocking things out.

That's not weakness.  It's Resistance.

That’s not weakness. It’s Resistance.

Even in the few days since I read this book, it’s kicked my butt into gear.  I’ve been saying for weeks that I want to start getting up at 7, go to the gym everyday, knock out chores as they’re needed, etc. But I let myself slide because my bed is warm and days are long and sometimes I just want to sit around. Not anymore.  Sure, I still find time to relax, but if there’s stuff to be done, the sense of accomplishment in working hard and finishing thing is better than the time suck of the Internet.

Oh, and don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.  That’s a good tip too.

So if you like self help on the go, this book has you covered.  And it just might get you back to working on the novel, training regimen, magnum opus that you always said you’d finish, but now you’re ready to get to work.

JMF Rating: 8/10

‘Til next time,