‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield
Intro | Be a Pro | What I Underlined | Final Synopsis
Intro – The War of Art
This was my second reading of the War of Art. The first time I didn’t underline anything. Solely because I wanted to enjoy the read.
I listen to a few podcasts, all based on the topics of entrepreneurship and self-improvement. The War of Art has come up countless times and there was always rave reviews of the book. That was what made me make the initial purchase.
When the War of Art arrived from Amazon (next day via Prime, oh yeah) I was taken by surprise and disappointment. I picked up the book and flipped through the pages to see what I was dealing with. Something that I always do when I get a new book.
The first surprise was because the book was so small. I have come to expect books of this genre to be around the 300 page mark. The war of art is considerably less than this.
Furthermore, I was disappointed because upon closer inspection a lot of the chapters(they are not really chapters) were short paragraphs. Some chapters having a maximum of six or seven lines.
I was expecting a really good read and on first inspection I did not think I would get that from this book.
There is a very famous statement that perfectly relates to the mistake I made here.
“Never judge a book by it’s cover.”
A simple mistake
A mistake that I will never make again. As I previously mentioned. This was my second time I read the War of Art, a title I love as it reminds me of another famous book – The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Having heard so much praise for this book, it only felt right to take my time reading. So I could savour and adsorb everything the author had to say.
My first complaint that the chapters were too small converts to the best point of this book. Due to the beautiful simplicity of being wrote forthright and sincere means you never have to read between the lines. You feel that every word is just as important as the previous one.
Almost the majority of books these days, are filler around three (the magic number) key concepts. The War of Art is not like that.
If you take notes or underline you will find yourself simply copying the entire book out as it is all pure gold.
The book itself
The War of Art introduces the concept of resistance. Opposite to what you may already know of it. It is the stuff that stops you from creating. The self-sabotaging that prevents you from finishing. That is where Steven Pressfield takes you with the War of Art.
On a journey to help recognize the resistance in your life and how best to live along side it, not completely get rid of it. Therefore you can allow resistance to show you what you must do next.
Be a Pro
While this book is not aiming to teach you how to become a pro or overcome resistance. The Art of War wants you to realize that you are already doing that. You just need to recognize and accept it. To help get the message across the author has provided a number of lists.
Ten qualities of a pro
- Show up every day
- Show up no matter what
- Stay on the job all day
- Are committed over the long haul
- Stakes for us are high and real
- Accept remuneration for our labor
- Do not over identify with our jobs
- Master the technique or our jobs
- Have a sense of humor about our jobs
- Receive praise or blame in the real world
5 belief’s of the ego
- Death is real
- Time and space are real
- Every individual is different and separate from every other
- The predominant impulse is self-preservation
- There is no God
5 belief’s of the self
- Death is an illusion
- Time and space are illusions
- All beings are one
- The supreme emotion is love
- God is all there is
There is a constant battle between the ego and the self. The self was born for creativity while the ego was built for material existence.
What I Underlined
- ‘It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write’ (pg 9)
- ‘Fear doesn’t go away, the battle must be fought anew every day’ (pg 14)
- ‘The awakening artist must be ruthless, not only with herself but with others. Once you make your break, you can’t turn around for your buddy who catches his trouser leg on the barbed wire. The best thing you can do for that friend is to get over the wall and keep motating’ (pg 20)
- ‘This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on resistance’ (pg 22)
- ‘Of all the manifestations of resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well’ (pg 38)
- ‘The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it’ (pg 40)
- If you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows what you have to do’ (pg 41)
- ‘Fear can never be overcome. Get out into the action, fear will recede and you’ll be OK’ (pg 79)
- ‘If he caves in today, no matter, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow’ (pg 80)
- He seeks out the most knowledgeable teacher and listens with both ears’ (pg 94)
- ‘The power to take charge was in my hands, all I had to do was believe’ (pg 129)
- ‘A territory can only be claimed by work. Territory doesn’t give, it gives back’ (pg 155)
- ‘A territory returns exactly what you out in’ (pg 155)
The War of Art is such a pivotal book that will not only affect our generation but many more generations to come.
The impact that the War of Art has had on my life is monumental. It has got me off my rear end to start projects that I have spent years talking about. As a result I am David was born.
I just love the simple way which the author explains his points. There is no mumbo jumbo or fluff. Therefore it is all, just good stuff.
Reading this book does give you a feeling that you know what the author is talking about. You can picture all the times when you should have been working instead of when you were scrolling through Facebook.
In the final section of the War of Art. The author explains that a higher power is responsible for what you receive out of life. It is not given freely, rather work and sweat are what you require.
But what really please’s me about this book is that the higher power can be whatever you believe in. Therefore it can be God, Angels or the Power of Self. For the author, God is his higher power. When he talks about higher power, he is allowing you to relate to your higher power. Hence why the author mentions this very same point at the beginning of the final section.
Finally, the War of Art feels like it could have been wrote by Gary Vaynerchuk. Because it feels like the author is giving me a good kick up the behind and telling me to get my act together.
Which is exactly what this book will do for anybody that takes the time to read it.
You will get a good kick into action.