Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Book Review: The War of Art

The War of Art is a dynamic book penned by famed author Stephen Pressfield who happens to be the author of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and “Gates of Fire”. The War of Art caught my eye simply because of the title. Having a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War in my personal library I was more than interested. After reading a couple of pages (as well as being a self confirmed bibliophile) I purchased the book.

First off there are no chapters. The War of Art is broken into three books and under each book are several essays pertaining to the theme of that book. The first book entitled “Resistance Defining an Enemy” personifies, demystifies and deconstructs an enemy of achievement called “Resistance”. Pressfield flawlessly peels away the layers of Resistance and shows up the one thing in everyday life that prevents us from reaching our personal goals. He shows that doubt, fear, anxiety, remorse and procrastination are forms of “Resistance” Believe me I had to read further.

Titles like “Resistance and Fundamentalism” and “Resistance and Criticism” will have me delving deeper between the pages. My personal favorite is on page 68 entitled, “How to be Miserable”.

The second book is entitled “Combating Resistance” Pressfield teaches us ways of counteracting Resistance by defining “Professionals and Amateurs”. Then by the way of his own personal discoveries and downfall he pulls you along until you understand the techniques it takes to be consistent and successful.

The third book is entitled “Going Beyond Higher Realm” uses Homer’s opening to the Odyssey for professional writers and other artisans alike to reach to a higher plane of professionalism.

O Devine Poesy, goddess, daughter of Zeus, sustain for me

this song of the various-minded man who, after he had

plundered the innermost citadel of hallowed Troy, was made

to stray grievously about the coast of men, the sport of their

customs, good and bad, while his heart, through all the sea-

faring, ached with an agony to redeem himself and bring his

company safe home. Vain hope---for them. The fools! Their own

witlessness cast them aside. To destroy for meat the oxen of the

most exalted Sun, wherefore the Sun-god blotted out the day of

their return. Make this tale live for us in all its many bearings,

O Muse…

I cannot go any deeper into the book, but I can tell you it is a fantastic read. If you get a chance to buy it and believe me you won’t be disappointed.


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