Book 33 of 53: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield


I stumbled across the title of this book after listening to a podcast starring the author Steven Pressfield. His story of a lifetime of struggle, culminating in the eventual reward due to the success of the Legend of Bagger Vance, made me stop typing and start listening. If you are going to connect with me then make me feel like I know you and we will do just fine. Pressfield did just that and so I ordered his book.

The book has a simple white cover with the words, ‘break through your blocks and win your inner creative battles,” neatly centred towards to the top: a small flower growing out of a brick at the bottom.

“Mmm…I don’t have to battle with my creativity?”

I filed it away for future reference, and instead plunged into books on relationships, finance and spirituality. These were the areas I felt I needed help with. Creativity wasn’t a problem. Months later, as I was preparing for my working trip to South Africa, I decided to pack a number of paperback books as well as my Kindle; the trip was going to take me 24-hours with a nice eight-hour layover in the Dubai. I had been struggling with my new Ebook project and I couldn’t put my finger on the problem. I doubted my ability to write a book. Who would want to read it? Was I wasting my time? I was also involved in a tug of war over the niche versus do what you love debate. I really wanted to write this book, but dinner with an influential man made me question the sense of writing a self help book that would drown in a sea of self help books. I think it was time for Pressfield to make an appearance. I was suffering from procrastination. My creativity channels were blocked with self-doubt.

I was standing in a cue at Heathrow Airport where I was waiting to check-in. I pulled out the book and started to read it. I couldn’t put it down, and by the time I had arrived in Dubai I had finished it. I have not read a book that quick since I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz when I was going through the pangs of my divorce. This book is utterly brilliant. Steven Pressfield is one of the most captivating writers that I have ever had the fortune to read. There were many times that I was compelled to tears and yet I don’t think it is a book that should make you cry. That is the power of this man’s authentic writing.

Pressfield writes about the struggle against the Resistance, that thing that stops you from being creative, different, successful and wonderful. The man writes with a seriousness that grabs your attention and a back alley sort of humour that I grew up with. This man writes whatever is on his mind. He takes no prisoners and it is so wonderful to hear him sing.

When I finished the book I just wanted to tell everyone in the airport about it. Tap complete strangers on the shoulder and urge them to read. I rung my partner and told her to read it immediately. He made me want to write again. Made me realise that I needed to expunge the words scripted in my heart and my mind. I was becoming too corporate. I was trying to please audiences that didn’t know me. I was losing my voice. I was in danger of becoming just like everyone else. I don’t want to be like everyone else. Forgive me for having a moment of selfishness but I want to be a little bit special. Just like Steven Pressfield.

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  1. Hi Lee

    sounds interesting from how you describe picking it up, reading it front to back, almost crying and wanting everybody else to read it. However, you don’t actually really give an insight into what’s in it, What it’s really targeting or even give a little extract like you normally would. So how do I know if it’s for me ? What would I/Could I gain from it ?


    • Excellent point Coggy and remiss of me to not get the review right 🙂

      I will write a second blog post about the War of Art and will cover these points for you.

      Thanks for your honesty

  2. Wow. Very convincing, Lee. I will order one right away. Did you know my book came out and is still for free, ’til the 24th…I would like to have someone as convincing as you in my corner…so I hope you feel moved to read it. The title is “Fried Blue Potatoes” and so far, it has had 170 downloads…I don’t know if that is pretty much normal or not, but–I am happy that that many people wanted to read it, in two days. Also, I really enjoy reading your blogs…I hope we meet in person, someday….Char Potterbaum

    • Hi Charlene,

      I have just downloaded your book and when I have read it I will post a review. I can’t promise that it will be anytime soon as I have so many of the things, but as a Needyhelper reader and regular scribe in the comments I owe you a read and review by the end of my 52 book project.


  3. Okay then, I will put it in my Amazon cart. Thank you, Lee.

  4. haha. I’m sensing a touch of sarcasm but at the same time hoping you’ve taken my comment FWIW and not as a slight on your review !!!!

    I follow along and do pick up books on your recommendation or avoid similarly, so when you go so wild over a book i’m after more info to see if it’s for me. In this case, i’m not a creative person as such, don’t write, draw, do anyhing arty etc so hence the title i wonder if it is for me.


    • Coggy,

      It wasn’t sarcasm, I was being authentic I promise. It really helps to get a true view. The book is about the battle that you have with yourself when it comes to realising your true potential. I would say this book should be taught in schools as part of our curriculum and as such it suits everyone and anyone.

      I will right more on the subject this week hopefully.


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