Do the Work Book Summary - Do the Work Book explained in key points
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Do the Work summary

Steven Pressfield

Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way

4.2 (208 ratings)
10 mins

Brief summary

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield is a motivational book designed to help readers overcome creative roadblocks. It emphasizes the importance of taking action and persevering through obstacles to achieve success.

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    Do the Work
    Summary of 4 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 4

    Identify your enemies and allies so you can more effectively get things done.

    Certain things help you move toward your goals, while others get in the way. Good music might motivate you to work out, for example, while your favorite television show might make you want to stay home. These are the allies and enemies in your life.

    Ambition and self-awareness are the real keys to achieving any goal, but they’re always under threat by a common enemy: resistance.

    Resistance manifests itself in a number of ways. When you’re working on something meaningful that you have real passion for, but find yourself bogged down by self-criticism and doubt, that’s resistance setting in.

    Any activity that requires a lot of energy and time can draw resistance. Actually, the more important an activity is to you, the more you’ll have to fight the resistance that acts against it.

    Acting was so important to Henry Fonda, for instance, that he would throw up every time before he went on stage – even when he was 75 and already one of the most famous actors in the world!

    Passion and dedication are strong allies, but they aren’t the only ones. Traits that we tend to perceive as negative – like ignorance and stubbornness – can be allies too, especially for artists and entrepreneurs.

    Such “negative” characteristics helped famous American aviator Charles Lindbergh accomplish extraordinary feats. He had no idea how difficult it would be to fly for 33 hours straight, but his ignorance and stubbornness, along with his arrogance, made him believe he could do it.

    And he succeeded: Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York on one day and Paris the next.

    Stubbornness also helps you stay dedicated to your work, especially in difficult times. Steve Jobs was notorious for being stubborn, and this was instrumental while guiding his company, Apple, from its modest beginnings to becoming one of the most successful technology companies in the world.

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    What is Do the Work about?

    Do the Work (2011) outlines ways to help you conquer your fears, stop procrastinating and accomplish the things you've long desired. Learn about the many ways you can fight resistance, the negative internal force that tries to stop all of us from reaching our goals.

    Best quote from Do the Work

    Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    —Steven Pressfield
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    Who should read Do the Work?

    • Anyone struggling to finish their masterpiece
    • Entrepreneurs unsure of how to put their ideas into practice
    • Artists and freelancers looking for ways to overcome distractions

    About the Author

    Steve Pressfield is a writer of nonfiction, historical fiction and screenplays. His first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was made into a Hollywood film in 2000. He’s also the author of the bestselling book, The War of Art.

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