The War of Art Book Summary - The War of Art Book explained in key points
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The War of Art summary

Steven Pressfield

Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

4.2 (357 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

"The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield is a motivational guide that helps you overcome creative blocks and resistance. It provides strategies and inspiration to help you unlock your full potential and achieve your artistic goals.

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    The War of Art
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    A mental force called resistance opposes all our endeavors, and affects everyone.

    Have you ever had an ambitious dream but hesitated to act on it? Maybe you wanted to write a great novel or start an innovative new business, but a certain feeling held you back?

    That feeling is called resistance – it's the force that forever keeps us from realizing our dreams and accomplishing what we were meant to do.

    Anything new in our routine that takes us away from the habitual will be naturally accompanied by resistance. Resistance is negative, and it always opposes change or anything new. For example, if you feel a call to start a new business, resistance will be the voice that urges you to stay at your current job and not take a risk on a project that may fail. If you want to start a new diet, resistance will be the voice that tells you, “I can always start the diet tomorrow, even if I don’t today.”

    This feeling of resistance is perfectly normal. It's impersonal and universal, and it affects anyone and everyone. Resistance also doesn't discriminate between interests – you'll feel resistance if you want to do something for yourself, like diet, or something to help others, like start a charity. We need to accept that resistance is natural and stop thinking that it targets us personally.

    In fact, resistance even affects people who are experienced at what they do. For example, actor Henry Fonda, even in his late age, threw up before every theatrical performance. Being an accomplished actor didn't stop him from feeling fear each time he had to go on stage.

    Resistance can manifest in many ways. Fear of failure, self-doubt or procrastination are different forms of resistance. We can learn how to defeat resistance by constantly refocusing on our dreams, committing to our craft and accepting that challenging resistance is a natural and necessary part of the journey.

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    What is The War of Art about?

    In The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield helps you identify your inner creative battles against fear and self-doubt and offers advice on how to win those battles. An inspirational book for anyone who’s had trouble realizing their passion, it offers an examination of those negative forces that keep you from realizing your dreams, and shows how you can defeat your fears to achieve your creative goals.

    The War of Art Review

    The War of Art (2002) by Steven Pressfield is a powerful exploration of overcoming resistance and unlocking our creative potential. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Pressfield offers insightful observations about the inner obstacles that prevent us from pursuing our true calling, inspiring us to overcome them with courage and determination.
    • The book provides a practical framework for understanding and defeating the forces of resistance, encouraging us to take action and pursue our creative endeavors with relentless persistence.
    • Through real-life examples and personal anecdotes, Pressfield paints a vivid picture of the struggles faced by artists, writers, and entrepreneurs, making the book relatable and compelling.

    Best quote from The War of Art

    Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two, stands resistance.

    —Steven Pressfield
    example alt text

    Who should read The War of Art?

    • Anyone wanting to be an artist or a professional in a certain field
    • Anyone interested in starting their own business
    • Anyone wishing to conquer fear and self-doubt in their creative life

    About the Author

    Steven Pressfield is a best-selling author of historical fiction and nonfiction books, including Gates of Fire, Tides of War, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Do the Work.

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    The War of Art FAQs 

    What is the main message of The War of Art?

    The main message of The War of Art is overcoming resistance and embracing creative work.

    How long does it take to read The War of Art?

    The reading time for The War of Art varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The War of Art a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The War of Art is worth reading for its valuable insights on creativity and motivation.

    Who is the author of The War of Art?

    The author of The War of Art is Steven Pressfield.

    What to read after The War of Art?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The War of Art, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
    • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
    • The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    • Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
    • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
    • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
    • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker