Turning Pro Book Summary - Turning Pro Book explained in key points
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Turning Pro summary

Steven Pressfield

Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work

4.5 (233 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield is a self-help book that inspires readers to overcome resistance and turn their passions into a career. It offers practical strategies for transitioning from amateur to professional and reaching one's full potential.

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    Turning Pro
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Turning pro is a conscious decision.

    Steven Pressfield didn’t become a professional writer by landing a three-book publishing deal or selling a movie script for a six-figure sum. The author became a pro by moving to a new house. After resisting his desire to write for years, he packed up his cat Mo and his typewriter and left New York behind.

    Pressfield spent the next year writing a novel in a little town in northern California. He’d decided to finish his manuscript no matter what. Living on just $25 a week, he cut himself off from all distractions: TV, newspapers, music, and sex. His manuscript didn’t end up getting published but the year wasn’t a waste. It taught him to face his fears and get on with his work.

    The key message here is: Turning pro is a conscious decision.

    Before moving to New York, the author worked as a truck driver. This decision, just like his later one to move to California, was a conscious one. He saw truck drivers as courageous, interesting and powerful – qualities he wanted to embody. Having fallen in love with Kerouac’s novel On the Road as a teen, he had a romantic view of long-haul drives, blowing through small towns. He thought truck driving would give him freedom. But he wasn’t free. He was running away.

    For Pressfield, truck driving was a job he pursued to avoid his calling – or, a shadow career. Shadow careers might look and feel similar to your true career. But they have one distinct difference – they’re risk-free. That means, if you fail, the consequences are minimal.

    Shadow careers are typically a metaphor for what you should be doing, which makes them a useful way to gain insight. For instance, you might be doing a PhD in Elizabethan studies while repressing your desire to become a playwright. Or you might be assisting an inventor in her research instead of doing the inventing yourself. 

    People choose shadow careers due to fear. Turning pro means giving up things that make you feel comfortable, like your self-identity, how you spend your time, and the company you keep. It also means undertaking a grueling interior journey, where you face your demons every day. This makes it confronting and painful.

    But the pay-off is enormous. By turning pro, you learn how to embrace who you truly are despite the fear and live the life you were meant to live. All you need to do is make that choice.

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    What is Turning Pro about?

    Turning Pro (2012) sheds a light on why so many aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs fail to make their dreams a reality. It also explains how, by making a conscious decision to pursue your goals and reconfiguring your life, you can finally gain traction and embrace your true calling.

    Turning Pro Review

    Turning Pro (2012) by Steven Pressfield is a compelling book that explores the journey from amateurism to professionalism in any creative or entrepreneurial endeavor. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It provides a practical roadmap for transitioning from a non-committal mindset to one of unwavering dedication, helping readers unlock their true potential.
    • Drawing from personal experience and anecdotes from successful professionals, the book offers valuable insights and guidance for overcoming self-doubt and resistance.
    • With its profound exploration of the internal battles that prevent us from reaching our full potential, the book fosters deep introspection and self-awareness, making it an engaging and thought-provoking read.

    Best quote from Turning Pro

    To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls.

    —Steven Pressfield
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    Who should read Turning Pro?

    • Aspiring artists with big dreams
    • Frustrated writers who struggle with productivity
    • Closet creatives who wish they had more courage

    About the Author

    Steven Pressfield is the author of numerous novels, as well as non-fiction books about creativity like The War of Art and Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t. Before Pressfield committed to his true calling as a writer, he had many other careers, including truck driver, bartender, and oilfield roustabout.

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    Turning Pro FAQs 

    What is the main message of Turning Pro?

    The main message of Turning Pro is to overcome resistance and fully commit to your creative pursuits.

    How long does it take to read Turning Pro?

    The reading time for Turning Pro varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Turning Pro a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Turning Pro is worth reading because it provides valuable insights and practical guidance for individuals seeking to pursue their passions.

    Who is the author of Turning Pro?

    The author of Turning Pro is Steven Pressfield.

    What to read after Turning Pro?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Turning Pro, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
    • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
    • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
    • The Only Game In Town by Mohamed A. El-Erian
    • Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
    • Makers and Takers by Rana Foroohar
    • Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo & Alexander Bennett
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
    • The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko