As a very young person, I read “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield and remember enjoying every page of the book (“Maybe you could re-read it since you don’t remember the novel” – note from the subconscious). Since then, many years have passed, and Mr. Steven and I went our separate ways, until I recently came across this title on the internet. It struck me as genuinely interesting. A battle with various mental blocks preventing us from being creative and successful, written by an author? I must admit, it’s somewhat unusual. 🙂
I was surprised that a translation of this work had not yet been done for our market, and I wasn’t inclined to order from abroad. Meh, I thought, when the right time comes, the book will find its way to me.
And indeed, a few months later, the book was in my hands. 😀
I enjoyed every page I read, for many reasons. But let’s start from the beginning.
Dear coffee and book lovers, I present to you “The War of Art”… loosely translated (in Serbian) as “The Battle of Skill” (it could also be “Waging War through Art”… or maybe “The War of Artistry”… either way…meh, whatever 😀).
Who is this book intended for? You, me, all of us who battle daily with our fears. Procrastination, indecision, insecurity, fear of (not) succeeding.
Steven Pressfield combines all these demons into one concept – “Resistance” (say it with a French “Allo, Allo” accent for full effect).
How is this book conceived? As a collection of mini stories/thoughts/confessions, in which Steven deals with Resistance.
The texts are divided into three parts (or “books”):
- The first book (“Defining the Enemy”) deals with Steven’s definition of Resistance, its various forms, how it feeds on our fears, its ubiquity, how it follows us everywhere, makes us doubt ourselves, turns us towards impulses…
- The second book, titled “Fighting Resistance,” also has a small subtitle “Becoming a Professional,” and concerns how a professional deals with Resistance. How one must be persistent (to say the least) and steadfast, not allowing Resistance’s whispers to reach us and throw us off track.
- The last part, “Beyond Resistance,” is perhaps the most abstract. It touches on muses (in the sense of invoking inspiration), ego, a writer’s perspective, authenticity, fears… Imagine Bruce Lee if he had only engaged in literature, that kind of thought process 🙂.
But what kind of book is this, really? A novel, a collection of stories, a philosophical debate, perhaps popular psychology?
Keep in mind that Steven Pressfield is, above all, a writer. He simply presents themes of fear, inspiration, and everything else in his own way. In a literary manner. You know what might be the best way to describe it? Imagine that Steven Pressfield has invited you and a few other artists and businessmen to his seaside home for a coffee, to talk and discuss mental blocks (“Hmm, for such a topic, something stronger than coffee might be more fitting” – note from the subconscious).
Steven portrays the themes of his book in his unique way. Spontaneous, honest, friendly, with the skill of a top-caliber writer, he draws you into his world of (humorous) thoughts, while you turn the pages with enjoyment, discovering a more or less familiar, yet different view on some matters.
Yes, you can already guess my impressions of this book. “The War of Art” really resonated with me. The book immediately ended up on my special shelf of books to which I will always return and which can genuinely have a positive impact on a person (I wrote about this shelf in a previous review 🙂). And I have a feeling I will return to this book sooner than I think.
The style of writing is easy to read and not at all burdensome, regardless of the topics it addresses.
I’ve already mentioned that this book is intended for everyone, regardless of age, educational background, or profession. Because, at the core of it all, regardless of our professions, we all have a common enemy. Each day, it manifests itself to us in different forms, trying to hinder our pursuit of happiness and success. And its name is common to all of us – Resistance.
Are you, my dear readers, ready to confront your Resistance? 🙂
(Originally reviewed: 06/10/2018)