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The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield

4th April 2020
the war of art book cover


The War of Art is supposedly a book about creativity. Its target audience is artists or people in the creative field of work. I found this book when I was searching for a book to improve my creativity.


Steven Pressfield is an accomplished author. He writes historical fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays. The author has gone through hardship before he found his writing success.


The War of Art is divided into 3 books and has an introduction. There is also a foreword by Robert McKee, an author, lecturer, and story consultant who is known for his “Story Seminar”.

Book One is Resistance: Defining the Enemy. It introduces Resistance and its manifestations, the so-called signs and symptoms.

Book Two is Combating Resistance: Turning Pro. This book contains ways to overcome Resistance.

Book Three is Beyond Resistance: The Higher Realm. It talks about author’s interpretation of origin of inspiration


The War of Art is a book about Resistance. The author defines Resistance as the most toxic force on the planet and it is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction.

The author uses his own life experience to prove the points in this book. As he achieved success late in life, he attributes his failures or misfortune before success to Resistance.

According to the author, success and happiness come as a by-product of work, not from others’ validation. Thus, it is important to continue to work even though there is no recognition from others. From the author’s perspective, as long as you are happy, it is worth the toil.

The author wants us to take action immediately and consistently. He cautions against procrastination as the most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. Do not let it becomes a habit that would eventually destroy the person.

There are some overclaims in the book such as vices or diseases can be eliminated by defeating Resistance. I feel that some descriptions or claims are too dramatic or overblown.

Book Three is about inspiration and I think the author’s view might not suit everyone. Nonetheless, it could serve as a different perspective to broaden our worldview.

I feel this book is more like a motivation book than a book about creativity. Although the book is primarily for artists, its lessons can be applied by everyone. If I were to summarize this book in one sentence, it will be this:

Just start doing what your heart craves.


  1. The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
  2. The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.
  3. Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.
  4. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.
  5. The field is level, the professional understands, only in heaven.


2 out of 3 stars

Interested in The War of Art?

You may get the book from Kinokuniya Malaysia through the link below*.

Get the book here

*Disclosure: The above link is Involve Asia affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through this link.

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