War of Art

The War of Art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles by Steven Pressfield, copyright 2002.

This book has been getting a lot of good "buzz" on the net recently, one review even likened it to be akin to David Allen’s GTD for the artistic set. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I really wasn’t that impressed and disagree with a number of his underlying beliefs about creativity, philosophy and theology.

The first section of the book he spends on resistance. In which he builds up this construct and even goes so far as to basically state that if you aren’t experiencing resistance, then you aren’t heading in the right direction towards important goals.

He then proceeds to delve into ways to address and overcome resistance. Largely his main thrust seems to be – keep doing it consistently every day and the good stuff will come. Kindof a "suck it up and deal" approach. Which isn’t anything new or innovative to serious or successful artists.

In the third section of the book he spends this basically postulating his main theological view, which is that there are extraplanar beings/forces for good and that our purpose in life is to create earthly representations of eternal truths or beauties through the help of these external influences. He appears to be of the belief that nothing outside of this goal is of significant value.

Once I had a clear (or so I believe) understanding of his core theology, the rest of his book and behavior generally falls into place very neatly, with the exception of his derogitory chapter on what he refers to as "fundamentalism". And while some of his advice seems valid outside of his core belief system, much of it does not. He very literally and seriously prays to the muses and believes that they will aid his creative efforts. Due to this fairly major gap between his core beliefs and mine, there are disagreements in other areas. I certainly do not wish to discard all of his insights (for some are clearly valuable) but it requires more careful analysis of his claims and understanding their underlying principles before I agree to accept them for my own life.