Breaking the book up into three sections, author Steven Pressfield first defines the enemy of our art – resistance.
it is invisible; internal; insidious; implacable; impersonal; infallible; universal; never sleeps; plays for keeps; fueled by fear; most powerful at the finish line; only opposes in one direction; recruits allies like procrastination, sex, trouble, self-dramatization, self-medication, vicitmhood; influences choice of mate; causes you to seek out healing, support; and seduces you into rationalization.
He then gives you a battle plan to combat this enemy. That plan is to turn pro.
Being a pro is someone who
does it for love of the game; is patient; seeks order; demystifies; acts in the face of fear; accepts no excuses; plays it as it lays; is prepared; does not show off; dedicates himself to mastering technique; doe snot hesitate to ask for help; distances herself from her instrument; does not take failure (or success) personally; endures adversity; self-validates; recognizeslimitations; reinvents himself; and is recognized by other professionals.
Pressfield sums this section up by writing, “There’s no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our mind to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.”
Finally, he takes you past resistance into the higher realm where he explores
invoking your muse; the magic of making a start and of keeping going; the difference between the ego (where resistance has its home) and the self (that part of you that is creative with a connection to a higher realm); and exploring your territory or doing your work (that thing you would still do if you were the last person on earth) versus climbing in a hierarchy.
Again, this book rocks. It helps you know the enemy, it identifies a plan, and helps you take it to the next level in 163 pages.
This book tells us things we already know. This is a book we should all read anyway, every six months.