Steven Pressfield’s new book, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, covers familiar ground, building upon the information he first presented in his 2002 book: The War of Art (click here for the Muse Review). This book’s format is similar to that of War: short 1 to 2 page chapters, lots of white space, each providing 50 to 100 words of wisdom or a personal anecdote about the main point of the chapter.
The theme of the book is to take a chapter in War and expand it into, what Pressfield hopes, are clearer definitions of an amateur and a pro, and at the same time these points illuminate some harsh truths about the creative life. How many of us sabotage ourselves with one of Resistance’s greatest weapons, addiction?
As we all know, many writers and other creative types have fallen or ruined their careers and lives due to addictions to booze, drugs and despair, but these aren’t the addictions that Pressfield is talking about. He is talking about addictions to distraction, failure, money, and trouble to list a few examples. The world is full of reasons why we get lost and forget what it is we really want to do with our lives. It is often easier to get swept up in addictions to social media (guilty), bad work habits (such as checking your email every 10 minutes), or watching TV shows that you’ll wish you wouldn’t have wasted your time on after the fact. Resistance plays into this. It takes the path of least (ahem) resistance and helps you rationalize and avoid that what your heart longs to create, because creating something or improving yourself is difficult and at times may draw unwanted attention from those who want you to stay the same or conform to the rest of society.
Pressfield uses good analogies to help define the differences between amateurs and pros. providing examples when necessary. And to tell the truth, he doesn’t reveal any new epiphanies here. We all know that these truths are self-evident: The Professional Does Not Wait for Inspiration… The Professional Lives in the Present… The Professional Defers Gratification. You get the picture.
At times the points he is trying to make get lost on me or go over my head, it seems as if he is trying to be clever and make a point in as few of words as possible, but as a result manages to muddle the point he was trying to make. Because of this, the book does not reach the level of The War of Art, but then again not every book can be a masterpiece or instant classic. It does a good job giving you a good swift kick in the ass if you are still out there making excuses and feeling miserable because you are either stuck in a shadow career doing something that falls short of your dreams and capacity.
Rating: *** Buy Used $9.91 Trade Paperback or $9.40 Kindle Edition
About Ratings: ***** — Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree
Buy it from Amazon Here: Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield