The War of Art by Steven Pressfield Summary

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield Summary
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The Premise of The War of Art is this Steven Pressfield describes the thing that stands in the way between who we are and what we want to be is Resistance.

We live in a world of instant gratification we expect things without putting in the work. It’s now more important than ever to not just combat resistance but to get over it.

Once you show up and put in the work everyday things fall into place. We become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron fillings.

Book One Resistance

So What is Resistance?

When you think of starting or doing something new, do you see it through?

Resistance is that voice in your head that says not today let’s sleep in. It’s that voice that always self sabotages your plans for instant gratification.

Resistance is the wall that stands between who you are and who you want to be. When you give yourself a way out, it’s because of Resistances’ dirty work.


Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Have you seen or heard of his paintings? Resistance beat him.

It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than face a blank canvas.

Resistance is a negative repelling force. It distracts us from doing our work. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated it is the enemy within.

Everyone is afraid of certain things and has shortcomings. To be afraid and not to do is an excuse. Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was 75. Fear never completely goes away you just do it, anyway.

Book Two Combating Resistance

Resistance can be beaten.

The Hardest part of running is putting on your shoes and heading out the door the rest takes care of itself. Making a commitment and sticking to it is the hard part.

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when inspiration struck. To which he replied, “I write only when inspiration strikes,”. “Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

Create a schedule and stick to it. We are all Pro’s already if we have a job we show up to work every day. We just have to apply that same concept to our art, whatever that may be. Show up, put in the work, punch the clock, and leave.

Book Three Beyond Resistance

Once you start showing up and grinding things start to happen, ideas emerge Insights accrete. Steven calls this the muses and angels to be at play.

Everything that we dream of will happen only when we get down and grind it out. The answer is within us: we just have to face Resistance and beat it.

It’s never too late to start it only gets late if you never begin. Steven Pressfield in his late twenties blew up his marriage and failed in his 2 careers and acted out.

He could not handle resistance. He would not finish what he started he threw away his 2 novels which were almost done because it scared him. Before you go to the top, you hit rock bottom, and that’s where Steven Pressfield was.

He was working as a cabbie in New York and one night took out his ancient typewriter and started typing away for 2 hours he said that was the most painful exercise he could do.

He then went to his kitchen and washed the dishes that weren’t in 10 days. As he began doing this, he realized he was ok, and it is possible to climb his way back up. He stood in his own way and hurt himself.

Most of us are scared of our own potential we avoid our calling. We come into this life with an established identity. We don’t know who we are? Why we were put on this earth? We find out by doing the work we produce.

Show up and do the work no matter what there is power in consistency. Resistance will always be over our shoulders we just have to learn to deal with it.


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