I’ve talked about this book War of Art on my Goodreads account and done a review here. I will be touching on a few points from my review and simply expanding on them. I’m not going to touch on the few incredibly inaccurate and unpleasant things the author mentioned in the book, because many other reviewers of the book has done the same thing already.
First of all, this book was recommended by Thomas Frank on his Youtube channel. I find his videos interesting and inspiring, despite not being in university anymore, and I tend to put faith in his opinion but I disagreed with his opinion that the War of Art was worth reading. It’s not only him, I’ve seen it a few times on various other sites and Youtube videos. I watch/read a lot of motivational/anti-procrastination things like that and the one thing this book tells you about is procrastination.
This book calls procrastination ‘resistance’ so that’s what I’ll call it in this post to avoid confusion. It mentions that procrastination is the most common manifestation of resistance but from what was described, they sound exactly the same thing apart from procrastination is what you do and resistance is something inside of you. Resistance is simultaneously impersonal and out to get you, it is never-ending and everyone suffers from it. The author spent 37% of the book describing resistance (I was reading this on Kindle), including how resistance could masquerade as sex (cheap, easy fix was how it was described) and help you to cast yourself as a victim (as you go to the doctor for your likely ‘imaginary’ illness). This was dull.
The next part of the book was about combating resistance and I thought were were finally going to get to the inspiring, self-help stuff. Like Marie Kondo in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying spend a third of the book talking about how weird she was about tidying when she was younger and now has made a career out of it (good for her I say). But unlike Kondo’s book, this book did not go anyway with the title. It told me various things that I already knew (if you want your dream to come true, treat it like a job and actually do the work) but it spread out the words. I could have condensed down the useful information of this book into two chapters.
The trouble is, I read self-help books like this to feel inspired. Reading about how to write ten thousand words in a day is a great way to inspire me to go and see if I can write that many in a day (I can but it’s not something I do often) but this didn’t do that. I felt tired and a little bored after this book and I didn’t feel like I had learned anything or even wanted to get back to writing my book after reading this one. That is the opposite of what this genre is supposed to do. Just no.