"Do the Work" is a needed nudge in the rear

"Do the Work" is a needed nudge in the rear

Do the Work was in my Amazon.com recommendations. I bought it on a whim without knowing much about the author based upon this, the first line from Amazon's description:

Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don't know where to start?

All of the above, yes, thank you!

Author Steven Pressfield takes the reader on a journey -- an exploration of the inner sources of "Resistance" that keep us from awesomeness -- from getting off the couch to nurture and develop an idea, through design and production, to delivery. While short and easily read in one or two evenings, the sections of the book are broken down by the phases of resistance experienced (read: imposed upon oneself) by the creator over the life of a project. For that reason, Do the Work should be read once, quickly, then consumed again later by section, as needed to keep you confident, believing in yourself and your idea. The bestselling author writes from an expert perspective, and the text is very artfully constructed and engaging.

The book is definitely geared toward true creatives -- artists, musicians, writers -- who tend to encounter as much (or more) resistance to their dreams than those of us in less-creative professions. The increasing tendency to look at technology work through a creative lens is compelling, but sometimes falls short for me personally; therefore, whileDo the Work is a great kick in the rear to motivate oneself to take a chance and get something started, the book sometimes failed to resonate as fully with me as it would with someone whose work is at-the-core, fundamentally an act of creation. The broad concept of Resistance, and the ways it devilishly tries to block us from creating great things, can be appreciated by anyone and, if nothing else, opens a window into the inner struggles of even the most creative minds.

Take-home messages: 

  • Just start working. Get something down and be willing to be wrong.
  • You will encounter resistance -- primarily from yourself. The bigger/bolder your idea/project, the greater the resistance. Accept that the people who have original and revolutionary ideas are no different that you.
  • If you make a mistake and everyone notices, you've arrived at a level of practice and performance where people care about and notice what you're doing.

Pro's: 

  • Quick read; however, probably should be read once for familiarity, then read again in sections as they're relevant over the course of a project
  • Written in a conversational and artistic (but approachable) style
  • Written from an expert perspective; Pressfield has experienced -- and conquered -- everything he writes about Resistance
  • A window into the inner struggles -- often experienced in silent agony -- by creative people

Con's: 

  • Definitely geared toward those in the most creative fields; however, it is applicable (with extrapolation and reflection) to anyone in any field who wants to nurture a big idea
  • Only limited narrative from the author, in which he relates the writing of a recent novel to the book's theme; as an outsider to the true Creative Process, more narrative would be helpful for me
  • Sometimes a little too fuzzy/metaphysical for my taste

Buy it:

Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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