- Steven Pressfield has another book out, a follow-up to The War of Art, titled Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t.
Long version (for everyone else)
There are a few, select books that we keep and treasure. They live on a special bookshelf so that we might refer to them again. Perhaps we keep them nearby simply so we know they are there. We recommend them to people—special people at the right time—with confidence that the messages will make an impact.
Steven Pressfield already has one book in this category: The War of Art. It’s a manifesto about beating resistance and finding the courage to make art, to write. Now he’s publishing another book that extends the message: Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t.
Everyone Wants to Read Pressfield’s Stuff
Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art has already influenced a legion of writers. He also maintains a website that nurtures and supports thousands of other writers, at stevenpressfield.com.
It seems almost unfair that he should have yet another book that earns a spot on the permanent bookshelf. But he’s done it, and I have to recommend it.
The book starts out talking about advertising, which seems odd at first. But it’s relevant. Remember the title: if The War of Art was about getting yourself to create, then this book is getting outside of yourself and writing something worth reading.
From advertising, the book moves on to fiction, screenwriting, nonfiction, self-help, and even pornography, drawing on lessons Pressfield learned in these fields. In bite-sized chapters, he steps through stories that reveal fundamental truths about writing stuff that people actually want to read.
The book is heavy on biographical detail, which may or may not apply to your situation. But it’s also rich with spot-on advice about structure, genre, the hero’s journey, and storytelling. Eventually, he brings it back to the inspirational, philosophical voice of the War of Art:
“… our passage through the varying disciplines of this life, if we’re truly paying attention, is an education in editing out the ego, in stepping away from our fear and self-concern and aspirations for recognition, for material rewards, and for earthly payoffs, until we move into the realm of the gift, where what we offer is for the reader’s good and not our own.”
That passage right there—that’s why you read this book.