Do The Work by Steven Pressfield | Book Review, Book Summary


by on November 10, 2016

Do The Work by Steven Pressfield | Book Review, Book Summary


Do The Work - Book Summary, Book Review
This book has what some might consider a little bit of an ethereal slant because it almost refers to the Resistance (capital R) that we have as artists, writers, designers and creative people like it is the Devil. If you can go along for the ride and take some of the things he says without getting super obsessive about the details this book is a kick in the butt and a call to action for creative people and business people alike. It inspired me to set more goals, get it all out on paper and stop holding myself back.

An encouraging read with some really great take-aways

Just like ‘The One Thing‘ or ‘Eat That Frog‘ this book kicks up the motivational tone and talks about some reasons we find to procrastinate. It’s a productivity focused book but has practical implications.

  • Start before you’re ready – a huge part of the Resistance is always doing the preliminary, when you should be creating.
  • Suspend self judgement while creating.
  • Start again quickly after finishing.
  • Failure isn’t good, and you haven’t failed – you just have to push through and learn from the “first half.”
  • You have to ship. Ship the idea, learn and get to your next idea. SHIP.


Write down what you accomplish and revel in knowing what the final outcome is, but you need to have an epic end in mind, this way you have motivation to push through when the going gets tough. Just like Pressfield’s “The War of Art” this book essentially tells the story of someone in writer’s block and the tools to not get stuck there.

It’s a reminder that even perfectionism can be part of the Resistance. Our family, friends, and those closest to us can be part of the Resistance. We have to recognize we subconsciously block ourselves from accomplishing things when we don’t have a clear goal in mind and work relentlessly to create in that direction.

My take-away – My resistance

I think I often use busy work tasks as my own resistance. Instead of prioritizing my top tasks and key creative work, I find ways to procrastinate (for me right now it’s checking my analytics and search engine rankings) that keep me from getting those key actions taken care of.

Sometimes the resistance poses itself as supposedly productive tasks – it’s not always video games and social media, although those can be part of it.

Overall I’d highly recommend this book – specifically the audiobook form as it is very well done and is great for your car ride to and from work, on the bus, or doing design, art or other visual oriented work.

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