By Steve Kayser, Expert Access
The inimitable international bestselling author, Steven Pressfield, has a new book called The Profession.
You only need read the first three paragraphs of the book to see why he is considered one of the finest writers of our times. (See below.) You can also download the first two chapters of The Profession at the bottom of this post.
SPARSE AND SPARTAN
Steven’s writing is clear, vigorous (as Hemingway used to say) sparse and spartan. It draws you in, then runs over you with a tsunami of the most cherished and elegant kind of sophistication … simplicity.
Author, historian and a former Marine, Steven Pressfield is as passionate, professional and prolific as they come.
A modern-day American treasure. True, I’m not wholly objective. I believe his book the War of Art is one of the finest classics of the life of business and the business of life ever written. Art is war. Life is war. A battle, day by day, every day. I carry a copy of The War of Art everywhere. I recommend it to anyone who wants to overcome whatever challenges they may be facing and wants to get a new perspective on business or life. If you don’t have a copy, get one. For a quick overview, read The Power of Resistance—an interview digi-penned with Steven.
And it’s not just me. When speaking with Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling series of books, Rich Dad Poor Dad, which has sold over 28-million copies in 109 countries, for the Expert Access Radio Show, I had barely mentioned Steven Pressfield’s name when Robert enthusiastically interjected …
“He wrote The War of Art— the best book of all books; everyone should read it. It’s the best book ever written. I highly recommend that book, The War of Art. If you really want to find where life is, it’s in that book.” –Robert Kiyosaki
THE WARRIOR’S ETHOS
Steven approaches his profession with a warrior’s spirit. It reflects itself in many of his books, such as the historical novels Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign and Killing Rommel, and now The Profession. His research is more than in-depth; it’s almost psychically precognitively prescient. What do I mean by that? It takes you back to the time, the place, the world gone by. It puts you in the frame. Robert McKee, the legendary guru of Hollywood storytelling and author of STORY, said that when he bought several of Steven’s books in London, he was told that the Oxford History Dons tell their students;
“If you want to rub shoulders with life in classical Greece, read Pressfield.”
It’s almost as if Steven had lived in that time. Knew that time. Was in and of that time.
WHAT DOES STEVEN SAY ABOUT IT?
“My writing philosophy is a kind of warrior code—internal rather than external—in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that I call ‘Resistance’ with a capital R (in The War of Art). The technique for combating these foes can be described as ‘turning pro.’
“I believe in previous lives and the Muse—and that books and music exist before they are written and that they are propelled into material being by their own imperative to be born, via the offices of those willing servants of discipline, imagination and inspiration whom we call artists.”
Steven Pressfield’s approach reminds me of one of America’s greatest warrior poets. You read right. Warrior poet—General George S. Patton. Old Blood and Guts. This complex man believed himself to be a warrior of old. Of other times, other places. Many times, many places. He thought about it. Spoke about it. Wrote about it. But hardly anyone remembers … lost to another time, another place. His poem, Through a Glass Darkly,is an amazing testament to and from a warrior. A warrior poet. A warrior writer. Much like Pressfield.
Steven has this quote on his website:
“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”
To which some would say …
“It’s one thing to study writing … it’s another to live the warrior writer’s life.”
Enter the warrior writer’s life. Rub shoulders with …
THE PROFESSION—THE THREE-PARAGRAPH INTRO
My most ancient memory is of a battlefield. I don’t know where. Asia maybe. North Africa. A plane between the hills and the sea. The hour was dusk; the fight, which had gone on all day, was over. I was alive. I was looking for my brother. Already I knew he was dead. If he were among the living, he would have found me. I would not have had to look for him.
Across the field, which stretched for thousands of yards in every direction, you could see the elevations of ground where clashes had concentrated. Men stood and lay upon these. The dying and the dead sprawled across the lower ground, the depressions and the sunken traces. Carrion birds were coming down with the night—crows and ravens from the hills, gulls from the sea.
I found my brother’s body, broken beneath the wheels of a battle wagon. Three stone columns stood above it on an eminence—a shrine or gate of some kind. The vehicle’s frame had been hacked through by axes and beaten apart by the blows of clubs; the traces were still on fire.
All that remained above ground of my brother was …