Bookshelf: "The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven Pressfield

If you don’t have any trouble at all to sit down and focus on a (creative) project, consider yourself lucky and feel free to skip this article because you won’t need any of the informations below!

However, If you are like most people, you probably have difficulties to sit down and immerse yourself in your work, and you will know this gnarling feeling that arises as soon as you want to take the first step. It is the reason why we procrastinate.

Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance. Resistance kept me away from working on my Ph.D thesis, it kept me away from starting this blog and it is currently trying to keep me away from writing these lines. This small book offers insights into how this phenomenon works and how we can deal with it.

I consider it to be one of the the most important books I have read so far and remind myself of its wisdom every time I try to avoid facing new (creative) challenges. It’s a quick read and you don’t have to be an artist to draw value from it. The concept is equally relevant for students, scholars, athletes and many more, because at the end of the day, we are all, in one way or another, creators.

Bibliographical info: Steven Pressfield: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, New York u.a. 2002.

Bookshelf: "Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior" by Phil Jackson.

Academic training involves a lot of reading. But I was way too curious to just stick with the sometimes dull material I had to read for my studies. Driven to find out why things are the way they are and why we as humans do what we do, I constantly try to expand my horizon by exploring all sorts of other non-fiction writing. Biographies, books on psychology, spirituality, sports, self-development, entrepreneurship etc..

On this blog I will occasionally share some of the books that have made a profound impression on me. I’ll start with one of my favourite sports books written by Phil Jackson: Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior.

Phil Jackson is considered as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. With 11 NBA-Championship rings (two as a player, nine as a coach) he certainly is the most successful. During his time as head coach of the legendary Chicago Bulls (with Jordan, Pippen & Rodman) and the Los Angeles Lakers (with Bryant & O’Neal) he developed strategies that transcended what you would usually expect to get taught in sports practice sessions. 

Besides traditional training concepts, Jackson integrated Native American philosophy (being born and raised in North Dakota, he elaborates on spiritual lessons of the Lakota tribe in particular) and Zen Buddhism into his approach which in turn helped to keep the big egos of stars like Jordan and Pippen at bay and turn them into selfless team players. One aspect of forming his teams into championship squads was by calling on the player’s need to connect to something bigger than themselves.

What I like about Jackson’s idea is that he didn’t shy away from including ideas and concepts that - on the surface - went beyond the scope of his initial field of expertise. The successes he’s had speak for themselves. It is an approach that I value a lot, and that should be getting more attention, no matter the context. One Lakota seer Jackson cites in his book put it best: „Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind“ (Sacred Hoops, p. 109).

Bibliographical info: Phil Jackson: Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, New York, NY 1995.