Month: July 2010

Sebastian Junger

By Steven Pressfield | 4 Comments

Sebastian Junger is the author of The Perfect Storm, which spent over three years on the New York Times bestsellers list—and was the basis for the motion picture starring George Clooney. He also is the author of New York Times bestsellers Fire, and A Death in Belmont, is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. His most recent book, WAR, a New York Times bestseller that follows a single platoon based at a remote outpost in the Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan, was released in May 2010.…

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Ambition

By Steven Pressfield | 43 Comments

Thirty-something years ago, I read a book that changed my life. The book was by Norman Podhoretz and it was called Making It. I can’t really recommend it as a read for today (I tried a month ago and couldn’t get through it) and I certainly find little to admire about Mr. Podhoretz’s current politics. But his book hit me like a box of dynamite. It overthrew everything I thought I knew about myself and turned my life around 180 degrees. Making It is about ambition. Mr. Podhoretz’s thesis is that the “dirty little secret” of American life is not…

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Icons and Iconization, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

Last week’s post was great fun for me because of the generous, insightful and tremendously articulate Comments that came in. Thanks to everybody who took the time to write; I appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else does too. When I first started Writing Wednesdays about a year ago, friends told me I would be surprised at how interactive the exchange would become. That’s starting to come true and I love it. If you haven’t glanced through last weeks’ Comments, a quick scroll will be well worth it. What I enjoyed most about last week’s Coments, even beyond the content,…

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General Hal Moore

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

I met General Hal Moore a few years ago, at a dinner in his honor in Los Angeles, around the time the movie We Were Soldiers was released. Both Joe Galloway and General Moore signed a copy of their book We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young for me. General Moore added a note, citing a quote from my book, Gates of Fire, which he said reminded him of LZ X-Ray and his warriors in that fight. It was the quote about “Any army can win when it still has its legs under it; what counts is what…

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Icons and Iconization

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Iconization as an issue in real life–and as a form of Resistance. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. First, what is an icon? The dictionary says it’s “an object of worship.” An icon originally was an actual physical artifact—a splinter of the original Cross, say, or an article of apparel once worn by a martyr or a saint. Worship could be directed at this object, as a stand-in or intermediary for some higher embodiment of the divine. (Some would call this idolatry, but let’s leave that alone…

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General Sam V. Wilson

By Steven Pressfield | 37 Comments

I’m in awe of everything General Sam Wilson has done. His is a name that everyone should know. He’s accomplished more in his lifetime than many of us dare to dream about. He served as a reconnaissance officer with Merrill’s Marauders in Burma, during WWII; as a CIA spy-ring operator in Berlin, uncovering Soviet secrets; as a director of instruction at the U.S. Army Special Warfare School; as a civilian working with USAID in Vietnam and then in the personal rank of minister at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon; and then back in the military, as a Special Forces Group…

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Start Before You’re Ready

By Steven Pressfield | 20 Comments

In the past few weeks we’ve put up a couple of posts—“Cover the Canvas” and “Start at the End”—that seem like advice on the subject of writing. They aren’t. They’re about beating Resistance. A number of the principles that work against Resistance are counter-intuitive. They seem to make no sense, but in fact their logic is impeccable. Here’s one that’s worked for me many times: Start Before You’re Ready. Don’t wait till you’ve got your ducks in a row. Dive in now. Have you ever asked a friend who’s an artist or entrepreneur how they’re doing on a project you…

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Joe Galloway

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

Joe Galloway set the standard for today’s journalists. Whether he was reporting from Vietnam with General Hal Moore or the Persian Gulf with General Norman Schwarzkopf, or writing about the battles of today,  his work has been steeped in honesty and integrity. He remains the only civilian to receive a medal of valor from the U.S. Army, for heroism during the Vietnam War—the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device. In 1991, he received a National Magazine Award for his U.S. News & World Report cover story “Vietnam Story.” With General Hal Moore, he wrote the classics We Were Soldiers Once…

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