Month: February 2011

The Opposite of Shame

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

Chapter 9  The Opposite of Shame is Honor Once, in India, after years on campaign, Alexander’s men threatened to mutiny. They were worn out and wanted to go home. Alexander called an assembly. When the army had gathered, the young king stepped forth and stripped naked. “These scars on my body,” Alexander declared, “were got for you, my brothers. Every wound, as you see, is in the front. Let that man stand forth from your ranks who has bled more than I, or endured more than I for your sake. Show him to me, and I will yield to your…

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On Bookbuying and Events

By Callie Oettinger | 45 Comments

When I want a surprise read, I hold my three-year old daughter over the Costco book table and let her pick out a few books. (recent picks: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Marilynne Robinson’s Home, and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.) Or—I do a reverse pin-the-tail on the donkey in airport and train station book sections. I close my eyes, spin around, and then buy whatever book I grab. (recent pick: Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack). Some rock, others stink—all are a surprise.

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The Obligatory Scene

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the Inciting Incident. I apologize for getting away from it. Let’s get back … The formula says, “The Inciting Incident sets up the Obligatory Scene.” What is the Obligatory Scene? It’s the climax. It’s the scene that, if you don’t have it, you don’t have a story. In The Hangover, the inciting incident is Losing Doug. The obligatory scene is Finding Doug. In The King’s Speech, the inciting incident is when we realize that Bertie has a terrible stutter and he’s destined to become monarch just as Hitler is starting World…

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Tribes, Gangs and Terrorists

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

Chapter 7  Tribes, Gangs and Terrorists Every honorable convention has its shadow version, a pseudo or evil-twin manifestation in which noble principles are practiced—but in a “dark side” system that turns means and ends on their heads. The Mafia and criminal gangs live by rigorous and sophisticated codes of loyalty, discipline and honor. So do terrorist organizations. Does that make them warriors? Do these groups practice the Warrior Ethos? When is “honor” not honor? To answer this, we must consider the nature of tribes. What are the social, cultural and political characteristics of tribes? First, tribes are hostile to all…

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By Callie Oettinger | 37 Comments

I visited a CrossFit “box” last week. CrossFit came on our radar two years ago, when it referred thousands of CrossFitters to Steve’s site, via one small mention on the CrossFit site. Between that first link and last week’s visit to one of their “boxes,” I realized how much I’d forgotten—and then had to refocus upon—the fundamentals. Here’s how things went down:

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The Log Line of Your Life

By Steven Pressfield | 25 Comments

Are you familiar with what screenwriters call a “log line?” It’s an extremely useful tool—not just for writers, but for artists and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Today I’m going to interview an expert on the subject, Hollywood script consultant Jen Grisanti, who’s the author of a new book that I recommend highly–Story Line. SP: Jen, thanks for returning to the scene of the crime. Our earlier interview—The “All is Lost” Moment–got tremendous response when it appeared a couple of months ago. But let’s get down to business on a different storytelling subject: the log line. Most of us think of…

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East of Eden

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

[Last week we introduced this new series, The Warrior Ethos, posting the introduction and Chapters One and Two. Today’s post is Chapters Three, Four, Five and Six. The Warrior Ethos will continue in this space every Monday. To see prior posts, click on the “Series” bar above. Let’s resume!] CHAPTER 3    EAST OF EDEN Where did the Warrior Ethos come from? Why would anyone choose this hard, dangerous life? What could be the philosophy behind such a choice? An answer may come from the Garden of Eden (which is an archetypal myth common to many cultures other than our…

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Wars Change, Warriors Don’t

By Steven Pressfield | 66 Comments

Today we launch a new series on the site. It’s called The Warrior Ethos. Here’s a short intro, in case you missed it. The series is intended for our young men and women in uniform, but I hope that other warriors in other walks of life will give it a chance too. Posts will appear every Monday. After this week, Writing Wednesdays will resume. Let’s plunge right in. Here’s the introduction to The Warrior Ethos and the first two chapters. (The photo above is from Khalidiyah, Iraq, 2008—the men of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. Thanks to Lance Corporal Albert F.…

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The Warrior Ethos

By Steven Pressfield | 23 Comments

Today we launch something new on the site. Some people may hate it. (We’ve already had one high-profile colleague flee, screaming, from his first sight of it.) It’s called The Warrior Ethos. It’s an ongoing series about exactly what the title says. The primary audience I’m writing it for is our young men and women in uniform, but I hope that other warriors from other walks of life will give it a chance as well. The first Warrior Ethos post will appear in this space today, Wednesday 2/9, a couple of hours after this intro runs. After this week, the…

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The Two Cultures

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

In 1959, Cambridge University selected Charles Percy Snow for its annual Rede Lecture, a centuries-old series of oratories that dated back to 1550. Previous presentations covered such scintillating topics as Terrestrial magnetism and the ionosphere and Libraries in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods. Snow seemed to be the perfect candidate. He was the UK’s civil service commissioner, bestowed with all sorts of highfalutin titles—Baron, Peer, and in due course Knight. And quite reasonably, the Fellows of Cambridge assumed that Snow would deliver the lecture’s traditional awkward British elocution…the sort that John Cleese would later parody for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.…

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