Month: November 2011

Stuff That Works

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

I was in Israel for most of the past month, doing research for a book. That’s why I haven’t been able to deliver a new Writing Wednesday each week. My apologies! The sojourn in the Holy Land produced mucho grist for future WWs, however. But we can bang one post out immediately: Product Recommendations. Stuff I took with me that actually worked. I offer the following consumer report (with NO connections, financial or otherwise, to any product recommended or reviled below) for my fellow aspiring journalist/novelist globetrotters … 1. SwissGear IBEX laptop backpack. I had noticed, doing book signings at…

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A Letter from Lawrence of Arabia

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

The piece below comes not from Seven Pillars of Wisdom or from the David Lean movie or from Michael Korda’s wonderful new book, Hero. It’s from a letter written by T.E. Lawrence during the WWI revolt in the Arabian desert, when he led what the British called “Bedouin irregulars” against the Turks. Alas, I can’t recall the date of the letter or the circumstances of its writing or even the person it was written to. I cut it out and saved it as an example of vivid, immediate, riveting prose. I used to copy these two paragraphs over and over…

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Third Party Validation Revisited

By Shawn Coyne | 5 Comments

“Third Party Validation” first ran March 4, 2011. It’s back again for the long Thanksgiving weekend. There’s an old joke. An extended family lives in a valley. One night a torrential rain comes over the mountain. Flash flooding…the works. The mother and children prepare to seek shelter. Dad decides to ride it out and do his best to save the family home.  Mom and the kids try to get Grandma into the car, but she won’t budge.  She just repeats “The Lord will provide…the Lord will provide.” The storm worsens.  The water rises past the first floor and Dad and…

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Gravitational Fields Revisited

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

“Gravitational Fields” ran November of 2009 for the first time. It’s visiting again for the long Thanksgiving weekend. How do you get a project started? Sometimes the thoughts in our head are so scattered, we don’t know where to begin. Here’s a trick that my friend Paul Abbott taught me: Just start. Even if you don’t know where you’re going. Begin anyway. If it’s a story, a painting, an idea for a business venture … just dive in. Open a folder on your laptop. Give it a name. Open a file in that folder. Give it a name. Now start.…

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“With the Old Breed”

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

[This post first ran in July but, reading it over recently, I felt E.B. Sledge’s thoughts were particularly pertinent again, as close-combat wars continue to proliferate. See if you agree.] E.B. Sledge was a Marine mortarman on Peleliu and Okinawa in WWII. His first-person memoir, With The Old Breed (which he reconstructed from notes scribbled in a New Testament he carried with him throughout the fighting) stands with the very best combat narratives not just from World War II, but from any war in history. Ken Burns (who drew extensively from Sledge’s text for his celebrated PBS documentary, The War)…

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Open Markets

By Shawn Coyne | 11 Comments

When I was in high school, “cool” was defined in many different ways. There was “freak” cool, which was represented by long unkempt hair, ripped Wranglers, a pack a Marlboros tucked into the left breast pocket of an oil-stained jean jacket, and a MacGyver-like ability to construct a bong out of an

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By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

March 31, 2010, “Habit” first appeared on the site—and is revisiting the home page today as I’m on the road. Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist, had a pet goose that he allowed the run of the house. The first day when the goose waddled in the door, there happened to be a mirror near floor height; the goose mistook his own reflection for some rival bird and flew into attack mode.

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So It Goes

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

He sensed Mary didn’t like him. Something about the way she moved. Her actions were paired with loud, passive-aggressive noises. She didn’t bang the ice tray in the sink to loosen ice cubes for her drink. A cool Cola wasn’t on her mind. And then she came out with it and told her husband’s guest, Kurt Vonnegut:

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David Ogilvy, Michael Lewis, and Brad Pitt

By Shawn Coyne | 14 Comments

A few nights ago, I watched a 1970s era David Susskind interview with legendary advertising executive, David Ogilvy (1911–1999).  Ogilvy told a story about what he learned from George Gallup, the founder of the Gallup poll. Gallup put Ogilvy in charge of one of his Hollywood studio accounts. Conventional wisdom at that time (late 1930s-1940s) was that men went to the movies to look at women and women went to the movies to look at men.  That’s why the studio system always had male and female leads…to satisfy both parties on a Saturday night date. But Gallup didn’t buy in…

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What Can You Do With A Veteran?

By Callie Oettinger | 6 Comments

“What can you do with a general when he stops being a general?” —White Christmas The refrain from the White Christmas song, “What Can You Do With A General” has been running random laps through my mind for the past few decades.

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