Month: June 2014

Red Tile Roofs

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

I’m driving back from the Golan Heights with Eli. We’re on Route 6, the toll road south, passing an Arab town in Israel and I’m asking him if he believes there is any hope for peace. “Yes, and I will tell you why,” he says. “Look over there at that town.” Eli calls my attention to the roofs. “In Arab towns, even here in Israel, you will always see flat roofs. Flat roofs with rebar—iron bars for reinforcing concrete—sticking straight up out of the perimeter of the roof. Why? Because in Arab families, when the eldest son becomes engaged to…

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The Why of Publishing

By Shawn Coyne | 10 Comments

[This is a mini-series about why and how Steve and I came to publish Solitary by Giora Romm. Thank you to the First Look Access members who jumped on the offer Steve sent them two days ago. We’ve opened a limited-offer of $3.99 per book here to everyone, available until June 30th at 11:59pm PST. Click here to access.] So eighteen months ago, Steve calls me and says he’s just read a book he thinks I’d like. A friend of his wrote it. That’s it.  No build up.  No pitch.  Just a “Will you read it? The thing is that Steve…

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How Black Irish Acquired its First Book

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

Black Irish Books is the little publishing company that Shawn and I operate, alongside our various day jobs. When I say little, I mean little. So far we’ve only brought out stuff written by me. That started to change, though, about two and a half years ago. If you’ve been reading the Monday and Friday posts in this space (the ones about my researching The Lion’s Gate in Israel), you know that I had met and become friends with Giora Romm, the Israel Air Force’s first fighter-pilot ace. One day when Giora and I were driving somewhere he casually said…

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How to Write a War Memoir (or any memoir)

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

I am dangling beneath my parachute. Gazing down from a height of 10,000 feet, knowing I am going to be killed in less than fifteen minutes, I feel great sorrow for myself. None of my fellow pilots who’ve parachuted into the Nile Delta has survived the encounter with the welcoming committee below, and I have no reason to think my fate will be any different. This is the first paragraph of the true-life memoir of Israeli fighter ace Giora Romm, titled Solitary, which was a best-seller in its original Hebrew under the title Tulip Four, Romm’s aircraft’s call-sign on the…

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The Death Burst

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

One of the things I learned doing the interviews for The Lion’s Gate was that the best stuff often came when you least expected it. It happened in breaks, or going to lunch, or after the formal interview was over. That was when people loosened up and became themselves. They brought out the insights and memories that they had kept in the vault because they deemed them marginal or “not important enough.” It was these stories that turned out to be the most fascinating and revealing. Here’s one such nugget from Giora Romm. Romm was Israel’s first fighter ace. As…

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Seth Godin and My Friend Liam

By Steven Pressfield | 29 Comments

About six weeks ago, Seth Godin (Tribes, Linchpin, Squidoo, The Icarus Deception, HugDug.com) ran an announcement on his blog. He invited 15 people to apply to spend a week with him this summer in a seminar for young artists and entrepreneurs. Tuition free. My first thought when I read this was, “Wow, what a generous offer! Is Seth a great guy or what?” My second thought was, “What a life-changer this could be for a young person who was ready to profit from the experience.” A few days later I was talking to my young friend Liam Bowler. “Did you…

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MiG Killers

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Continuing my interview with Giora Romm, the Israel Air Force’s first fighter ace. As we’re talking, Giora mentions the phrase “MiG killer.” My ears immediately perk up. But we are in the middle of talking about something else, so the subject is momentarily shelved. Giora continues with his train of thought, describing…

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A Serving Elite

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Giora Romm was the Israel Air Force’s first fighter ace. He shot down five Egyptian MiGs in three days during the Six Day War. I have been hearing about Giora from every other pilot Danny and I have talked to. I’m a little nervous, now, meeting him for the first time. But…

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Principles of Improv

By Steven Pressfield | 21 Comments

There are very few books on creativity that I would take with me to a desert island. One for sure is Patricia Ryan Madson’s Improv Wisdom, first published in 2005. Patricia taught improvisation at Stanford to SRO classes for twenty-eight years. Her slender, highly concentrated book (shorter than The War of Art) cites thirteen maxims for aspiring comics and actors who dare to get up onstage without a net and wing it. What is fascinating to me is that every one of these principles applies with equal power to writing, particularly fiction writing. 1. “Say yes.” I had never heard…

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To the Rue Cambon

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] “What is the answer for the individual who finds himself in diaspora?” asks Yosi. “How does the stranger conduct himself in a strange land? Does he seek to efface his other-ness in an attempt to blend in with the dominant society? Does he change his name? Intermarry? Does he adopt the language,…

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