Steven Pressfield Blog

A Tale of Two Captains, Part Two

A week ago I ran a post about two young Army captains—Jim Gant and Michael Harrison—who served in the same valley in Konar province, Afghanistan.  Their service was six years apart, yet the two were linked by their bonds with a tribal chief named Noorafzhal and by a gift of honor—a shotgun that Capt. Gant…

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What I’ve Learned About Blogging So Far

In the coming weeks, I’ll start posting on regular days, probably Mondays and Thursdays (I’m working on it), probably a long piece and a short one. On other random days I’ll post “I take it back” pieces, highlighting how comments or correspondence have changed or expanded my thinking. I want to share what’s gotten knocked…

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Sisyphus, Sean Naylor and C-SPAN

First, many thanks to all correspondents and contributors for the tremendous and very thoughtful response  to the previous post, “A Tale of Two Captains.” More to come in a couple of days about Capt. Harrison’s work, including an update dispatch from him in Konar. But first, here’s a strikingly apt flashback to 2006—when Army Times…

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Part Two: The Tribesman in All of Us

One of the acts that tribes frequently practice is ritual scarification. Tattoos, circumcision, mutilation of the flesh. The purpose is to draw a line between who’s a member of the tribe and who isn’t. This is Us … this is Not Us. Non-hereditary tribes–criminal organizations, elite military units, certain religious or social orders–often have initiations.…

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The Tribesman In All Of Us

I was in Frankfurt a couple of summers ago and there was a young man at the hotel named Kaitet Olla Kishau. He was a Masai from Kenya. Kaitet is a big, tall, good-looking guy; he speaks English and German; he’s married to a European lady; he’s a writer and filmmaker. He also goes home…

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Lawrence of Arabia on Tribes

I like very much Gen. McChrystal’s idea for a new Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell (cited in Max Boot’s article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal). This entity would be an ongoing “corps of roughly 400 officers who will spend years working on Afghanistan,” even when they are not actually in-country.

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Summing Up: Our First Week and What We’ve Been Talking About

This blog has been up now for a little more than a week. Many thanks to all who have contributed comments–and to all who will do so in the coming weeks. Now seems as good a time as any to pause for breath and ask, “What have we been trying to say here? What exactly…

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“How to Win”: Further Thoughts on Video #5

Today marks the release of the final video in the “It’s the Tribes, Stupid” series.  Believe me, I’m aware of the presumption of titling any discourse, “How to Win in Afghanistan. ”  Even Alexander the Great would balk at treading that ground.  So, as I say in the video, the thoughts therein are offered not…

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Ronfeldt Redux

I blew it on Wednesday, posting this extremely interesting article by David Ronfeldt of the Rand Corporation so late in the day that it was only “onscreen” for a few hours before being shuffled downpage into the archives.  So here’s a re-post that I’ll leave up in the featured position all weekend.  The piece ran…

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How We Got There: A Short Bibliography

Below is a terrific mini-bibliography from guest blogger Jeremy Ward that takes us back to the genesis of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. In 2001, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, an extremely lean contingent of American forces–mostly CIA, SF and other special operators and intelligence specialists, backed up by U.S. air power–made their way into…

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FREE MINI COURSE

Start with this War of Art [27-minute] mini-course. It's free. The course's five audio lessons will ground you in the principles and characteristics of the artist's inner battle.

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DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers— advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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THE WAR OF ART

Read this one first.
It identifies the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage—that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.
Start here.
Everything else proceeds from this.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

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DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.