Book Review: Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

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I have read this book several times now, not because it is difficult to understand but because it was that good and it always serves as a remind to challenge myself to live a creative life.

“Big Magic” wants to help its readers live creatively, which does not necessarily mean “pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts,” but “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

If you want to write or act or paint, this book wants to help you do that.

Ms Gilbert builds an amazing case about why creativity is not this mushy thing that only a few chosen people bestowed with and can do.

She makes creativity look like a friend you can choose to have lunch with [or chase away]. She makes creativity attractive.

Ms Gilbert writes in a very personal tone. It’s as if she is talking to you, and occasionally talking to herself.

For example, in the chapter on fear, Gilbert writes:

“The only reason I can speak so authoritatively about fear is that I know it so intimately,” referring to a childhood in which she was terrified of everything from the telephone to board games. But Gilbert goes on to say that an effective way to curtail fear is to give it a speech like this: “Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. . . . But understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. . . . Dude, you are not even allowed to touch the radio.” Does your fear respond to being spoken to so reasonably? Because it seems to me that fear’s inability to respond to reason, or to the honorific “Dude,” is one of its signal characteristics. It’s not rational — it’s scared.

I didn’t read her most popular book “Eat, Pray, Love,” But I somehow stumbled across her TED talk titled “Your elusive creative genius”, then I followed her on twitter to discover that she is about to release a book on creativity called Big Magic. As part of her launch build up, she would release excerpts from her upcoming book on creativity. I knew I had to read it.

If you are a creative person or are into to creative stuff, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

“Big Magic” wants to help its readers live creatively, which does not necessarily mean “pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts,” but “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” If you want to write or act or paint, this book wants to help you do that.

Ranking

9/10

I highly rate this book and I’m sure I will reread it sometime in the future.

By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “This, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
  • “When I refer to “creative living,”… I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

  • “Work with all your heart, because, I promise, if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”
  • “Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”

  • “Everybody imitates before they can innovate.”
  • “If you don’t have the courage, let’s try to get you some. Because creative living is a path for the brave. We all know this. And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it.”
  • Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

  • “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
  • “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

  • “It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.”
  • “Anyhow, the older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.”

  • “Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognise the distinction. Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.”
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About Roche Mamabolo

Entrepreneur, Author, Dad. Passionate about Innovation and Creativity, Books, Poetry, Traveling, Theatre, Art, Music.
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One Response to Book Review: Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. pumla says:

    Now you make me wanna run to the bookshop and get myself a copy. Can’t wait to embark on the journey of bein g more creative.

    Thank you
    @Pumlasfood – Author of PumlasFood – Family Style.

    P.s. Great review I’ve read some of Elizabeth books. Eat Pray Love Last American am currently reading Committed.

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