Steven Pressfield: The Knowledge Review:
Steven Pressfield has been writing books for years. I had never heard of him or any of his work. It goes to show that it doesn’t matter where or when your content will come to a new audience. I stumbled upon Steven after hearing him on the newest episode of The James Altucher Show. James’ show is becoming my go-to podcast for incredible new books.
The Knowledge is a book that is hard to describe because it has many layers. Don’t get me wrong the book is an easy and enjoyable read. What I do mean is that you are questioning what was real and what was fiction throughout the book. Yes, most of the time you can see where he made it up to make the story better. Or was it?
Steven Pressfield takes on himself in the book under the nickname Stretch. Stretch is an aspiring writer who drives a taxi cab to make ends meet. He has failed with his previous books and has not been able to get off the ground. Stretch is a character we can all relate to because of his need for distractions. Marty, his agent in the book, is asking for Stevens third novel and pushing him to get to it done. The problem is Steven gets mixed up in all sorts of trouble after he makes a deal to help his boss, Marvin Bablik.
The “villain” throughout the book is not so much the enemies that Steven writes. But something that he calls The Resistance.
The Resistance is anything and everything that we can that self-sabotaging and destructive.
We see this in the book by Stretch doing things that distract him from creating. Such as taking jobs for his boss, managing a rock band, and drinking. He also cannot cope with the loss of his now famous ex-wife.
The Knowledge shows us that we need to “turn pro” to get anything done. We need to take our work and our art or The Resistance will swallow us whole.
The book reads like a crime noir novel and reminded me of one of my favorite crime authors Ed Brubaker. We are on a full throttle ride into the life of Stretch. His adventures with The Turk (Marvin Bablik). But we also gain insights of what it took Steven himself to become the writer he is today. The trials and tribulations he had to face. The heartbreak of a failed marriage and the push/pull of the other woman in his life.
The relationship part of the book is the part that stood out for me. I won’t give anything away but our hero Stretch has a handful of lady friends. We get to see how their relationships unfol – We have all been there – We have the girl who doesn’t want us and we yearn for. Yet maybe the perfect love was right under our noses the entire time. Stretch’s has wronged his wife by being a loser who hasn’t made it as a writer. He has also put her through infidelity and her own heartbreak. So what does his wife do? She becomes self-made in Hollywood becoming a Scream Queens of sorts.
Listening to Steven talk about the book on James’ podcast really spoke to me. I want to talk about that now.
The entire book was wrote using Stevens own personal life story turned up to 100.
It’s exciting and engaging. When he spoke about it. My mind lit up with thousands of ideas for what could well one day be my own book.
He says writing should be about your life. Write about what you know and make the necessary changes to the story so readers stay entertained. Stevens shows us in The Knowledge that no one would want to read a story of him driving a cab and writing a novel. That would bore us. So what he does is throw in the entire crime noir story on top of his own reality. Not only do we get to learn more about Steven. We get to see his writing at an artistic high because he’s actually lived parts of his novel.
The book was a fantastic read that I read. I was turning page after page until it was over. It is that good. The fiction was entertaining as hell. The nonfiction was inspirational. Not only for aspiring writers but anybody who has a creative bone in their body.
I urge fans of crime noir or The Big Lebowski to buy this book. I also urge artists or creators to read this book because it will show the struggles we all have. The Knowledge shows our constant battle between creating. The distractions that are always trying to stop us (The Resistance).
I look forward to reading more books by Steven in the upcoming new year.
P.S.S. If you want to check out any of Steven Pressfield’s books then click here