2021 new arrival Big online sale Magic: sale Creative Living Beyond Fear online

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The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of
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Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Review

Praise for Big Magic: 

The instant #1 New York Times Bestseller


Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life…Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book…Gilbert doesn’t just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how.”  —Washington Post

"In [Gilbert’s] first foray into full-on self-help [she] shares intimate glimpses into the life of a world-famous creative, complete with bouts of paralyzing fear and frustration, in an attempt to coax the rest of us into walking through the world just a little bit braver.”   —Elle

“The Eat, Pray, Love author demystifies the tricky business of creativity. We’re all ears.” —Cosmopolitan

“Elizabeth Gilbert is my new spirit animal… I have profoundly changed my approach to creating since I read this book." —Huffington Post

“Gilbert leads readers through breaking out of their own creative ruts, finding fulfillment, and facing fear while finding balance between our spiritual and pragmatic beings in her forth coming book. Yes, please.” —Bustle

Big Magic will resonate with writers and artists who find the process of producing work to be particularly painful…Through anecdotes about her creative failures and resourcefulness, as well as those other artists, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life ‘that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear." —Daily Beast

"Gilbert demystifies the creative process, examining the practices of great artists to shed light on finding inspiration in the every day.”  —Harper’s Bazaar
 
“Part inspiration, part how-to, it offers up both a philosophy of creativity and advice for living a more creatively fulfilling life.”— Fast Company

Big Magic tackles the challenges of living the creative life…Reading it is a little like having a coach by your side, cheering on your efforts – whatever they are – candidly and selflessly.” – Christian Science Monitor

“Gilbert [writes] with sincerity and humility about the joy that creativity has given her... If you enjoyed Eat Pray Love, if you are drawn to self-help or inspirational books, or if you just like to bask in another person’s positive glow, you’ll love Big Magic.” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Big Magic wants to help its readers live creatively…[Gilbert believes] creativity is inside all of us, it should be expressed, and it is not selfish or crazy or foolish to do so – it is in fact the best way to live a satisfying life...[ Big Magic] constitutes good advice…[in a voice that’s] charming, personable, self-aware, jokey, conversational….[and] that Gilbert does so well.” —New York Times Book Review

“A lucid and luminous inquiry into the relationship between human beings and the mysteries of the creative experience… What makes her book so immensely helpful is precisely its lived and living nature…wholly electrifying.” —Brainpickings
 
"Gilbert tackles heavy, sensitive subject matter but keeps it light, making what''s essentially a self-help book feel like a good talk with a friend rather than a sermon." —Associated Press
 
“Transformative.” —Flavorwire

“Gilbert’s trademark warmth and enthusiasm abounds...wise...[and] pointed." —Boston Globe

“Part pat-on-the-back, part slap-in-the-face, [Big Magic is] a permission slip for readers to stop making excuses and get to work… a fresh and modern surprise that fans of her work will relish." —Wichita Eagle

“Funny. Insightful. Honest. Irreverent...But, of course, most of us have read Gilbert before and these qualities find their way into all of her works. The particular form of magic in  Big Magic comes in a very unusual wrapping: hope and love... Big Magic read[s] like a devotional. Like a love letter to the earnest artist inside most of our hearts.”  —Books and Whatnot

“Distinctly refreshing." —TED Ideas Blog

“Big Magic will leave you feeling inspired to be curious, brave, free, and, most of all, creative.” -Lauren Conrad

"Full of chatty advice, pep talks, amusing and inspiring stories...Gilbert’s idea of living creatively may incorporate touches of magic, but she’s practical in the extreme.” — Miami Herald

“In her signature conversational style, both sassy and serious, Gilbert invokes high- and low-brow cultural references and recommends we channel our inner trickster… [Her] manifesto is a book to read through quickly, and then start again to discover any big magic you may have missed.” – KMUW

"Big Magic ripples with Gilbert’s enthusiasm, choice metaphor, and humor." -LitHub

“Gilbert will completely change the way you think about the creative process.”— Indienext

“The writing here is so friendly and funny that Gilbert’s perspective on creative living goes down like lemonade in summer." —BookPage

“From the deeply self-aware, poetically gifted author of Eat, Pray, Love comes... the best nonfiction book I’ve read in years. For anyone who''s ever struggled with feeling worthy to express themselves through art, or been discouraged by the absence of inspiration, I''m not being hyperbolic when I say this book might just change your life.” —Mind Body Green

“Inspirational… Big Magic provides a guidebook for anyone wanting to live a more creative life. You don’t have to be an artist to get value out of this book; it is for anyone who wants to live with more joy, love, happiness, and abundance in their world.”—YAHOO! SHOPPING

“Gilbert, author of the wildly successful memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” and a successful novelist (“The Signature of All Things”) offers her prescriptions for unlocking the creativity within.” —Seattle Times

“Whatever your artistic pursuit, you’ll nod in agreement as Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on the elusive, frustrating and sometimes comically strange process of creativity. Thoughtful and funny, Gilbert makes an excellent case for doing whatever it takes to unlock your inner artist and find more joy in life.” — Woman''s Day

“What Gilbert’s offering her fans…[is] permission to be creative…[She] is interested in the importance of creativity for the individual’s soul…When you hear the people who want to create, and the gratitude they feel toward [her], you can’t help feeling that she’s healed them—that she has, in fact, become the kind of guru she once sought.” — The New Yorker, on the "Magic Lessons" podcast series
 
“The latest from Gilbert is all about you—that’s 268 pages of practical advice for tapping into your own creativity... Consider her your own personal life coach.”— Marie Claire
 
"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.”  —PopSugar

“Elizabeth Gilbert is an exceptionally gifted author…and this book is remarkable…. It is so densely packed with pearls of wisdom that I read it once for pleasure, and then again to unpack and outline the text just like I used to do in college…A must-read for anyone on the creative spectrum, from those who don’t think there is a creative bone in their body to those who make a living from their artistic expression.” – Yakima Herald

“Reading Big Magic is the next best thing to hiring Elizabeth Gilbert [as your] coach.”—PARNASSUS BOOKS

“A joyful ride through the enigmatic jungle of creative existence… [ Big Magic] is not just about the production of artistic works but about building a life that nurtures the creative being in all of us.”— CREATIV Magazine

" Big Magic [is ]… fearless of voice and heart-opening in authenticity; in short, a book worthy of its name." — Literary Inklings

“A conversational, intimate glimpse into Gilbert’s process and philosophy, as personable as a confab over coffee… essential reading for anyone who wants to live a larger life, filled with more ideas, more projects, and more fulfillment…Big Magic is powerful stuff.” – Barnes & Noble Blog

“A book-length meditation on inspiration.” — Newsday

“Whether you long to write the great American novel or you just want to be more present and mindful in your daily life, you can find plenty of inspiration in this self-help tome… … the can-do, optimistic tone makes for an uplifting read.” – All You Magazine

"[Gilbert will] make you feel giddy about creation." –Medium

"Gilbert mines her writer''s career to provide unique, inspiring and constructive insights on how to navigate the wild ride that is the creative life...  Her charming nuggets are wise, comforting and ultimately encouraging." –About.com

“Gilbert offers helpful suggestions for outwitting writer’s block and perfectionism...and lets a tart sense of humor emerge." - Columbus Dispatch

“Anyone living with some manifestation of writer’s block (or any other artistic variant of such affliction) will find [Gilbert''s] sage advice is effectively a worthwhile kick in the butt… Without the smallest hint of narcissism, the mega-bestselling author shares the pinnacles and pitfalls of failure and success and how to wrangle the criticism, inside and out.”— Steamboat Pilot & Today

“Gilbert sweetly yet powerfully nudges readers to release fear, summon courage and allow the ‘strange jewels’ hidden within each of us to emerge and shine. The end result is the ‘big magic’… Engaging storytelling mixed with personal anecdotes and astute insights make Big Magic a rewarding, motivating and delightful read.” — Sucess Magazine

“There''s nothing hippie-dippy about Gilbert''s raw, honest, and downright hilarious observations of her own creative plight...This isn''t a How-To guide for creative living; this is the story of how one woman simply figured things out for herself, and learned how to live in harmony with her own creative soul. All can find a kind of solemn peace and reassurance in her words.” -Everyday eBook

“A transformative nonfiction treatise on creativity…Filled with her signature humor, big-heartedness, wild vulnerability and wisdom, Gilbert delivers a vibrant and inspirational book.” - About Town Magazine

"A booster that will help you out of any rut.” - Kansas City Star

"The author of Eat Pray Love, who has already changed so many lives, now looks to change thinking on creativity." - The New York Daily News

“Worth a read for any artist struggling for some peace and quiet in a head bursting with creativity."
– Bustle, Included in “9 Books To Help You Find Inner Peace”

"Some might call Elizabeth Gilbert by the name Queen Midas … Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. A rare gift, this book acknowledges difficulty, but empowers its readers to transcend it in the name of the beautiful mysteries of existence.” — WNC Woman Magazine

“A magnificent guide to how to be creative…[and] a heartfelt gem… I simultaneously wanted to quickly turn the page to see what was next while savoring the advice on each page… Gilbert is determined to guide you into the light. Go with her.” — Jersey Journal

"Irresistible…If creativity is something you value highly—both in others and as fundamental to your own existence—you should find much to love in Big Magic, whether or not you typically gravitate toward creativity guides.” —Chapter 16

"A non-fiction tour-de force...pragmatic, rational, and wholly convincing." — Reader''s Digest UK

“A treasure map to unleash your most creative and expressive life.” –Marie TV

Big Magic seeks to both inspire you and strip you of any excuse to not pursue your creative interests…[it’s] passionate, down-to-earth and bursting with Gilbert’s obvious love for the subject matter and her readers… a delight to read.” – Pop Mythology 

“An empathetic and inspiring guide to mustering the courage to live a creative life. … Nearly anyone who picks up this self-help manual should finish it feeling inspired, even if only to dream of a life without limits.”  — Publisher''s Weekly (starred review) 

"Gilbert serves as an enthusiastic coach for readers who want more out of life. Highly recommended." — Library Journal (starred review)

“Gilbert’s wise and motivating book of encouragement and advice will induce readers not only to follow specific artistic dreams but also to live life more creatively, fully, and contentedly.” – Booklist

"The sincerity, grace, and flashes of humor that characterize [Gilbert’s] writing and insights should appeal to a wider audience…warmly inspirational.” — Kirkus


 
 
 

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big MagicEat Pray Love, and The Signature of All Things, as well as several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her latest novel, City of Girls, comes out in June, 2019. 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Jack Gilbert, who was not related to me—unfortunately for me.

Jack Gilbert was a great poet, but if you’ve never heard of him, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault. He never much cared about being known. But I knew about him, and I loved him dearly from a respectful distance, so let me tell you about him.

Jack Gilbert was born in Pittsburgh in 1925 and grew up in the midst of that city’s smoke, noise, and industry. He worked in factories and steel mills as a young man, but was called from an early age to write poetry. He answered the call without hesitation. He became a poet the way other men become monks: as a devotional practice, as an act of love, and as a lifelong commitment to the search for grace and transcendence. I think this is probably a very good way to become a poet. Or to become anything, really, that calls to your heart and brings you to life.

Jack could’ve been famous, but he wasn’t into it. He had the talent and the charisma for fame, but he never had the interest. His first collection, published in 1962, won the prestigious Yale Younger Poets prize and was nominated for the Pulitzer. What’s more, he won over audiences as well as critics, which is not an easy feat for a poet in the modern world. There was something about him that drew people in and kept them captivated. He was handsome, passionate, sexy, brilliant on stage. He was a magnet for women and an idol for men. He was photographed for Vogue, looking gorgeous and romantic. People were crazy about him. He could’ve been a rock star.

Instead, he disappeared. He didn’t want to be distractedby too much commotion. Later in life he reported that he had found his fame boring—not because it was immoral or corrupting, but simply because it was exactly the same thing every day. He was looking for something richer, more textured, more varied. So he dropped out. He went to live in Europe and stayed there for twenty years. He lived for a while in Italy, a while in Denmark, but mostly he lived in a shepherd’s hut on a mountaintop in Greece. There, he contemplated the eternal mysteries, watched the light change, and wrote his poems in private. He had his love stories, his obstacles, his victories. He was happy. He got by somehow, making a living here and there. He needed little. He allowed his name to be forgotten.

After two decades, Jack Gilbert resurfaced and publishedanother collection of poems. Again, the literary world fellin love with him. Again, he could have been famous. Again,he disappeared—this time for a decade. This would be hispattern always: isolation, followed by the publication ofsomething sublime, followed by more isolation. He was likea rare orchid, with blooms separated by many years. Henever promoted himself in the least. (In one of the few interviewshe ever gave, Gilbert was asked how he thoughthis detachment from the publishing world had affected hiscareer. He laughed and said, “I suppose it’s been fatal.”)

The only reason I ever heard of Jack Gilbert was that, quite late in his life, he returned to America and—for motives I will never know—took a temporary teaching position in the creative writing department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The following year, 2005, it happened that I took exactly the same job. (Around campus,they started jokingly calling the position “the Gilbert Chair.”) I found Jack Gilbert’s books in my office—the office that had once been his. It was almost like the room was still warm from his presence. I read his poems and was overcome by their grandeur, and by how much his writing reminded me of Whitman. (“We must risk delight,” he wrote. “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”)

He and I had the same surname, we’d held the same job, we had inhabited the same office, we had taught many ofthe same students, and now I was in love with his words; naturally enough, I became deeply curious about him. I asked around: Who was Jack Gilbert?

Students told me he was the most extraordinary man they’d ever encountered. He had seemed not quite of this world, they said. He seemed to live in a state of uninterrupted marvel, and he encouraged them to do the same. He didn’t so much teach them how to write poetry, they said, but why: because of delight. Because of stubborn gladness. He told them that they must live their most creative lives as a means of fighting back against the ruthless furnace of this world.

Most of all, though, he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, their lives would remain small—far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be.

I never met Jack Gilbert myself, and now he is gone—he passed away in 2012. I probably could’ve made it a personal mission to seek him out and meet him while he was living, but I never really wanted to. (Experience has taught me to be careful of meeting my heroes in person; it can be terribly disappointing.) Anyway, I quite liked the way he lived inside my imagination as a massive and powerful presence, built out of his poems and the stories I’d heard about him. So I decided to know him only that way—through my imagination. And that’s where he remains for me to this day: still alive inside me, completely internalized, almost as though I dreamed him up.

But I will never forget what the real Jack Gilbert told somebody else—an actual flesh-and-blood person, a shy University of Tennessee student. This young woman recounted to me that one afternoon, after his poetry class, Jack had taken her aside. He complimented her work, then asked what she wanted to do with her life. Hesitantly, she admitted that perhaps she wanted to be a writer.

He smiled at the girl with infinite compassion and asked, “Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

So 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?

Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. I have no way of knowing such a thing. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses. I don’t know your capacities, your aspirations, your longings, your secret talents. But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you. I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living.

The courage to go on that hunt in the first place—that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.

The often surprising results of that hunt—that’s what I call Big Magic.

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Top reviews from the United States

Sarah B
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Makes You Want to Write
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2016
Having read a few of the valid negative reviews, I want to start by talking about what this book is *not* in case you''re not sure if you should pick it up: -it is not a dense, instructional, or academic primer about creativity. -although Gilbert applies her... See more
Having read a few of the valid negative reviews, I want to start by talking about what this book is *not* in case you''re not sure if you should pick it up:

-it is not a dense, instructional, or academic primer about creativity.
-although Gilbert applies her thinking to all types of creativity, it''s not really about anything but writing. Gilbert is a writer, and her examples are about writing. Although, someone who needs inspiration to pursue that creative hobby they''ve always loved may find some here.
-it''s not high brow, and nothing Gilbert talks about is researched or proven. I guess that relates to the first point, which is that

This is a very *light* book. It''s an encouraging book. And it''s a book that contains, I think, some ideas you may not have heard before, or ideas we don''t hear enough. Namely the idea that if you think about inspiration and writing ideas as independent spirits floating about in the ether, you need to do everything you can to attract them. Also that there''s no reason to suffer for art, but there''s every reason to enjoy it.

I don''t really think Gilbert meant for her ideas to constitute a "religion of writing." But it''s helpful to think about, in terms of your own positivity, dedication, and openness to creativity. Gilbert assures us that if we approach writing with joy, if we ignore all of the excuses we create not to write (I''m not good enough, I''m too old, I don''t have an MFA, it will never pay, etc etc), and make space for creativity in our lives, that the writing will come, and it will be fulfilling.

I gave this book 4 stars because anytime I picked it up and read a few pages (I deliberately took more than a year to finish it), I was guaranteed to write afterward. So that''s how I used it. Whenever I needed encouragement, I read a few pages. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmingly negative about writing, I read a few pages. Whenever I was convinced that I would never write a decent word, I read a few pages. In this way, I savored the book like Charlie savors his bar of chocolate for a whole month, nibbling at it in the dead of night when he needed it most.

In sum, I wouldn''t recommend this book to anyone who is looking to study, or intellectually explore creativity. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to write. It worked for me. And I''ll come back to it again whenever I''m feeling low about writing, because without fail, it made me want to write. And that''s it.
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Ladybug
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Incredibly powerful.
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2015
Talk about receiving the right message at the right time. Wow. Big Magic is one of the most honest discussions about the creative process that I’ve ever read. Gilbert strikes a playful and conversational tone, but make no mistake, this is all straight talk. Her no-BS... See more
Talk about receiving the right message at the right time. Wow. Big Magic is one of the most honest discussions about the creative process that I’ve ever read. Gilbert strikes a playful and conversational tone, but make no mistake, this is all straight talk. Her no-BS attitude helps do away with the unrealistic expectations and unnecessary melodrama attached to the concept of “creative living” (like how she so expertly pish-poshes the "tormented artist" ideal). And in its place, she asks all people who feel called to create (writers, painters, musicians, ice skaters, WHATEVER) to quietly and joyfully accept their creative inclinations and ideas as gifts from the universe. She reminds them to approach their creativity with curiosity and openness, with playfulness and joy—even when it’s tough, even when there is no Pulitzer, no bestseller list, no Olympic medal, no call from the Met. Own that creativity, she encourages. Also, stay light with it.

This was the message I (apparently) desperately needed to hear. I’m a stay-at-home mom with three young children. And when people ask me what I do, that is what I always tell them. But that isn’t what I want to tell them. What I want to tell them—what I want to shout from the rooftops, in fact—is that I’m a writer. Sure, barely anyone reads what I write, I’ve never been published, and it probably goes without saying that I’ve never been paid for a single sentence. In other words, no one really gets anything out of my work but me. But I love it, straight up. So I keep writing, regardless.

Yet it feels weird to declare yourself “A Something!” when that something doesn’t earn you money or status or likes or hits or retweets. Which means even though this side-passion feels so authentically “me,” I hide it so people won’t think I’m a loser, an imposter, a wannabe, an embarrassment, a failure…and the list goes on.

I guess this reality had been bumming me out more than I realized, because when I read the following words, they resonated with me in an unimaginably powerful and loving way--like I was receiving a cosmic hug:

“Shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require in order to become ‘creatively legitimate’… You do not need a permission slip from the principal’s office to live a creative life. Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip—THERE, I just gave it to you… Now go make something.”

In other words, Gilbert’s message is this: accept that you need to create. Accept that this is a part of you, that you are ALREADY “creatively legitimate.” And just do what you naturally feel compelled to do. Do it with joy—even when it gets difficult—and don’t worry about how it will be received (if it’s received at all). If you are called to be a maker, then you will just have to make. Own who you are, for better or worse.

So that’s what I’m doing from now on. I’m owning it. This is me stating my intent:

Hello, world. My name is Ladybug. I am a writer.
2,239 people found this helpful
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Kat
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It was a constant reminder that this author achieved great success with her Eat Pray Love book and opportunities ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2018
I purchased this book after many raving reviews from friends about how transformational and inspiring the content was. To me, the book felt very repetitive. It was a constant reminder that this author achieved great success with her Eat Pray Love book and opportunities that... See more
I purchased this book after many raving reviews from friends about how transformational and inspiring the content was. To me, the book felt very repetitive. It was a constant reminder that this author achieved great success with her Eat Pray Love book and opportunities that had floated her way after the wild success. Yes, there were anecdotes about other book ideas that did not come to fruition, but I didn''t feel like it was very inspiring. Reading this book felt like a constant humble-brag of Eat Pray Love''s success.

As a creative, I was hoping to learn more about the tactics she used to overcome her fears and push her work through the industry. Maybe I had the wrong expectations for this book? I''ve always enjoyed more "to do" type books to inspire me to get moving on goals. This is not one of those books.
129 people found this helpful
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Bookphile
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Incredibly liberating; an uplifting read for creative people of all stripes
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2016
Honestly, there''s nothing revolutionary in this book as far as what Gilbert is saying. She hasn''t found some magical new formula for unlocking your creativity. Instead, what she has done is create a dialog, as if you were sitting down to coffee with a friend and confessing... See more
Honestly, there''s nothing revolutionary in this book as far as what Gilbert is saying. She hasn''t found some magical new formula for unlocking your creativity. Instead, what she has done is create a dialog, as if you were sitting down to coffee with a friend and confessing that you really wanted to be creative but... Gilbert deals with the variety of things that could follow that "but", and she pulls apart each and every one.

Will everyone appreciate this book? Probably not. Gilbert does slay some pretty sacred cows, including the notion of the "tortured" artist, but I think she makes a very compelling case for all the cows she slays. The bottom line of this book, really, is do you want to be a creative person because you want the sense of accomplishment and transcendence that creativity can inspire, or do you want to be a creative person because you''re hoping to make millions and be lauded by the masses? If it''s the second, Gilbert basically tells you that you need not apply, and I agree with her. Creativity may pay off monetarily or in the form of social approbation, or it may not, but if all you really want is to create, who cares? Gilbert holds up all the fears that commonly hold people back and says, "So what?"

While I''m not a religious person, I got where she was going by likening creativity to a sort of religious calling. As she says, she doesn''t advocate for people moving out to a mountain and living a life of solitary devotion to creativity--unless that''s your thing, in which case you should do it. Instead, she''s advocating for creativity as a form of not just self-expression, but as a way for people to make something beautiful solely for the sake of making something beautiful. As she says, it''s both essential and non-essential. At heart, I think that''s what makes us human: that we create things that aren''t necessary merely because we like the look of them, or the sound of them, or the taste of them, or the way they feel when we wear them. It''s in the act of creating--even if our creation is bad or misunderstood or unloved--that we are able to get outside of our own heads for a bit. We can forget about our mundane worries and struggles and we can experience moments of pure joy.

Not that she''s saying that all this can come about without some fear and struggle and some sense of pain. What she advises is that we learn to live with these things without allowing them to control us. I know this seems simplistic, but she does such a great job of laying out how to avoid being controlled by your fears. What she''s revealing here is that what holds most people back is themselves. What does it matter if people dismiss your creativity or think you''re strange? The best kind of creativity, Gilbert says, is the kind that''s done entirely because *you* want to do it, not because you''re trying to appeal to the masses. The Big Magic, really, is experiencing the joys of creativity for yourself and not for some nebulous, unknown consumer market. If you''re fortunate, the market may follow. If not, it won''t. Either way, you''ll have created something and will have the pride of knowing that it''s yours. And when you''re done, you''ll let it loose, acknowledge that it may not be perfect, and go on to make something else. You can do all this with a sense of awe that you''re doing something that fulfills a need deep within yourself. It won''t feed you or clothe you or put a roof over your head (unless your creative outlet is something like farming or weaving or carpentry, in which case you may well fulfill some of these essential needs as well), but it will provide you with experiences that you can hoard like treasures, to be pulled out and admired and marveled at whenever you so desire.

Reading this book was so good for me because it helped me to see how counterproductive some of the nagging voices in the back of my head are. It encouraged me to take creative leaps and to be philosophical when those leaps sometimes fail, as they inevitably will. Gilbert has helped me to see that, no matter what, I will always long for that creative outlet, so why bother denying it to myself? I can engage with it for the pure joy of engaging with it, and if anything else comes of it, great. If not, well, I''ll have been living the life I want to live, and that really counts for more than anything else.
102 people found this helpful
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K. Thomas
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Woof, this was not for me
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2019
I made through the first chapter and wanted to set it on fire. The writing was bad, reasoning was bad. Every thing is subjective, and I can see how much this resonates with others. If you’re a fan of Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll love this book. If not, run, don’t walk away... See more
I made through the first chapter and wanted to set it on fire. The writing was bad, reasoning was bad. Every thing is subjective, and I can see how much this resonates with others.
If you’re a fan of Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll love this book. If not, run, don’t walk away from this book.
34 people found this helpful
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Allison
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Was disappointed. Kind of full of crap
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2017
Was disappointed. Kind of full of crap. I didn''t expect this to be a self-aggrandizing book. The author brags about her happenstance creative process. I didn''t get a lot of practical advice out of this. Pass up if you have the chance.
64 people found this helpful
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cupcake
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
All you terrified creatives out there, read it!
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2016
I loved this book! To be precise, the chatty, frivolous, flippant tone of the book was a turn off for me initially, but, in retrospect, I think it was the perfect style for this particular book. Why? Because Elizabeth reduced her message down to the simplest, most basic,... See more
I loved this book! To be precise, the chatty, frivolous, flippant tone of the book was a turn off for me initially, but, in retrospect, I think it was the perfect style for this particular book. Why? Because Elizabeth reduced her message down to the simplest, most basic, most common sense, most irrefutable level: how to abolish creative blocks for dummies. I GOT IT! I have been working on creative fears for 50 years of my entire 64 year old life, and this book was the final push over the creative freedom cliff. My blocks are gone and I am now working in my studio and (another gasp!) enjoying it! In particular, I loved her idea that creative ideas/inspiration are real "beings" seeking to be made material, and that this inspiration seeking to be made material hates it and will avoid us, if we complain and bitch about our artistic difficulties. I loved her message that we must accept the creative ideas/inspiration in the form that the come to us-without needing to be "masterpieces" each and every time. I loved her message that fear and creativity often/always walk together, and we must accept fear on our creative road trip, but that we must let fear know it can''t drive, make decisions, pick the route or even touch the radio. I loved her assertion that we place too much burden on poor little creativity to insist that we earn our living by it. I loved her analogy that creative success is like the crazy old rich lady who suddenly cuts her trusted friends who have served her loyally for years out of her will and gives a Mercedes to the cute boy who cleaned her pool once. She is so right about this. Don''t even think about capricious success. I loved her devotion to her writing and have vowed to up my devotional level to my art. I loved her stories about her history of rejections and how she phrased it that she would live so long, that she would get rejected by people who weren''t even born yet!

But, seriously, folks, for those of you out there who have fears that keep you from doing or happily doing your particular art, this book should cause a major shift in your perspective. I hope it does. It did for me.

Finally, I found this book to be applicable to all forms of creative endeavors, not just writing.
53 people found this helpful
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Samantha Tata
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
So disappointed by this book
Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2017
So disappointed by this book. It''s a slog to read, and the tone shifts awkwardly throughout from conversational (fine) to antiquated (painful). I went into this book totally blind with little expectations and what I found was a shallow, narcissistic, boring piece. At times,... See more
So disappointed by this book. It''s a slog to read, and the tone shifts awkwardly throughout from conversational (fine) to antiquated (painful). I went into this book totally blind with little expectations and what I found was a shallow, narcissistic, boring piece. At times, the writer comes across as giving a lesson of tough love, which I appreciate, but most of the time, that "tough love" sounds like a snobby reprimand that you''re not open enough to creativity. Very little here in the way of creative, interesting ideas.
75 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Dolly Cupcake
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Repetitive & sadly doesn’t grab me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 4, 2018
I want to like this book but I’m half way through, according to my Kindle, and ready to give up. It goes on and on about the blocks to creativity and basically the message so far seems to be : if you want to be creative just have a go! Sorry Amazon community, everyone else...See more
I want to like this book but I’m half way through, according to my Kindle, and ready to give up. It goes on and on about the blocks to creativity and basically the message so far seems to be : if you want to be creative just have a go! Sorry Amazon community, everyone else seems to love it, but I just want to be honest.
97 people found this helpful
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Janie U
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Repetitive and thin on practical advice - but I still love the author!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2019
I''ve read several books by this author and adored them but came away from this book feeling strangely untouched by it. I think I get the message - ie. drop the fear and allow yourself to be as creative as you want to be. I understand why this is important to the author and...See more
I''ve read several books by this author and adored them but came away from this book feeling strangely untouched by it. I think I get the message - ie. drop the fear and allow yourself to be as creative as you want to be. I understand why this is important to the author and can also understand why it is important to many people. As a book though, I thought it was unnecessary to write. The message is very short and clear with not enough to fill a book without lots of repetition. I tried to find something substantial and practical that can be taken away to put into practice and there is very little of that. I still love the author (in fact her latest novel is one of her current favourite recommendations) but this one was not a hit with me.
37 people found this helpful
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georgia
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful & inspiring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It posed many questions for me for my own future and also taught me to be more playful and trusting with my creativity in the process of ‘figuring it all out’. I would recommend to any other creatives out there.
21 people found this helpful
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.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
All big life-sized creative questions answered in a fun Elizabeth-Gilbert-way!
Reviewed in India on February 6, 2017
EDITING THE TITLE: This book isn''t for those who wish to live a creative life. It if for those who wish to LIVE. (Because really, what is life without creativity?) This book is all of life! Really. All big questions that have ever raised themselves in my head- most of them...See more
EDITING THE TITLE: This book isn''t for those who wish to live a creative life. It if for those who wish to LIVE. (Because really, what is life without creativity?) This book is all of life! Really. All big questions that have ever raised themselves in my head- most of them are answered in here in a very fun Liz-Gilbert-Only way. The book is not like EAT PRAY LOVE. But I don''t think anyone other than Liz Gilbert can write it. It doesn''t have any practical 1-2-3-4 step by step guidelines. But it is very much applicable in everyday life. Read it if you are afraid of new things. Please read it if you wish to do any creative-projects in life. Please please read it if you are looking for a mystic creativity mentor. Please please please read it if you are a suffering creative. (You don''t have to suffer to be creative.) All I know is that this book is going to be my long-term companion.
82 people found this helpful
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Juliet Vorster
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiring, thoughtful, and light.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 30, 2018
Thank you Liz, this book found me in just the perfect moment. It has irritated, needled, stroked and cajoled my ideas about my own creative process. But more than anything it has been the kick in the pants I needed to get back to work. I am endlessly grateful to have read...See more
Thank you Liz, this book found me in just the perfect moment. It has irritated, needled, stroked and cajoled my ideas about my own creative process. But more than anything it has been the kick in the pants I needed to get back to work. I am endlessly grateful to have read it and am adding it to my ‘read regularly’ list along with Richard Bach’s ‘Illusion’ and Steven Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’.
17 people found this helpful
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