War of Art, Steven Pressfield
Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
The Art of Dramatic Writing, Lajos Egri
Rebel Without a Crew, Robert Rodriguez
On Pressfield and Kleon:
For me, Pressfield and Kleon are the “Ari and Egri” of Creativity. (Aristotle and Egri are considered by many, including the film industry’s premier screenwriting teacher, Lew Hunter, to be the foundation for all teaching on screenwriting. Hunter refers to them lovingly as “Ari and Egri.” I tried to think of a catchy nickname, too, but “Pressy and Kleon” didn’t sound quite right).
Pressfield is Thesis, Kleon is Antithesis. Both together achieve Synthesis (which could be considered Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 with the dramatic writing). Both War of Art and Steal Like an Artist tackle the very foundations of Creativity itself, and can be incredibly useful to anyone who does anything creative, whether it be writing a novel, making a film, or even creating a startup business.
They are not in direct opposition to each other, but rather they compliment each other, just like Ari and Egri, when understood correctly. Pressfield seems to be more left-brained. “Do the work. At 9:00AM every morning, I will be creative.” Kleon tends to be more right-brained. “Practice productive procrastination. Take time to be bored.” Meld together the two hemispheres, and we have a holistic view of creativity. (NOTE: I know this is oversimplification; both artists I’m sure use their whole brains. I’m not saying this to pigeonhole either one of them, just as an one approach to understanding these two books, which in my opinion should be companion texts, read together. And it just so happened that I read them both at the same time, so it worked out perfectly for me.)
They are both quick reads, which is perfect, because you can go back and re-read them often and recharge your creative batteries. I plan on re-reading both over and over again.