the war of art

Zoe – Foodie and Photog

Zoe blogs at Z’s Cup of Tea where she writes about gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free foods in addition to Trend & chic and Writer’s Bone. She also does work with Pressgram; as a community manager, in Google+, and on Flipboard. These are her good things.

Good things to read.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield ­ I’ve just read this book and it’s a definite keeper. Without putting it lightly, it is one of those books that does change your life. The basic principle of battling Resistance, as described in the book, can be applied to all parts of life, it isn’t just for  artists. It’s for everybody who’s ever had a dream of doing something but hasn’t for a variety of reasons, whether it was something in their life that happened or they rationalized themselves out of it. My favorite example is early in the book, when Pressfield describes, as a way of illustrating the power of Resistance, Odysseus sailing home and, with Ithaca in sight, decides to have a nap when he falls asleep, his men cut open a sack in which they believed there was gold but instead contained the adverse Winds, which proceeded to drive back Odysseus’s ships and therefore delayed his homecoming for years. As well, the book is full of passages that can be highlighted for reference. Afterward, I chanced across this post about how The War of Art came to be and it’s a very cool story!

The Element by Ken Robinson ­ This is a book about people discovering their passion, what
makes them tick, which is what Ken Robinson calls “the Element”. Full of stories about people,
famous and everyday, who found their Element, it is an inspiring and uplifting read and it’s a book I recommend to everyone. Many people who read this book were so inspired that they wanted to find their own Element and that eventually resulted in the sequel, Finding Your Element (which I’ve also read and recommend).

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden ­ Easy to read
with lots of graphics and short, succinct passages that drive the point home, Paul Arden’s book
is a great pick­me­up that can be read within a single sitting or read in small bites at a time.
There isn’t a single page that isn’t brilliant. It’s also great paired with his other book, and that I
think is considered a sequel, Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite.

Good things to watch.

RMR: The Rick Mercer Report. ­ Rick Mercer is a Canadian comedian, television personality,
political satirist, author, and host of the Rick Mercer Report, a show where he takes viewers to
different parts of Canada and explores all kinds of aspects of Canadian culture, often with a
hans­ome approach and always entertaining. You can watch clips from his show on YouTube
and he has also written two books based on his show.

BBC’s Sherlock. ­ I can easily create a list of British shows I watch, so I’ll keep it to just
one.Sherlock is a brilliant show and one that I’ve been watching since it started, so…long­term
fan here! While it would be easy to say I like it because of the two leads, that is only partially true
as I like ­ love ­ everything about its production, including its writing and cinematography (the
floating text on the screen was a stroke of genius and anything I watched afterward that showed
a cut to a phone’s screen so that the audience could read it seemed dated) and the production
design. I pretty much read/watch/listen to just about everything officially related to the show. Now eagerly awaiting series four….!

Unsung Hero.­ Spoken in Thai,with English subtitles, this video is so beautiful! Short but packs a punch: following a man who commits random acts of kindness for mere strangers, watching it, particularly the conclusion, has shed a tear or two. You wouldn’t even know it’s an insurance ad unless it said so at the end.

Good things to use.

Pressgram. ­ An iOS photo publishing app, version 2.0 was recently released that gives more
publishing options (no longer just WordPress) and features, including paid. I am a community
leader for the app, so I might be biased but I think it’s great and I use it for my own blogging with

Sleep Genius. ­ The first and only sleep app I really tried was the Sleep Genius app (available for
iOS and Android), developed by sleep experts for NASA to help astronauts sleep. Unlike the
majority of sleep apps available, this app is based on scientific research and, based on my own
personal experience, it does work. There are three different tracks (one comes free with the app,
the other two are in­ app purchases) to help you reach a deep level of sleep as well as one
specifically for a 29­minute power nap and you can eventually train yourself with the app to wake
up naturally and peacefully rather than jerking yourself out of sleep with the jangling of an alarm

SuperBetter­. This is an app (iOS) I’ve just started to use and that’s newer to me. Most of my
family downloaded it after watching Jane McGonigal’s inspiring and informative TED talk about
videogames and how playing a game, which became SuperBetter, saved her life. People with
health issues and life­threatening illnesses have used this app to get better, but you don’t need to
have a health problem in order to use it. You can use it to get better at anything, whether it’s
taking walks more often or even just practicing being grateful. It’s free to play online on their
website (, or you can purchase the app for $4.99 in the App Store.

Connect with Zoe on Twitter, @ZsCupofTea.

Christine – Better Novel Project

Christine is the blogger behind, where she’s breaks down the key parts of three popular works of fiction and shares her findings. These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Matilda by Roald Dahl. As I work on my YA novel, I’ve been rereading my favorites from when I was little. It’s great to experience the wonder again, and at the same time, take the story off of the pedestal. You don’t realize as a kid how much you are filling in with your imagination. It’s a nice surprise to go back and see it’s just one word after another, not actual magic.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This is might be the best book for writers that is not about writing. Any creative pursuit is a real mental game, and this book gets you in the zone.

I signed up for Jeff Goins’s newsletters and read them as soon as they arrive in my inbox. I’ve learned a lot about honest marketing and connection this way. It’s geared toward writers and bloggers, but it’s mostly about self-promotion in a manner that adds value into the world instead of sleaze.

Good things to watch.

Hugo. Martin Scorsese’s film version of the Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabrey. This movie makes me want to clutch my hands to my heart and sigh. More than anything, it makes me want to be a better writer. The “everyday magic” is just lovely as a movie, especially when woven in with bits of real life film history.

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. I will read or watch anything concerning the hero’s journey. This DVD is especially worth it to see the bonus interview with George Lucas, who explains how myths inspired Star Wars.

Alice in Wonderland, The Disney Version. This will always be my favorite, and one of the only movies I can tolerate to put on “in the background” while I do other things I find it very soothing even on mute.

Good things to use.

Time Timer. This is my productivity must, because it doesn’t involve my phone, and unlike apps or my computer clock, I can put my my writing program into fullscreen and be distraction-free. As a bonus, it doesn’t make the annoying tick-tock like a normal kitchen timer.

Kikkerland Kraft Notes. I recently changed over to these notebooks, and I am hooked. The paper is really thin like onion skin, but somehow even inky pens don’t bleed through it. I love the natural brown color, and I feel less intimidated by the price that I am willing to write down all my ideas, instead of waiting for the good ones that are “worth it.”

Moleskine book light. Don’t go to sleep without an open notebook at your side! You might be more willing to force yourself out of that in between state and get your ideas down with this cute bendable book light.

Connect with Christine on Twitter, @BetterNovelProj.

Markus Almond – Brooklyn to Mars

Markus Almond publishes a zine blogs at where he writes about ‘business, art, and life’, and these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. The most beautiful and accessible Buddhist book.

The War of Art. A real kick in the ass for artists and entrepreneurs.

Good things to watch.

Big Bad Love.  The most underrated movie of all time.

Walk The Line.  The best love story ever told.

Motivational Talks (these are both awesome talks and they have conflicting views):

Cal Newport speaks at World Domination Summit and Larry Smith: Why You will fail to have a great career.

Good things to use.

Clear.  The best iPhone app for your to-do list.

Boomerang. A Gmail app for getting your inbox down to zero every day.

30/30.  An awesome time management app for your iPhone. The best way to listen to music.

Connect with Markus on Twitter, @MarkusAlmond.

Mitch Joel – Twist Image

Mitch Joel is the President of Twist Image, author of CTRL ALT Delete, and  Six Pixels of Separation (which is also the name of his blog and podcast), these are his good things.

Good things to read.

The Art of The Pitch by Peter Coughter. There are few books that better illustrate the art, power and storytelling prowess that comes from being a good presenter. I went from loving this book to believing that the ability to be a great (ok, decent) presenter is directly linked to your level of success. No joke.

Linchpin by Seth Godin. I used to be an entrepreneur, then I worked for a bunch of companies, then I became an entrepreneur again. I used to wonder what it takes to keep oneself employable in this day and age. The answer was simpler than I thought: make yourself indispensable. No one has written about this more magically than Seth Godin.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Most people whine about their work. Pressfield is a professional writer. He doesn’t get writer’s block… he simply does the work. This is an amazing book for anyone who procrastinates or thinks that there’s something out there that will help them get a move on. Read this book and get going.

Good things to watch.

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. This is a web series by Jerry Seinfeld. The title explains the premise. His guests have included everyone from Sarah Silverman to Don Rickles. From David Letterman to Larry David. It will not only make you laugh, but it will help you appreciate the very serious work that it takes to make us all laugh.

Good Life Project. I love this video interview series by Jonathan Fields. Long before I was invited on as a guest, I would watch and re-watch his amazingly deep interviews with people like Brene Brown, Dan Pink, Nancy Duarte and Dan Ariely. He has a gift for interviewing people.

Helvetica. This is an amazing documentary film by Gary Hustwit. Yes, a movie about the font Helvetica. This is true art and passion. Also, the filmography is just perfect.

Good things to use.

Buffer. This nifty little app allows you to choose online content and then decide how to share it online via Twitter, Facebook and more. I love this, because I typically read in the morning, so instead of flooding my feeds in one shot, Buffer app lets me stagger the links over a day or two.

Kindle App. I try to read as much as possible and I love books. I now read books exclusively on my iPhone with the Kindle app. Everytime I open it and see the hundreds of books, I marvel at the technological brilliance of being able to carry that many books around with me in my pocket.

LEGO Architecture. LEGO isn’t just for kids. I love building these more complex LEGO kits. I find it both relaxing and creative. Plus, this LEGO Architecture series allows me to feel both like an adult and a kid at the same time… who wouldn’t want that? Currently working on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum model.

Connect with Mitch on Twitter, @MitchJoel.

Donna Knutt – CEO of Luxie Labs

Donna Knutt is a coder, designer, mom and CEO of Luxie Labs, these are her good things.

Good things to read.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.   Ahhh procrastination. The enemy of us all! When Mike asked me to write my 3 things I was excited to share. The professional in me said “oh that’s easy, just jot down your 3 things for each category and you’re done…easy peasy.” Two days later, no list. How could something so seemingly simple be so darn difficult to complete. Pressfield calls it Resistance. It’s that destructive force inside us that rises whenever we embark on a difficult, or lengthy task that might do for us or others something that’s actually good. Its aim is to distract us; prevent us from doing our work. Yes even with years of business and writing experience, I let fear beat me until I remembered what Pressfield said. “Resistance hates it when we turn pro.” If you’ve ever struggled with completing any creative endeavor, (starting a biz, writing a book, running a marathon, etc) read The War of Art. It’ll help you overcome those obstacles we all bump into, and develop a more disciplined version of yourself. Highly recommend it!

The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.  You know those books that you read that make you wonder if the author was secretly spying on you or ninja-ed their way into your head? Well this is one of those books. If you’ve ever felt that there’s gotta be more to life, or that you were meant to do something great but you weren’t sure what or how, then read the AONC. Chris shows you another way to live. In his words, the overall message of the book is this: “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. Here’s how to do it.” It’s a book I recommend to all my friends and clients who are “non-conformist” like myself. And once my son learns how to read, please believe it’ll be on his reading list!

The Bible. I remember reading a story about George Buttrick, a former chaplain at Harvard University a few years ago. His students use to come to his office, plop down on his chair and say, “I don’t believe in God,” and Buttrick would give them this charming response: “Sit down and tell me what kind of God you don’t believe in, I probably don’t believe in that God either.” Most people have a distorted view of who God is, and they reject him because of past experiences, the church, family, movies, etc. But if you’re anything like me, you probably hate when people assume things about you that aren’t true. And I believe if we take the time to really read the bible for ourselves, we’ll develop a different view and better understanding of not only God but ourselves. The most challenging part though is sometimes “where do I start?” I say start anywhere. If you have to choose, I like Romans. It’s short, easy to read, and covers basically everything we need to understand and do while we’re chillin here on earth 🙂

Good things to watch.

The Good Life Project TV.  The Good Life Project TV is a weekly web show that highlights authors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators that are building meaningful things and bringing people together. Very inspiring!

Simon Sinek – Start With Why.   In this video, Sinek explains why some people or organizations are more innovative and influential, and how they are able to build and sustain large communities around their brand.

The sunset on the beach. It’s a totally magical and peaceful experience; To just sit and marvel at all that God has created.

Good things to use.

Your gut.  I can’t tell you how many times I went through something and had a gut feeling, but totally ignored it, only to find myself disappointed or stressed because I didn’t listen to myself. It’s happened too many times for me not to bring this one up. Normally we get to a point where we have to make a decision about something. It could be a job offer, a relationship, school, basically any life changing decision that will totally alter our mere existence! We dance around the options, knowing full well what we should do deep down inside. So the next time you come across a hard decision, trust your gut. It’s our internal guide or compass of sorts that directs us to exactly where we need to be.

Evernote.  This app is a lifesaver. I can jot down ideas, attach images, recordings, etc. and it syncs across all my devices. It’s a nice neat place to get all my ideas out of my head and into an organized space online (I’m actually writing this in Evernote right now).

Your muscles.  I recently did the Spartan Race in Citi Field. It was a total experience! I had never done any kind of race like it in my life, but after seeing a video about it I knew I had to do it! Everything about it was intimidating (3-4 miles of obstacles: rope climbing, crawling, lifting, you name it) but I was up for the challenge. It required mental toughness and physical strength so I had to train. Training for it showed me that if I pushed myself, I was capable of doing way more than I gave myself credit for. And the biggest thing I learned was that most obstacles we face are more mental than anything. So no matter your age, get out there and exercise. Push yourself. If it means signing up for something crazy like the Spartan Race, so be it. Just get out there.

Connect with Donna on Twitter, @DonnaKnutt.