Big Magic
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.

Big Magic Details

TitleBig Magic
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 22nd, 2015
PublisherRiverhead Books
ISBN-139781594634710
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Language, Writing, Audiobook

Big Magic Review

  • Ariel
    January 1, 1970
    I appreciate and respect Elizabeth Gilbert's attempt to inspire creativity, and can fully see why people could love this and take a lot away from it.. but there were too many fundamental things that I disagreed with/thought were done poorly for me.1) Creativity as a type of religion: I don't know if "religion" is the right word here, but Gilbert's spiritualization of creativity is saturated in this book. She talks about our need to think of creativity as a spiritual entity, to believe that ideas I appreciate and respect Elizabeth Gilbert's attempt to inspire creativity, and can fully see why people could love this and take a lot away from it.. but there were too many fundamental things that I disagreed with/thought were done poorly for me.1) Creativity as a type of religion: I don't know if "religion" is the right word here, but Gilbert's spiritualization of creativity is saturated in this book. She talks about our need to think of creativity as a spiritual entity, to believe that ideas can leave us and jump into other people, etc. It all seems extremely unimportant and clouded to me, muddy and distracting.2) Everything was super cheesy: It's tough to write non-fiction, especially motivational non-fiction, that doesn't end up being preachy or cheesy, I understand that, but this book had me rolling my eyes all over the place. Maybe some of those moments were what some people needed to hear, but for me it was just extremely boring and anti-climatic. 3) It was extremely name dropping: every few chapters Gilbert would say "So, I have this famous friend," and it started to get really grating. I get that she has interesting friends with interesting stories, but it really just felt like a pile of name drops.4) An uncomfortable anti-higher education stand point: Studying the arts is a very oxymoronic idea, I can absolutely admit to that. Art is about personal endeavour and creativity, and in many ways can't be "taught." But there was a section in this book where Gilbert is very against creative related higher education. I agree that no one should feel that they need to pay crazy amounts of money to feel like a proper artist, but I really disagree with the idea that higher education is useless or worthless and gives you nothing but debt. I think that would be true if higher education was about creating good artists, but that's not what it's about - it's about giving you new perspectives, ideas, references, people, time.. things that you can then use to make stuff you may never have been able to make otherwise. Of course it isn't necessary, but to say it's worthless rubbed me the wrong way. 5) The opinion that creativity isn't necessary: There was a big section that I found really confusing and counter-intuitive to her entire argument, where she argued that the arts aren't necessary. She mentions how plumbers and janitors (for example) are roles that ARE necessary, but art isn't. And I just, shoot, I just really disagree with that. Of course art is necessary! If it wasn't necessary we wouldn't all wear different clothing, cut our hair in different ways, decorate our rooms differently, we wouldn't care about recording history, or sharing our experiences. Maybe someone could take from her writings a freeing lesson that "I can do whatever I want, because it doesn't matter!" but I disagree.I am glad (contrary, perhaps, to this review's tone) that I read this because I do like hearing people champion creativity, but there were too many differences in mine and Gilbert's thinking. I recommend skipping this one and instead reading "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon, a book I thought was super motivating and uplifting.
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  • L O R I L I N
    January 1, 1970
    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 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, 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 call from the Met. Own that creativity, she encourages. And also stay light with it.Well, 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: just 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.
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  • Darth J
    January 1, 1970
    Preach, Vain, SnoreYou know, I didn't enter into this as a "hate-read", despite being such a cynic. I don't like to waste my time and money on things just to have something to snark at (I can already hear the snickering in the audience as I write that). You see, with any of these advice books I actually want to learn something useful; that's the whole reason why I would pick it up in the first place. Despite being utterly let down with her previous book, I genuinely wanted to give this a try, if Preach, Vain, SnoreYou know, I didn't enter into this as a "hate-read", despite being such a cynic. I don't like to waste my time and money on things just to have something to snark at (I can already hear the snickering in the audience as I write that). You see, with any of these advice books I actually want to learn something useful; that's the whole reason why I would pick it up in the first place. Despite being utterly let down with her previous book, I genuinely wanted to give this a try, if only to get one tiny nugget of wisdom.To paraphrase the late great Myrtle Snow, Elizabeth Gilbert "has a dreadful case of the me, me, me's." Now with any sort of autobiographical work it's expected that the author draws on their own experiences; but the part that bothers me is the unhealthy levels of God, I am just so amazeballs that this contains. I don't know why I expected Gilbert to be any less full of herself this time around, but perhaps I thought she would have matured a bit at least in the narcissism department. I was wrong, my friends. So wrong...Moving past that, this book seems to be written for artists. No, strike that: ARTISTES! With the pretentious pronunciation and all. It's mainly written for other writers, so her advice is not universal. Even then, the very best thing she can come up with is to not let bad reviews or rejection get to you. That's probably the only useful thing she says throughout this book made up of 2-3 page vignettes. When she isn't writing as if staring lovingly in the mirror at herself, she constantly contradicts herself with pendulations between reach for the stars and never give up on your dreams and hey, it'll probably never happen for ya, kid.
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  • Chris Blocker
    January 1, 1970
    Is it mere coincidence that BIG is synonymous with FAT and that MAGIC is one of those oblique words difficult to put your finger on, like CHANCE? Because I think that's a better title for this book: Fat Chance. That's the message here: you're gonna fail, you big loser! Where's the big magic in that?I get it, some artists are confused about the outcomes or reasons for pursuing creative ventures. It's true, most of us are going to fail and fail again. Many of us will eventually give up trying. Gil Is it mere coincidence that BIG is synonymous with FAT and that MAGIC is one of those oblique words difficult to put your finger on, like CHANCE? Because I think that's a better title for this book: Fat Chance. That's the message here: you're gonna fail, you big loser! Where's the big magic in that?I get it, some artists are confused about the outcomes or reasons for pursuing creative ventures. It's true, most of us are going to fail and fail again. Many of us will eventually give up trying. Gilbert's aim here seems to be getting people to think differently about art, to force them to realize that the business sucks and the process isn't always easy, but we should all be happy because we're like children, finger painting our hearts out.Somehow the fact that this advice comes from someone whose net worth is $25 million doesn't make it any easier to swallow.The very fact I read this book is a testament to Gilbert's brilliance. It was her 2009 TED Talk that turned me onto the author, a writer I had written off previously solely because of her wild success. Not surprisingly, it is Gilbert's wonderful, well-presented argument about the elusive genius that opens up Big Magic. The message in these chapters is more inspirational: we all have creativity; relax, it's not your fault if your genius eludes you.But the rest of the book gets lost in Gilbert rubbing our faces in her success. I know it's not easy, she seems to be saying, creativity won't pay the bills, so just quit thinking about it as a occupation and think of it more as finger painting!There's truth there, no doubt. But Gilbert seems too desirous of proving her point by stretching truths. She points out how creative occupations are inherently worthless, the least valuable occupation in society. Objectively, perhaps that roofer's role in society can be more easily quantifiable, but to ignore the artist's role in shaping change and eliciting awe, to call art “arguably useless,” seems rather narrow-minded. (What would your muses think, Liz?) Name one roofer from history whose work was more meaningful than Michelangelo's ceiling. Also, Gilbert belittles creative higher education by smashing the MFA in writing, declaring it a fruitless activity. To prove her point, she highlights that no American winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature had ever earned an MFA. Point proven, well done. Except that half of the winners of the Nobel predated the existence of the MFA. Those who followed were entirely established before the MFA really gained momentum in the writing community. Likewise, the Internet is rather useless because Buddha never surfed the web, and Jesus declared disdain for Starbucks by having never consumed a cup of joe.In the end, I think there are definitely glimmers of brilliance in this book and perhaps it is a great book for those who are kidding themselves about the arts. Me? I'm prepared for the toughness. I expect rejection. I'm still here because I love doing it. I whine from time to time, but I don't plan on quitting; I have no backup. Perhaps I should enjoy my occupation more, but being told I'm a failure isn't exactly going to make me jump for joy. Gilbert's insight, while largely accurate, is salt on an open wound for those of us who know it sucks. And I guess the message of Big Magic is that it will continue to suck, even when one of my books takes off and is made into a well-financed motion picture. Fat Chance.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for writing this much-needed book on creativity. It was practical, helpful, comforting and inspiring. I know it will be a book I recommend over and over again to writer and artist friends, and anyone else who wants to live a more creative life.I've been struggling for a week over this review, and I'm still a bit overwhelmed. Sometimes books are so powerful that trying to cobble together a few paragraphs about them seems both trivial and also maddeningly crucial. How Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for writing this much-needed book on creativity. It was practical, helpful, comforting and inspiring. I know it will be a book I recommend over and over again to writer and artist friends, and anyone else who wants to live a more creative life.I've been struggling for a week over this review, and I'm still a bit overwhelmed. Sometimes books are so powerful that trying to cobble together a few paragraphs about them seems both trivial and also maddeningly crucial. How can I express how much this book meant to me? I'll begin by summarizing a few lessons from this book. First, if you are lucky enough to be visited by a creative idea, pay attention to it. You have to nurture that idea and give it some of your time, otherwise it will leave and go elsewhere. Elizabeth says ideas want to take root, and if you aren't the best person for them, they will find someone else. She has a few good examples of this, including an amazing story involving another favorite writer of mine, Ann Patchett.Second, make time to be creative wherever and however you can. Don't procrastinate because you think there will someday be a "perfect" time to write your book or create music or make that piece of art. There is never a perfect time, and everyone has to balance jobs and family and other obligations. Elizabeth gives numerous examples of successful writers who have struggled to find time to write. You squeeze your creative work in anywhere you can. If that means getting up an hour early or staying up late or cutting your lunch break short, do it. Find pockets of time for your creativity.Third, after making time to be creative, don't fret about whether or not you can make it perfect. Just get to work on your idea. Play with it. Expand it. Follow your instincts. Don't waste precious time being paralyzed by fear about whether something is good enough. Elizabeth has a great line that I have since adopted: "Done is better than perfect."Finally, if you don't have a big idea right now, don't worry. Just follow your curiosity. Give time to anything that interests you, because it may lead somewhere inspiring. Elizabeth shared the story of her last novel, "The Signature of All Things," which she said finally came to her after she decided she wanted a garden. That's all it was — she just wanted a few flowers in her yard. But her interest grew as her garden grew, and she did more research on flowers. Later, she had an idea for the novel. A few other gems from the book are not to quit your day job and expect your art to pay your bills. Elizabeth said she kept her day job for years and did her creative writing in her free time, because she didn't want the pressure of making her writing pay the bills. (But eventually it did, thanks to Eat Pray Love, which I'll get to in a moment.) Also, don't be fooled into thinking you need a degree to be creative. Sure, spend time reading and studying and practicing and researching, but no one needs a certificate to live more creatively. If you are a fan of any of Gilbert's previous books, you will probably enjoy some of the stories she shares about what went into writing those. One of my favorite anecdotes was about the first time she had a short story published in a magazine. Elizabeth thought the story as submitted was fine, but because of a space constraint, she had to chop it down by 30 percent. At first she was terrified — how can I lose so much of a short story? But she did it, and that story ended up landing her an agent. The lesson: Don't miss an opportunity because you're afraid.Of course, I can't write a review about an Elizabeth Gilbert book without mentioning her huge bestseller "Eat Pray Love." She has some great stories about that book, including innumerable fans who both loved and hated it. Elizabeth said she had no idea the book would be so widely read. She wrote it for herself, but she accidentally struck a nerve. She even had a line in there about asking her then-boyfriend/now-husband about whether it was OK to write about him. He asked if it was a big deal. Elizabeth said, oh no, it's not a big deal, no one reads my books. HA!I mention EPL because it's also an example of why Elizabeth says you have to write or draw or build or design or create FOR YOU. No one knows what will happen with a piece of work. Find ways to be more creative in your life, but try not to worry about the end game.In conclusion, I loved this book. I thought it was very inspiring and would highly recommend it. 5 stars to Elizabeth Gilbert!Favorite Quotes"I believe that curiosity is the secret. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. Curiosity is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Furthermore, curiosity is accessible to everyone. Passion can seem intimidatingly out of reach at times — a distant tower of flame, accessible only to geniuses and to those who are specially touched by God. But curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming, and more democratic entity. The stakes of curiosity are also far lower than the stakes of passion. Passion makes you get divorced and sell all your possessions and shave your head and move to Nepal. Curiosity doesn't ask nearly so much of you. In fact, curiosity only ever asks one simple questions: 'Is there anything you're interested in?'"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?""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."First Read: November 2015Second Read: February 2016
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Book of the YearWhere to start? This book knocked my socks off. Which is pretty strange given that I’ve always been a die-hard cynic (with really tight socks). I’ve always rolled my eyes at spirituality and snidely called it woo woo (now I murmur woo woo with affection). And self-help? Please! I don’t need some pompous asshole telling me how to live right, okay? And I wasn’t a fan of Eat, Pray, Love. What a lot of strikes against this one. So….ta da!! Holy freakin’ toledo! I know I risk Favorite Book of the YearWhere to start? This book knocked my socks off. Which is pretty strange given that I’ve always been a die-hard cynic (with really tight socks). I’ve always rolled my eyes at spirituality and snidely called it woo woo (now I murmur woo woo with affection). And self-help? Please! I don’t need some pompous asshole telling me how to live right, okay? And I wasn’t a fan of Eat, Pray, Love. What a lot of strikes against this one. So….ta da!! Holy freakin’ toledo! I know I risk chasing my fellow cynic buds away, but I can’t contain myself. I feel like I’ve seen a UFO or something. Okay. Here goes. Over the last three months, my 30-something daughter Jess and I have been writing a weirdo, playful story together, a first ever. As soon as we started, coincidences started happening. I mean, really bizarre coincidences. For example, in our story Jess named a cheetah Lampshade. A month later, she was describing Lampshade to her boyfriend on a walk, when suddenly he pointed to a purple plastic tombstone (a Halloween decoration in someone’s yard). It said in huge letters, “Pablo Lampshade.” That pretty much blew our minds, but then other equally strange stuff happened—I’m talking seven or eight times! In fact, it seemed that almost every time something happened in our story, a weird-ass connection would occur in real life. There were no logical explanations. I’m officially spooked. I go crazy with glee every time another one happens—and yes, of course we use all the strange occurrences as material, which is making the story even richer. Timing is everything. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I picked up Big Magic, which pre-story, I had avoided. Spirituality, self-help, puke. I had even told a fellow reviewer friend that it wasn’t a book for me because it was about the big S. But lo and behold, I opened Big Magic and I instantly felt that huge spurt of energy you get when something fits just right. I couldn’t put it down. Locked in. Sucked in. Slurped. When suddenly I get to an anecdote about the author, Gilbert, and her friend, Ann Patchett. That sealed the deal. It helps tremendously that I happen to love Ann Patchett (State of Wonder is one of my all-time favorites), and damn if Gilbert isn’t talking about that exact story. I don’t want to ruin it by telling you the anecdote here, but it’s enough to make a believer out of anyone.For some people, this book will spark their creativity. For me, it helped me see that my obsession with writing is okay, and that in fact, writing is what I should be doing. Here are the ah-ha’s that I murmured in my head after I read this book:-I’m not a freak because I’d rather write a story than watch the news.-I’m not a freak because I sometimes stay up all night writing.-I’m not a freak when I space out because a story idea has hijacked my mind: daydreaming is cool.The whole idea is this…-If ideas come a callin,’ find a way to put off mundane life stuff and grab a pen, fast. Ha, make sure I can find the damn pen, because memory is short these days. -Ideas are floating around out there in the universe, and if I’m lucky, one will land on me. I should grab it before it’s too late, before the idea abandons me to find a more attentive host.-Keep inviting my inner trickster to the party—it’s all about playing and having fun. -It’s okay if my work is frivolous as long as it makes me happy.Gilbert has some practical advice as well as her woo-woo stuff, like keep your day job. She also says don’t waste your money on grad school, and I’m a little torn about that one. She claims art is useless but that it doesn’t matter. So what?, she says. If it makes you happy, you are so so lucky.One of her anecdotes is a little too far out for me: it’s about an artist who, when his muse left him, dressed up to go on a date with his creativity. He claimed it worked! Curious, Gilbert tried it herself. She dolled herself up; she even wore lipstick for god’s sake, even though she never wears lipstick (ha, or so she says….it’s suspect that she had some lipstick laying around the house, lol). She claims it worked and the date was a success; her muse returned. I draw the line at dating my ideas, I really do. I don’t think you’ll catch me trying that. First I’d have to go buy stuff. Friends would be shocked that I returned from RiteAid with a bag full of makeup, but they’d really be worried about me if I said I was going on a date with my creativity, which was playing hard to get. I can see me now, dabbing my face with powder, blackening my eye edges with mascara, ironing a blouse and sitting ladylike at my computer, hoping to impress the hell out of my creativity. But is this one of those, “don’t knock it till you try it” sayings? I’m pretty sure I can’t bring myself to try it. If I took a little selfie of me sitting there in my Sunday best, batting my eyelashes at the computer, I’d seriously wonder if I was ready for the loony bin. I don’t think this date story qualifies as a complaint. I don’t really consider it a bad thing because I have too much fun picturing myself trying it. Oh, I can’t finish this review, though, without mentioning the god business. I don’t like the G word; it always sends me running, and whenever spirituality is the theme, God is sure to be lurking nearby. Luckily, Gilbert mentions the G word maybe three times, and each time it’s not offensive—she uses it in broad terms and I think she includes “the universe” each time. Yikes, it just occurred to me that I was so enthralled, I could have missed the dreaded reference. Wouldn’t that be a kick? Anyway, the times I remember her using the word, it didn’t bug me, which is a miracle. Gilbert is something else. Her tone is conversational, which invites you into her bright, inspiring world. She keeps the curtains open so the sun beams into the room. I love her super cool anecdotes; she has hand-picked the cherries from others who are chasing their creativity. She’s a bossy bitch, but I didn’t mind because she’s so fucking wise. I can’t possibly do justice to all the fantastic things about this book. I just love the title, too. I’m a firm believer in Big Magic.There are a million sentences that made me think. I highlighted so much, I could just close my eyes, point my finger, and I’d land on a gem. They’re everywhere. I really liked this one:“Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”And here’s a good one to end on:“It’s okay if your work is fun for you, is what I’m saying. It’s also okay if your work is healing for you, or fascinating for you, or redemptive for you, or if it’s maybe just a hobby that keeps you from going crazy. It’s even okay if your work is totally frivolous. That’s allowed. It’s all allowed.”Amen.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    The message is...."we are all inherently creative". Elizabeth Gilbert says..."Be an artist. Create for the sake of creating". "Because creative living is where the Big Magic will always be". And we paid money for this enlightening information. It's kinda funny to me... how such an average book, by an average writer, ( acknowledges herself that her ideas won't resonate with everyone), is such a huge success ---and by that I mean 'money-in-the-bank'. She doesn't have to practice what she preaches. The message is...."we are all inherently creative". Elizabeth Gilbert says..."Be an artist. Create for the sake of creating". "Because creative living is where the Big Magic will always be". And we paid money for this enlightening information. It's kinda funny to me... how such an average book, by an average writer, ( acknowledges herself that her ideas won't resonate with everyone), is such a huge success ---and by that I mean 'money-in-the-bank'. She doesn't have to practice what she preaches. Elizabeth doesn't need a 'day job'. lol. Her chapter on "Career vs. Vocation", ( coming from her)... only made me laugh. It's funny to me that she discourages people from approaching creativity as a career move. It's all a twist on words in my opinion. The fact is -- Elizabeth makes a living being creative. Both of my daughters-- and my husband are professional artists. Should I have discouraged my daughters from making a career choice - from their passion in the arts? Or wasn't that them living from creativity in itself? Taking a risk? Not letting fear dictate their choice. I sent them to private academic private schools. They still have other choices. They both will tell you -- bullshit ... About "either or". If you want it all.. It's possible. They both are financially successful artists. Elizabeth's ideas about ideas are more 'clever' than fireworks. The 'jargon' chosen for this book is a little gimmicky. The title itself ..."Big Magic"...is a little too over the top for my taste, as well. And her ideas about ideas floating around the universe - looking for a host to land on --is just more 'jargon' ..( it's not that I don't understand what she speaks about- I do - even agree- but the whole delivery-package of this book just feels a little too commercial peppy style for me) At times it felt like I was reading a memoir about her process of writing "Eat, Pray, Love". Elizabeth spent much time 'reflecting'...( diary type writing). I became bored. Yet, I respect her personal experience. So, honestly, I find this an odd-funny-book. If others get value ( my friends have) ...then I'm sincerely happy about that. The writing itself is less' than average. I understand that "The Signature of All Things", is exceptional...with gorgeous writing. I've heard that over and over again. So, maybe I should try that book. 3rd time just might be the 'charm'.2.5 rating.
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  • Nat
    January 1, 1970
    “I don’t know what I think until I write about it.”― Joan DidionI was in need of a Nonfiction read to compel me from the start when I came upon Big Magic. Elizabeth Gilbert starts off this very book by writing about a reclusive poet she’s passionate about (“I loved him dearly from a respectful distance”), and I became swept up in the accessible, talkative writing tone. It's the classic case of 'I should’ve been bored me but instead, I was fascinated.' The author has an eye for telling stories an “I don’t know what I think until I write about it.”― Joan DidionI was in need of a Nonfiction read to compel me from the start when I came upon Big Magic. Elizabeth Gilbert starts off this very book by writing about a reclusive poet she’s passionate about (“I loved him dearly from a respectful distance”), and I became swept up in the accessible, talkative writing tone. It's the classic case of 'I should’ve been bored me but instead, I was fascinated.' The author has an eye for telling stories and introducing people, as I noticed the further I read on.I was officially won over when she exposed her earlier years riddled with fear. Unlike a lot of self-help books I read in the past, the author in here actually offered up a lot of specific advice and dared to venture into her easily scared childhood to give examples of things that petrified her, so that we could see that she wasn't all talk and no show.“My fear was a song with only one note—only one word, actually—and that word was “STOP!” My fear never had anything more interesting or subtle to offer than that one emphatic word, repeated at full volume on an endless loop: “STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!”Which means that my fear always made predictably boring decisions, like a choose-your-own-ending book that always had the same ending: nothingness.I also realized that my fear was boring because it was identical to everyone else’s fear. I figured out that everyone’s song of fear has exactly that same tedious lyric: “STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!” True, the volume may vary from person to person, but the song itself never changes, because all of us humans were equipped with the same basic fear package when we were being knitted in our mothers’ wombs.”Her honest and raw take on such a close topic to my heart made me bond with her.And this fearsome line thrown at fear was utterly exquisite to read:“There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.”But I considered Big Magic a truly successful read for me when I was finally moved to open up a new document and release over 1K words in a sitting before I'd even finished reading. The author really has a way with words so that I can give “this creative endeavor my wholehearted effort.”Also, her recalling the “exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration” by showing the story behind Ann Patchett's State of Wonder and her subtle connection to it was something else entirely.“There’s no logical explanation for why this occurs. How can two people who have never heard of each other’s work both arrive at the same scientific conclusions at the same historical moment? Yet it happens more often than you might imagine. When the nineteenth-century Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai invented non-Euclidean geometry, his father urged him to publish his findings immediately, before someone else landed on the same idea, saying, “When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.”The kick in the butt I need because I keep thinking I have all the time in the world to write.As well as this next passage that touches on putting her work out there and her subsequent rejection letters:“I knew that nobody was ever going to knock on my apartment door and say, “We understand that a very talented unpublished young writer lives here, and we would like to help her advance her career.” No, I would have to announce myself, and so I did announce myself. Repeatedly. I remember having the distinct sense that I might never wear them down—those faceless, nameless guardians of the gate that I was tirelessly besieging. They might never give in to me. They might never let me in. It might never work.It didn’t matter.”...“Recognizing this reality—that the reaction doesn’t belong to you—is the only sane way to create. ”I will admit, however, that there were a couple of minor hindrances to my overall enjoyment of the book. It mostly turned out to be so when the advice wasn't applicable to my current situation or when it was an argument already repeated numerous times before.If anything, the most cherished lesson I took from Big Magic was to pay closer attention to all the noise in my head. Sometimes taking a step back and listening intuitively to my thought process was the solution to releasing myself from a burden. Simply put, the author reassured me to trust myself in “following the trail of curiosity”.One of the most exciting moments, however, came when I finally found the mastermind behind one of my favorite sayings shared online that I couldn't trace back. It goes as follows:“Long ago, when I was in my insecure twenties, I met a clever, independent, creative, and powerful woman in her mid-seventies, who offered me a superb piece of life wisdom.She said: “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”I've repeated this last line one too many times in the past year, so it was worth coming across this read just to make the connection! Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Big Magic, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission! This review and more can be found on my blog.
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  • da AL
    January 1, 1970
    This & 'The Signature of All Things' are my fave Gilbert books. As the audiobook reader in addition to writer, she does an incredible job of sounding polished, relaxed, & truly encouraging. Read or listen to the end for the 2 best of all her great annecdotes.
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  • Cole
    January 1, 1970
    I underlined something on nearly every page, and my margin notes look like this:YES YES YES YES YES YES.I haven't loved everything Gilbert has ever written, but this is one of those books that came into my life at the perfect moment. I say this often (usually about every book I read and enjoy), but I want everyone I love to read this book.
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  • Iris P
    January 1, 1970
    Ok so with a little more than 16 hours to end the year, my mind has been officially blown away by Ms.Elizabeth Gilbert, wow! I am the more surprised because I utterly and unequivocally loathe the "self-help" book category. But what a rewarding reading experience to close what was already a fantastic year in books for me!Listening to Gilbert's narrate Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear was delightful, she has the most lovely voice and is an excellent narrator, but I decided to also get the Eb Ok so with a little more than 16 hours to end the year, my mind has been officially blown away by Ms.Elizabeth Gilbert, wow! I am the more surprised because I utterly and unequivocally loathe the "self-help" book category. But what a rewarding reading experience to close what was already a fantastic year in books for me!Listening to Gilbert's narrate Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear was delightful, she has the most lovely voice and is an excellent narrator, but I decided to also get the Ebook version, this is one of those books you want to re-read, highlight and write notes along the way.I'll try to post a proper review later but to the friends who recommended this to me, thank you and I am sorry for doubting you. I'll be now the one recommending it to a few friends myself.I've heard the expression "sometimes you find books and sometimes books find you", the latter was definitely the case for me with Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.Happy New Year to all my wonderful Goodreads friends!
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    With her new book, Gilbert sets herself up as a layman’s creativity guru much like Anne Lamott does with Bird by Bird or Stephen King with On Writing. This is based on Gilbert’s TED talks, and it reads very much like a self-help pep talk, with short chapters, lots of anecdotes, and buzz words to latch onto.Here’s a taste of some of Gilbert’s main ideas:• Forget about entitlement; “You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”• Authenticity is better than originality; after all With her new book, Gilbert sets herself up as a layman’s creativity guru much like Anne Lamott does with Bird by Bird or Stephen King with On Writing. This is based on Gilbert’s TED talks, and it reads very much like a self-help pep talk, with short chapters, lots of anecdotes, and buzz words to latch onto.Here’s a taste of some of Gilbert’s main ideas:• Forget about entitlement; “You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”• Authenticity is better than originality; after all, there’s nothing truly original out there• Art is all about paradoxes: it’s simultaneously meaningless and meaningful (“human artistic expression is blessedly, refreshingly nonessential”)• Don’t be so serious; the “necessary suffering” of the artist is a myth• Replace the Martyr with the Trickster – it’s all play anyway (“intracranial jewelry-making” – a metaphor she borrows from Tom Waits)• Follow your curiosity and keep saying yes• Finally, put your work out there with trust – words like success and failure don’t matterI found this book to be both enjoyable and helpful. It’s so different to Gilbert’s other work that you don’t have to have read or liked any of her previous books. The voice and message are similar to Rob Bell’s in the field of contemporary theology: reminding readers that what is too precious for words should, perhaps paradoxically, be held loosely with open hands.Only occasionally did Gilbert get a bit too New-Agey for me:“Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”She illustrates this hypothesis with a story about a book project she abandoned after Eat, Pray, Love. Her idea was for a novel about a woman who travels from Minnesota to Amazonian Brazil to join an entrepreneurial scheme and ends up falling for her boss. Wrapped up in her now-husband’s immigration saga and the writing of Committed, Gilbert left the idea alone for two years and it withered...only to turn up as Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. Gilbert seems to literally believe that her idea migrated to her new friend. Hmm...At any rate, this is definitely inspirational stuff, if not exactly groundbreaking. “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I loved this book, and think it's one of the most important I've ever read. I'm one of those who thought I missed the creative gene. That people were just born creative... not true! Gilbert explains how curiosity leads to ideas, and when ideas are paid attention to, true magic can happen. She says, " The idea will organize coincidences and portents to tumble across your path, to keep your interest keen... everything you see and touch and do will remind you of the idea..." I love that! Yes, Wow! I loved this book, and think it's one of the most important I've ever read. I'm one of those who thought I missed the creative gene. That people were just born creative... not true! Gilbert explains how curiosity leads to ideas, and when ideas are paid attention to, true magic can happen. She says, " The idea will organize coincidences and portents to tumble across your path, to keep your interest keen... everything you see and touch and do will remind you of the idea..." I love that! Yes, I have definitely experienced all those coincidences. Often thinking, how is this possible! Gilbert's writing is so personable, filled with wit and smarts. A couple other concepts she left me with are the understanding that outcomes never matter, and how not to let fear get in the way. I enjoyed this one so much, I think I highlighted more than half the book. Highly recommended!
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    I know this has mixed reviews but I didn't mind it! It's not my new bible or anything but it was definitely a kick to the booty to get going on all the story ideas I have. This touches on important topics about staying humble as an author, writing for the right reasons, persevering, and forming ideas. Although this applies to all creativity, I felt especially attached to this as a writer because she is also a writer.A debated topic in this book is that Gilbert encourages people not to go to art I know this has mixed reviews but I didn't mind it! It's not my new bible or anything but it was definitely a kick to the booty to get going on all the story ideas I have. This touches on important topics about staying humble as an author, writing for the right reasons, persevering, and forming ideas. Although this applies to all creativity, I felt especially attached to this as a writer because she is also a writer.A debated topic in this book is that Gilbert encourages people not to go to art school. She uses phrasing like "if you're in art school, get out of there!!" A lot of people have a problem with this, and I agree that it's a bit harsh, but I think it's in the same vein of Casey Neistat telling people not to go to film school because it's easy to succeed without it. If you don't have to waste the money on something you could do without a degree, do it. But I see how her saying it so harshly is wrong for potential artists. If you're someone who is hesitating writing a story idea and you need a nudge, this will definitely provide that boost of confidence. Or if you wanna just getcha head in the game, I think it's good to make sure you're in touch with your creativity and humility.
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  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Click here to watch a video featuring this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I have enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talks on creativity, more than her books, so I was happy to see her write a book on the topic she seems to think about a lot. Within this book itself she admits that she is writing it in order to explore what she thinks about creativity. The book seems to be similar to one of those gift books you get when you graduate with highschool, with motivational quotes and pictures, those b I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I have enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talks on creativity, more than her books, so I was happy to see her write a book on the topic she seems to think about a lot. Within this book itself she admits that she is writing it in order to explore what she thinks about creativity. The book seems to be similar to one of those gift books you get when you graduate with highschool, with motivational quotes and pictures, those books nobody ever reads. I imagine this book could be used for that kind of gift, but then I would hope the recipient would read it.I tried to dismiss it. It feels silly at first. Gilbert is talking about how ideas have a life of their own, how they move on to somebody else if you ignore them, how she acts a certain way to inspiration so that it treats her kindly. It seems silly, except... doesn't history bear it out? Several people coming up with similar ideas at one time? Maybe ideas do live on their own. And if you buy that, what are you afraid of? I think the best section in this book deals with all the excuses we use to keep ourselves from doing the work we are being called to do, whether that is writing or not. Gilbert knows some people hate her work, but she still loves it and that is all that matters. Strangely, this book settled into two trains of thought I've had going on - I've been specifically reading books on creativity for work, and some of her concepts fit in nicely with the contemplative pedagogy concepts I've been bouncing around my head.
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  • Julie Christine
    January 1, 1970
    There could not have been a better time to read Big Magic than in the fraught and anxious, giddy and surreal days before launching my first novel. Gilbert's words soothed and grounded me, took me out of the uncomfortable, jangly headspace of self-promotion and back into the embrace of what it means to be a creative person, why I set forth on this path in the first place. Fear is boring. Yes. This. I spent forty-one years (okay, maybe thirty-five; for the first six I was blissfully unaware that I There could not have been a better time to read Big Magic than in the fraught and anxious, giddy and surreal days before launching my first novel. Gilbert's words soothed and grounded me, took me out of the uncomfortable, jangly headspace of self-promotion and back into the embrace of what it means to be a creative person, why I set forth on this path in the first place. Fear is boring. Yes. This. I spent forty-one years (okay, maybe thirty-five; for the first six I was blissfully unaware that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up) being afraid to pursue my dream of writing. What if I sucked? Then what dreams would be left to me? Finally, it was the fear of seeing my chances to live authentically running out that propelled me to try. Fear that I suck is still a demon on my shoulder, but I've learned to acknowledge that demon and move on, despite its claws digging in painfully. I could spend my time paralyzed by fear, or I could spend my time writing. My choice. The notion that creativity is a magical, enchanting process may seem too woo hoo for some readers, perhaps many writers, but it resonated with this one. Yes, it is true. There is little that is magical about putting your butt in the chair, day after day, most particularly those days when you least want to write, and simply getting on with it. It is the only way to be productive, to finish what you have started: there is no glitter and spark to dogged determination. And yet. The magic has twirled and sparkled in my own creative process. It doesn't stay long, or it comes and goes, but when it flashes, I'm aware. The rest is on me, to do the hard work of turning inspiration into art, and then to find my audience. I don't wait for the muse to guide me or put off writing until I feel inspired. But I work to be more open to and aware of the Divine Sparks, so when they occur, I can capture and hold them long enough to let them burn into my mind's eye, etched until I have time and energy to return to their outlines. I adored the anecdote about Gilbert and Ann Patchett exchanging ideas in the ether—it released me from the angst of recognizing my ideas in others' work, of realizing that each idea has its time and will find its right and true voice. You are not required to save the world with your creativity. I will admit to feeling a certain . . . pressure, expectation, as a woman, as a woman over forty, to write Big Important Things. And I have done, in short stories, in essays; even in novels that appear commercial on the surface, the themes of grief, redemption, addiction, faith ground the narrative in larger, more universal contexts. But I resist writing to an agenda, I resist the notion that I must write to educate. There are times, yes, when I feel compelled to share lessons I've learned that may be of use to others. But I am a storyteller at heart. Really, what I want to achieve as a writer is pleasure. Enjoyment. Fulfillment. Mostly mine, if I'm honest. About pursuing an advanced degree (i.e. The MFA). I get this question on occasion and now have an abridged answer that I can credit to Elizabeth Gilbert: Writers have it easy. The only education we need awaits us for free in a library or at moderate cost in a bookstore. Connections, networking, community, feedback, support—all can be obtained for free if a writer reaches out, both for support and to lift up others. MFAs can be lovely and advantageous, but *need* is not a reason to pursue one. I've read a few reviews that scoff at Gilbert's breathless enthusiasm, she who now perches comfortably on the pinnacle of artistic and financial freedom afforded her by the smash hit Eat, Pray, Love. As if commercial success somehow taints or diminishes or renders meaningless all the years of hard work she put in and rejection received before the runaway success of EPL. Whatever. Move along. We all enter this with our own advantages, disadvantages, lucky breaks and unfair blows. Acknowledge yours, celebrate, embrace or forgive them and stop wasting energy belittling or dismissing others who have achieved what you would like. Write. There's so much more. I need to reread Big Magic again in bits and pieces and perhaps return to this review and amend, change, modify, as I grow as a writer and my books grow up and away from me. For now, though, it is enough to have simply been allowed to return to what is important: that I write because I and the Universe have chosen it to be so. That's enough. Create whatever you want to create—and let it be stupendously imperfect, because it's exceedingly likely that nobody will even notice. And that's awesome. Yes. Yes it is.
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  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    I think I just found my bible.
  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    I think I'm in love with Elizabeth Gilbert.
  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    Words will probably never be able to describe the beauty that is Big Magic. People have fawned over it high and low, but it’s one of those things you just need to experience for yourself. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, a quilter, a pottery-maker, a dancer, a singer, a circus artist, or anything else that could be considered even remotely creative, you need to pick up this book. You need to read it carefully, slowly, fully, and let it seep into your core. Trust the words. Trust the Magic. (T Words will probably never be able to describe the beauty that is Big Magic. People have fawned over it high and low, but it’s one of those things you just need to experience for yourself. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, a quilter, a pottery-maker, a dancer, a singer, a circus artist, or anything else that could be considered even remotely creative, you need to pick up this book. You need to read it carefully, slowly, fully, and let it seep into your core. Trust the words. Trust the Magic. (Totally didn't mean to sound like a cultist there.) "Pure creativity is something better than a necessity; it's a gift. It's the frosting. Our creativity is a wild and unexpected bonus from the universe. It's as if all our gods and angels gathered together and said, "It's tough down there as a human being, we know. Here--have some delights." It’s as if Elizabeth Gilbert stared into my soul and wrote the book I needed. Because I love to write – more so, I love to have written – but I’m afraid it’ll be bad, but I’m afraid nobody will like it, but I’m afraid I won’t finish it, but, but, but. And so I don’t create. And then what?Gilbert tells you that it’s okay to be afraid, that fear is part of living a creative life, but it shouldn’t inhibit you. And I think I just really needed to hear that, because I found it extremely comforting and affirming to read this. On the one hand, I wanted to binge-read the book so I could have all the words at once, but in the end, I read it slowly, so I could cherish all the words. "You want to write a book? Make a song? Direct a movie? Decorate poetry? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. It's your birthright as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart." I’m normally not this “floaty” about the books I read, but this was something truly special and I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs that little nudge in the back. To motivate you to start again or to keep going, to go for it. Not necessarily because it should amount to anything, but for the fun of it. Creating should be fun, not stressful. Creating is something you work with like a colleague, not something you demand stuff of at your every whim.And sometimes, you get that strike of inspiration and the words flow and everything is unicorns and ponies and you hit that high that you’ve been working towards all along. That, my friends, is Big Magic. That is what we all strive for. And I think I finally understand my relationship with my creativity a bit better. "If your goal in life is to become fearless, then I believe you're already on the wrong path, because the only truly fearless people I've ever met were straight-up sociopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year-olds - and those aren't good role models for anyone."
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  • Marina
    January 1, 1970
    I decided not to finish this book at about 50% mostly because the level of bullshit reached astronomic proportions; the final straw was Gilbert saying the writing and art are the most useless jobs in the world and hold no merit compared to jobs that actually benefit society. ... and she isn't joking or being ironic. This is a New York Times best selling-author telling me that writing is useless, thankless job. I wonder if she laughed as she typed that.What Gilbert basically says is: If you’re in I decided not to finish this book at about 50% mostly because the level of bullshit reached astronomic proportions; the final straw was Gilbert saying the writing and art are the most useless jobs in the world and hold no merit compared to jobs that actually benefit society. ... and she isn't joking or being ironic. This is a New York Times best selling-author telling me that writing is useless, thankless job. I wonder if she laughed as she typed that.What Gilbert basically says is: If you’re into art or writing, don’t quit your day job and learn not to care about what anyone else think, because literally no one cares about art or literature because they lead to literally the most useless jobs in the world, and either way you probably won’t make it anyway. Also, higher fine arts education is useless, don’t waste your money. She basically says that if you can’t afford to go to school to be educated don’t bother going, because you’re not missing out anything anyway, and the debt is not worth the fine arts degrees -- which is true BUT it's super classist/ableist/privileged assumption that age, higher education, dedication level, and money don’t play an instrumental role in a majority of [creative] people’s [even personal] roads to success. Because unless you know someone in that sphere already through parents, friends, family, etc... well, good luck breaking out.I know what she was trying to say and what she was trying to achieve, but instead of arguing for Fine Arts and how important they are, she puts forward a really strong anti-higher education stance; reiterating the fact that Fine Arts are inherently useless because chances of success are too small and usually too personal for society to reap benefits from it as a whole. This... isn't really true, a least it's "well, you're sort of right, but not really" ... but I would never expect someone who's trying to inspire me to tell me I'm wasting my money and time trying to gain a diploma without which there's a slim to none chance I'll get hired. I mean, how privileged must you be to think people don't need one?She encourages people to stop caring about what everyone thinks and pursue the passion anyway, to care only about what the work does for you, because no one else’s opinion is their own and you shouldn’t care for it. Sometimes that is a good idea; but if people have constructive things to say about your work and how you can improve, but you put her thought process to use you could end up hurting yourself, your work, and your business in the long run; you just won't grow as an artist.She says you should pour your passion into your work- but too much because if you put all of yourself into something and it doesn’t take off you’ll probably want to kill yourself – because we all need validation, and so do you, and if you literally put all of yourself into this thing that literally no one else gives a shit about, you won’t get the validation that you so desperately need to survive. So basically be mediocre, because then people won't really have much to say to you about your work, it's safer that way.Also, she encourages writers to put out sub-par shitty works out there to lower the expectations that people set for them once they reach top-level success. WTF.Instead of reading this garbage, I insist you watch Gilbert’s TED talk instead, because unlike her book, her talk is actually inspiring: link.
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  • Kate (GirlReading)
    January 1, 1970
    I had high hopes for Big Magic and during the first thirty pages or so, I thought those expectations would be met but unfortunately, as I read on, it just wasn't for me. I didn't personally agree with some of the ideas this book portrayed and Elizabeth Gilbert's voice and ideas just ended up not really resonating with me. I wasn't a fan of the constant name dropping and her idea that art isn't important, necessary or life saving. For example, she mentions how it would be useless during an apocal I had high hopes for Big Magic and during the first thirty pages or so, I thought those expectations would be met but unfortunately, as I read on, it just wasn't for me. I didn't personally agree with some of the ideas this book portrayed and Elizabeth Gilbert's voice and ideas just ended up not really resonating with me. I wasn't a fan of the constant name dropping and her idea that art isn't important, necessary or life saving. For example, she mentions how it would be useless during an apocalypse but I strongly disagree. The arts and creativity are so important and can be (and have been) life saving on countless occasions. It is so necessary on so many levels. This idea just felt very counter productive to the premise of the book and didn't sit well with me. I really wanted to enjoy this as I know it's changed so many people's perspectives and has been such an inspiring read, and maybe if I read it at a different time in my life or whilst in a different mind set, it might have done the same for me. Elizabeth Gilbert definitely presented some interesting ideas and I enjoyed the idea that creativity and ideas want to be utilised and if they're not, will more onto someone who will utilise them! I'm not sure I truly believe it but it's a nice concept to think on. I also really liked her letter to fear, but other than that, unfortunately I don't think I will be taking much else away from this book. I wish I had been effected and inspired as positively as so many people have been with this book and although I wouldn't personally recommend it, I wouldn't turn anyone away for it either. Simply because there must be something about it that is connecting and inspiring so many and who am I to say that this can't and won't change anyone's life for the better? I just, unfortunately, wasn't amongst those people.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Although I didn't connect with everything in this book, overall I found it really inspiring and enjoyed it greatly!
  • VictoriaNickers
    January 1, 1970
    Basically all the good advise you have ever heard on becoming a productive creative person all in one book. A creative living guide to life by following your happiness. This is definitely a self-help book. It was written for perfectionists and anxiety driven people (like me) and a reality check for everyone else on how to accomplish anything and everything in life. Yes, there is no earth shattering advise in this book. It is mostly common sense. It is about letting go of the excuses and moving Basically all the good advise you have ever heard on becoming a productive creative person all in one book. A creative living guide to life by following your happiness. This is definitely a self-help book. It was written for perfectionists and anxiety driven people (like me) and a reality check for everyone else on how to accomplish anything and everything in life. Yes, there is no earth shattering advise in this book. It is mostly common sense. It is about letting go of the excuses and moving beyond them. Elizabeth Gilbert has a unique way of straight up telling you what you need to hear to move beyond all that chatter in your head about not being good enough. Her writing is so relatable it almost feels as if she is specifically talking to you. If you are looking for motivation this is the book for you. If you need a kick in the pants to start a project that you've been dreaming off, then pick up this book. Great book to read on those dumpy days or if you have every felt in a slump and not living your life to the fullest. It is going to be one of those books where I can just pick it up and read a chapter here for motivation.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I won this as an ARC in a goodreads giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to read it in advance of release. However, sad to say, it's very disappointing, and I loved "Eat, Pray, Love." This book is pretty bad. Two stars is generous. It's just very cheesy from the beginning. There is no real science or logic to the book. It's just Gilbert's ramblings, page after page, ad nauseam, about creativity. The book is really just her writing history, how she was discovered, and why her way is the righ I won this as an ARC in a goodreads giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to read it in advance of release. However, sad to say, it's very disappointing, and I loved "Eat, Pray, Love." This book is pretty bad. Two stars is generous. It's just very cheesy from the beginning. There is no real science or logic to the book. It's just Gilbert's ramblings, page after page, ad nauseam, about creativity. The book is really just her writing history, how she was discovered, and why her way is the right way. I guess if you're an aspiring writer this might be a little helpful, but for me it was zero inspiration. It was more annoying than anything. If you're looking for a self-help book for motivation, there are plenty out there much better than this. I'm sorry, Ms. Gilbert, but this one wasn't for me.
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  • Faroukh Naseem
    January 1, 1970
    Please get ready for a lot of name dropping and "I believe's..."“Because the truth is, I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment—not entirely human in its origins.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic#theguywiththebookreview presents: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.This is a self-help/motivation book and EG makes sure you know it is, on every single page.She makes sure she tells you exactly how she 'Humbly disagrees' with an opinion (usually one which has been in existence since a long time Please get ready for a lot of name dropping and "I believe's..."‎“Because the truth is, I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment—not entirely human in its origins.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic‎‎#theguywiththebookreview presents: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.‎This is a self-help/motivation book and EG makes sure you know it is, on every single page.She makes sure she tells you exactly how she 'Humbly disagrees' with an opinion (usually one which has been in existence since a long time) and then gives you her opinion in a way that sounds like hers is the only correct way to do things.‎‎She makes sure she humbly disagrees with how Harper Lee lived her 'creative' life and how Truman Capote thinking his books were his babies is non sense.If you want to read about someone who thinks she has figured everything out about how to live a 'creative life' please pick this up right now.It is a book where she tries to be humble about her successes, but her own concepts of 'how to be creative' make sure she can't be exactly that: humble.The books format is extremely confusing and she jumps from one 'Gilbertism' (thank me for coining that later :D) to the next and many times they don't go well one after the other. ‎There was a chapter in the book where she tells us about how a book she was working on and stopped mid way 'left her' and went to the mind of the author 'Ann Patchett' through a kiss. Yes, she kissed Ann the first time she saw her and apparently the story for the book went to Ann and she wrote it. I believe such 'magical' truth's need not be told and just kept to oneself. Some truth's are so exceptional, most people will have trouble believing them. It's just too exceptional a truth. For those wondering which book it is, it's 'State of Wonder' by Ann Patchett.‎Ofcourse, there are a few good points about the‎ book and I've made sure I grab them and hopefully use them soon. After reading this book I am definitely thinking of getting back to writing soon! Thanks EG! :) Overall, if you don't mind reading some very confusing yet interesting concepts about living creatively, please read it.‎ But if you are someone who can get irritated by someone being over enthusiastic for no reason, don't read it.‎
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  • Irena
    January 1, 1970
    I was in a reading slump, and no fictional novel helped.No matter how many times I grabbed a book that sounded interesting, even my to-be-reviewed pile didn't help. In matter of fact, it just got things worse, because everytime I looked at it, I felt like not wanting to read. Period.That's when I grabbed Big Magic.And it worked, in a way...I would probably read it in one day, if I didn't start it in the evening.But... as soon as I finished it, my reading slump came back.So I guess this book is m I was in a reading slump, and no fictional novel helped.No matter how many times I grabbed a book that sounded interesting, even my to-be-reviewed pile didn't help. In matter of fact, it just got things worse, because everytime I looked at it, I felt like not wanting to read. Period.That's when I grabbed Big Magic.And it worked, in a way...I would probably read it in one day, if I didn't start it in the evening.But... as soon as I finished it, my reading slump came back.So I guess this book is magical and appealing, but it does not cure reading slumps.Overall, I liked the author's idea of idea being a creature that works with artists.Only imagining that little creature visiting people and talking to me is a magical idea of it's own.And I'm not going to lie - I would like to be visited but one (or more) of those creatures and create a beautiful piece (of literature, perhaps).This is an inspiring book that I would recommend to every aspiring author (and any kind of artist) out there.Not only does this book make you grab a piece of paper and write something, being that a novel a song, a poem, or to draw, make something, but it also gives you the courage not to give up from your dreams.The author also gives some good advices.I especially liked the one about, if possible, not getting a bank loan in order to go to class to learn the art, because debt usually make the creativity shy away, worried artist usually find it difficult to express his art.And if you have it in you, you don't need a collage degree to tell you you're a writer/musician/poemist.You can do your art without anyone's permission.Just do it!
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  • Yodamom
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 61%I tried, for 61% I tried. I found a couple quotes from other people that I highlighted but that was it. I never highlighted anything the author wrote. I had to ask myself why am I reading a book where the authors advice is not connecting with me ? Why wasn't it working, several reasons. One was the qualifications of the author, two was the lack of any real actions.The author, I did not know who she was when I purchased this book, I had not read her Eat Pray Love novel, but had seen it o DNF @ 61%I tried, for 61% I tried. I found a couple quotes from other people that I highlighted but that was it. I never highlighted anything the author wrote. I had to ask myself why am I reading a book where the authors advice is not connecting with me ? Why wasn't it working, several reasons. One was the qualifications of the author, two was the lack of any real actions.The author, I did not know who she was when I purchased this book, I had not read her Eat Pray Love novel, but had seen it on store shelves. She talked about her success of that piece, many times as her great masterpiece, which qualified her to give advice on creativity. She came across to me as self absorbed, pompous, and full look at me, see how wonderful I am. Where was this creative genius, the spark that would send us humans out into the world to make ourselves into the artists we held hidden inside ? This came across more as a memoir of her greatness to date than a self-help book. What little there was seemed gimmicky and useless to me. I gathered no information helpful to use of pass on, no steps no actions.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    When I heard Elizabeth Gilbert had a new book out, I had no intention of reading it. Back in the day, I read "Eat, Pray, Love" and had some big issues with it. I haven't read any of Gilbert's work since. Yet, I kept seeing this book *everywhere*. It was like the Sirens composed a new song about this book at kept singing about it trying to lure me in. I caved. Or, maybe you could say that the Big Magic found me. Instead of representing a voice I wanted to spar with (as in "Eat, Pray, Love") the G When I heard Elizabeth Gilbert had a new book out, I had no intention of reading it. Back in the day, I read "Eat, Pray, Love" and had some big issues with it. I haven't read any of Gilbert's work since. Yet, I kept seeing this book *everywhere*. It was like the Sirens composed a new song about this book at kept singing about it trying to lure me in. I caved. Or, maybe you could say that the Big Magic found me. Instead of representing a voice I wanted to spar with (as in "Eat, Pray, Love") the Gilbert of "Big Magic" was affable, self-effacing, funny, approachable, and inspiring. I don't tend to think of myself as a creative person, but Gilbert defines creativity with a broad brush, making room for everyone. She says that "creative living is living a life driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear." Creativity is saying "I don't know exactly what I am, but I'm curious enough to find out."The book is a pep talk about having the courage to put oneself "out there" authentically, and explore the amazing/beautiful/crazy world we live it. "Big Magic" includes a large dose of realism (which I need, as anything that is too "woo-woo" doesn't resonate well with me). My favorite section in the book was the section on persistence and letting go of perfection (my mantra). Gilbert says that "in order to stay in the game, you must let go of your fantasy of perfection" and "we don't have time for perfect." I couldn't agree more.4+stars
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  • Rincey
    January 1, 1970
    This is basically like one, long TED talk (which makes sense since I think it was inspired by her TED talks). This gets super hippy dippy and cheesy, but there is a lot of guidance, too, about dealing with creativity and making things without the fear of it being perfect or being "successful" or redefining what success is and where you can learn and get inspired and how to deal with that. It is a really fast read, nothing in here is necessarily groundbreaking insight into creativity, but still a This is basically like one, long TED talk (which makes sense since I think it was inspired by her TED talks). This gets super hippy dippy and cheesy, but there is a lot of guidance, too, about dealing with creativity and making things without the fear of it being perfect or being "successful" or redefining what success is and where you can learn and get inspired and how to deal with that. It is a really fast read, nothing in here is necessarily groundbreaking insight into creativity, but still a great reminder.
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