Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday: “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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There are a lot of inspirational books on creativity out there, but my favorite is this one: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert. The reason I like it is that it doesn’t talk about how hard it is to be creative. It talks about inner resistance a bit, with the author concluding that writer’s block and other names given to the resistance is a bit … overrated.

Work hard, Gilbert advises. Be consistent. Show up. Do that, and you’re most of the way there. Woody Allen said that, but Gilbert expands on the idea in that authentic, heartfelt voice we love her for.

Key Takeaways

  • Perfectionism is ego. Don’t fall into this trap. Make peace with the paradox that what you’re doing is infinitely important, and at the same time, completely irrelevant to anyone but you.
  • You don’t need permission to create. You also don’t need feedback, or fans.
  • Originality is not possible; all ideas have been done. Instead, reach for authenticity.
  • Don’t create in order to help people or make money. Create because you like it. Then you’ll accidentally make stuff that help people, or at least entertain them genuinely.
  • The suffering artist is a myth. Depression is demotivating. People who created alongside depression and despair probably did it in spite of their emotional state, not because of it.
  • You are qualified enough. Men tend to think they’re qualified enough if they’re 41 percent of the way there. Women tend to wait till they’re 99 percent of the way there to consider feeling qualified enough.
  • Creativity comes in many forms. So does art. Don’t limit yourself.
  • The best artists often don’t seem to be the best or smartest or most educated. Talent picks randomly and surprises us.
  • Fear might always be with you as you create. Welcome it. Acknowledge its presence. It’s along for the ride and part of the family. But it doesn’t get to choose the station, fiddle with the A/C … and it certainly doesn’t get to drive. That’d be like giving the wheel to a three-year-old.

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author, best known for her memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” which became a worldwide bestseller and was later adapted into a film starring Julia Roberts. The memoir chronicled Gilbert’s personal journey of self-discovery, as she traveled to Italy, India, and Indonesia after a difficult divorce. The book resonated with readers around the world, becoming a phenomenal success and remaining on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than 200 weeks.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing often explores themes of love, spirituality, self-discovery, and personal growth. Her works have been praised for their honesty, wit, and ability to resonate with readers on a deep emotional level. Gilbert continues to write and speak publicly about creativity, personal development, and the pursuit of a fulfilling life.


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