Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
I’d been looking forward to reading this book for awhile, I heard nothing but good things about it.
My overall feeling for this book is that it just isn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be. I’d hoped to find an inspiring book about creativity and I just didn’t. For me Gilbert came off very self-centered, and so right off the bat I found it hard to read.
My dislike of this book comes down to three things.
- Gilbert talks about degrees in creative areas as practically worthless. Which I get that not everyone needs to get a degree to be able to write, that’s absolutely true. But a degree isn’t worthless to everyone. Some people need it, some people want it. It’s not a black and white issue.
- I was really offended by the way Gilbert talked about the suffering artist. I absolutely agree that to be a writer, or anything else creative, you do not need to have had a terrible like to be a valid artist. The suffering artist is definitely a troupe that needs to go away for good. And I agree that there is no need to go searching for terrible situations just to be able to writer about it later. But to me it also felt like she was being unkind to those of us who actually have anxiety, or depression or whatever, and choose to draw inspiration or talk about what we’re going through. Writing has always been very helpful for processing what I’m going through. And Gilbert seemed to be very dismissive of this.
- Big Magic was saturated with Gilbert’s religious view point. Which I am fine with to a certain point, but it also felt very preachy to me.
I know a lot of people love this book, and found it very inspirational, and I’m very happy for those people. I just wasn’t one of those people. In the end I gave this book 3 stars, because there were some things I found helpful. I really like this quote, “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” I absolutely believe this is true, and I encourage everyone to read this book and pick out the pieces that work for them.