STANWOOD insights

Book review: Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work - Steven Pressfield

Oct 22, 2019 9:50:36 AM / by Hannes Kleist

Our head of catering Hannes, reviews the books he reads.

This week Hannes read the follow up on War of Arts.

Steven Pressfield focuses more on the "how"

Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.


The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.

This is pure gold. The key to success in life are good habits. You build (or loose) habits by repetition. Do something for 40 days in a row deliberately and you build a habit, that comes to you as brushing your teeth.

"Mastery" is simply:

  • Identify life goals - things you want to get better at - not what you want to achieve.
  • Identify bad habits you have that hinder you?
  • Identify good habits you need to achieve your goals?
  • Learn/unlearn good/bad habits by forced repetition


You can do that in two ways:

  • Block of time in your calendar and stick to it.
  • Download the app Productive



When you turn pro, your life gets very simple. The Zen monk, the artist, the entrepreneur often lead lives so plain they're practically invisible. The amateur is an egotist. He takes the material of his personal pain and uses it to draw attention to himself. He creates a "life," a "character," a "personality."

There is the "cutting down the ego", again.


We know only that something is wrong and we don't know how to fix it. We're restless. We're bored. We're angry. We we don't know where to begin.

Oh yeah. This is my "Resistance". I hate and procrastinate on tasks that I do not know how to do.


But lives go down the tubes one repetition at a time, one deflection at a time, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Bad habits


The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow.

Brilliant. I fall pray to that as well. If you decide you want to do something, do it know. Close the book, shut down your computer and do it know. Pushing it to tomorrow is already a loss. You won't do it.


The amateur believes that she must have all her ducks in a row before she can launch her start-up or compose her symphony or design her iPhone app.

@Richard: This is you ;-)

The professional takes two aspirin and keeps on truckin'.

This book is full of those motivational nuggets.

Buy the book here