Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert (The Signature of All Things) offers an empathetic and inspiring guide to mustering the courage to live a creative life. That doesn't necessarily mean a career in the arts, she's quick to point out ("If you're alive, you're a creative person," she states); instead, she proposes a life fueled by curiosity rather than fear. Gilbert, more than most, can understand how a big success can make one feel as if the follow-up must not disappoint, writing that "I can't tell you how many people said to me during those years , How are you ever going to top that?' " She notes that this kind of pressure can be an instant creativity killer and encourages readers to let go of perfectionism and embrace being good enough. This mind-set, in her experience, leads to the willingness to take chances, live life to the fullest, and act on risky ideas. Gilbert divides her book into six sections, each devoted to a quality she believes necessary for living without fear: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity. In each section, Gilbert peppers sound advice with personal triumphs and failures. Nearly anyone who picks up this self-help manual should finish it feeling inspired, even if only to dream of a life without limits.