The Art of War for Writers Book Review

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I’ve heard it said several times by many different people that The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a must read book, especially if you’re going into business or just need a source of inspiration and guidance. Apparently a lot of life lessons can be learned from this book. I’ve never read it, but my fiancée wanted to, so one day while at work, I looked for the book and found that we had at least ten different editions of it. Some were illustrated, others had a few photos in them. Some were large, some were small… basically he had options! Well after I had put aside the one I was getting for him, I was going through the store looking for a book for a customer (or I might have been organizing, I can’t remember which scenario it was) when I came across this book. I was immediately drawn to the title, so I put it aside to buy because we only had one copy in the store and I haven’t seen another one since I purchased it! And I am incredibly happy I bought this book because it is by far one of the best books on writing I have ever read. If you are a writer, I highly recommend you buy a copy of this book and read it… then reread it for good measure.

To sum up this book in a few sentences, it’s a writer’s roadmap to victory. It has all the tactics, tips, and tools a writer needs to have success in this industry. It covers reconnaissance, tactics, and strategies that can help a writer navigate through the ever-changing publishing industry. This is The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell.

I’ve read a lot of books on writing, some have been amazing (like Stephen King’s on Writing and Charles F. French’s Get the Draft Done!), and others have been so bad that I didn’t feel like I gained any new or valuable information from them. Now only did I gain new and valuable information from this book, but I got some great laughs from it as well. If you buy this book Chapter 11 is the one that made me laugh the hardest and I had to read it aloud to my fiancée so he could understand why I laughed at it so hard.

I don’t want to take away your experience of reading this book, so I won’t go into too much more detail about it. The last thing I will share is 5 of the biggest lessons I took away from this book.

Lesson 1: Understanding the essentials of what makes a writer successful– Reading over this list definitely made me aware of what I really need to be a successful writer. Some of them I definitely need to work and improve, so it’s keeping me mindful of my strengths and weaknesses.
Lesson 2: Check your ego at the door- There’s a difference between being self-confident and egotistical. Knowing the difference helps.
Lesson 3: Research, research, research– Research EVERYTHING! Research the agents you want to pitch to so you’re not wasting your time or theirs. Research the market so you know what it’s trending toward. Research is helpful, it it necessary, and it’s a key component to success.
Lesson 4: Don’t let fear hold you back: As writers we are constantly plagued with self-doubt, fear of rejection, fear of failure, and so many other things. And all those fears can hold us back from writing that novel or screenplay. If we let that fear hold us back, we’re preventing ourselves from succeeding. So I know this is one lesson that I need to learn and keep in mind every time I write.
Lesson 5: Keep writing no matter what: No matter how difficult writing feels on any given day, we need to keep writing. No matter how terrible our first draft is, we need to keep writing. Writing is ultimately what determines our success or failure… because how can we succeed if we don’t write?

So there you have it, my brief review on The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I highly recommend it! if you buy a copy of this book and read it, tell me what you think! And what are some of your highly recommended books on writing? I would love to know! Have a successful week of writing everyone!



    • I’m happy you found it so helpful! I didn’t know what to expect when I bought it, but it has quickly made it’s way into my top three books on writing!

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this book. I’m glad to know other people have found it as useful as I have 🙂

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      • The equivalent of a writing book was a course in the craft of fiction and a series of workshop courses (we were allowed to take workshop courses more than once and still get credit). Now that I think about it a little more, one of the books he used for craft of fiction was E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel (a delight to read, if you haven’t already read it) and Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry by John Frederick Nims.

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