The Knowledge, by Steven Pressfield

2 minute read

You probably know Pressfield as the author of Gates of Fire. Or maybe The Legend of Bagger Vance. Or maybe The War of Art. All amazing works.

The Knowledge is like no other Pressfield book. Hemingway famously said “Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit at a typewriter and bleed”. And I think Pressfield really bled for this.

The Knowledge

Where did The War of Art come from? How did creativity sensei Steven Pressfield come up with the notion that there is an insidious force in the universe called Resistance that keeps us from pursuing our life’s work and fulfilling our artistic destiny? And that until we recognize and engage in an end-of-days battle with the big “R,” our inner genius will remain blocked and unborn inside an internal protoplasmic goo? Was he touched by angels as he contemplated the universe in an ashram? Did he meet a mysterious stranger in a truck stop in Twin Falls, Idaho who imparted deep truths over a cup of muddy Joe? Perhaps blunt force trauma in a Reno bar had something to do with it? If only… As his “too close to true novel,“ THE KNOWLEDGE, riotously reveals, the truth of Pressfield’s Weltanschauung origin story lies somewhere between fact and fiction… In the high-crime 1970s in New York, Pressfield was driving a cab and tending bar, incapable of achieving anything literary beyond the completion of his third-in-a-row unpublishable novel. Until fate, in the form of a job tailing his boss’s straying wife, propels him into a Big Lebowski-esque underworld saga that ends with him coming to a life-altering crisis involving not just the criminals he has become deeply and emotionally involved with, but with his own inner demons of the blank page. THE KNOWLEDGE is not just a writer’s coming-of-age story. It’s every writer’s coming-of-age story. If you’re a fan of THE WAR OF ART, Pressfield’s new novel, THE KNOWLEDGE, is the story behind that story and the origin tale between its lines.

The Knowledge stars Stretch, an aspiring writer and oft-times jackass. He’s crude, testosterone-filled, and makes bad choices. The Knowledge is subtitled A Too Close to True Novel and it’s a near-autobiographical view into how an immature, undisciplined young writer becomes a pro, and grows up in the process. It’s great reading and goes down easy and quick. If you’ve read Pressfield, this book is mandatory — you’ll see him in a whole new way, no matter how much of this is “true”. If you’re an aspiring writer, this book is mandatory (as is Steve’s blog at