When you read the introduction to my book The Game of Numbers: Professional Prospecting for Financial Advisors, you’ll find that I credit one life-changing book for liberating me to write mine, about which I had been dithering for far more years than I care to admit.

Not at all coincidentally, when you read Joe Jordan’s timeless classic Living a Life of Significance – just now re-released in a wonderfully enhanced hardcover edition – you’ll find that Joe credits the very same book for setting him free to write his. 

Most recently, Oprah Winfrey – clutching a very well-thumbed copy of the book, and flipping out over it – interviewed the author for a full hour on her Super Soul Sunday program. (This may mean it’s losing its cult status.)

The book is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  And excepting only Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich – which I first read exactly 40 years before finding TWOA – it is the most galvanic self-help book I have ever read, or ever will read. 

Pressfield has a very well worked out idea of what it is that prevents us all – writer, artist, entrepreneur, whatever – from actualizing our potential. It’s the fear of success – our terror of what would actually happen if we just let go, and started to become, one day at a time, all that we were created capable of being. He calls the force that this fear engenders Resistance, and holds that it’s this entirely self-generated negative force that breeds all our other self-defeating doubts and fears.

But, as he writes, “Resistance is a bully. Resistance has no strength of its own; its power derives entirely from our fear of it.” And again: “The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He’s still terrified but he forces himself forward in spite of his terror.”

I’m sure that over the years you’ve found, as I have, that the literature of self-help runs the whole gamut from obvious to vapid – that reading it is equivalent to the nutritional experience of eating potato chips. The War of Art (together with its recent sequel Turning Pro) offers us – through the coruscating honesty of a guy who was vanquished by Resistance for something like thirty years, but who ultimately triumphed – a very practical approach to realizing and finally manifesting our best selves. No financial advisor should be without it. Heck: nobody should be without it. 

© 2013 Nick Murray. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission. Nick highlights new books, articles, research findings and academic papers in the “Resources” section of his newsletter, Nick Murray Interactive. To download a sample issue, visit www.nickmurray.com, and click on “Newsletter.”