Book Category: Leadership, Motivational,

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work (book summary)

Author: Steven Pressfield
Life Changing Principles
Quality of Writing
Overall Value
pros: Fresh mentality, strong writing, motivational
cons: Too high level at times
overall rating


Turning Pro is a self-help/motivational book from the point of view that you are in charge of the course of your life. It takes you from a victim mentality to a thriver mentality.


  • Being amateur means being stuck in the past circumstances of your life and never growing up.
  • Don’t live a shadow life because you’re afraid to chase after your dreams.
  • We all have some parts of an addict and some parts of the artist.
  • The amateur flees from his fear; the pro turns around and faces it.


  • Do NOT pull the pin.
  • Do not get stuck in a “normal” life.
  • Do not allow the “tribe” to determine how I live.
  • Attempt to keep my seat.


  • You’ve got to fall before you hit bottom, and sometimes that fall can be a hell of a ride.
  • In shadow life, we live in denial and we act by addiction.
  • An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.
  • The lure of failure can be as intoxicating as the hardest of hard-core narcotics.
  • The payoff for the prisoner is release from the agonizing imperative of identifying, embracing and bringing into material existence the dreams and visions of his own deepest, noblest, and most honorable heart.
  • The pain of being human is that we’re all angels imprisoned in vessels of flesh.
  • The amateur is tyrannized by his imagined conception of what is expected of him.
  • The amateur fears, above all else, becoming himself.
  • The amateur prizes shallowness and shuns depth.
  • The amateur believes that, before she can act, she must receive permission from some Omnipotent Other – a lover or spouse, a parent, a boss, a figure of authority.
  • Exile, failure, and banishment can be good things sometimes, because they force us to act from our own center and not from someone else’s. I applaud your story of how you hit bottom, because at the bottom there’s no one there but yourself.
  • Fear of self-definition is what keeps an amateur an amateur and what keeps an addict an addict.
  • There is no tribe, and there never was.
  • Those who are still fleeing from their own fears will now try to sabotage us.
  • When we turn pro, we will be compelled to make painful choices.
  • In the moment, an epiphany feels like hell.
  • The amateur tweets. The pro works.
  • [The professional] will murder his darlings without hesitation, if that’s what it takes to stay true to the goddess and to his own expectations of excellence.
  • Never train your animal to exhaustion. Leave him wanting more.
  • When we raise our game aesthetically, we elevate it morally and spiritually as well.
  • We can work over our heads.
  • The hero wanders. The hero suffers. The hero returns.