Big Magic

  • by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Readers and listeners of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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What the Critics Say

"Listeners looking for permission or encouragement to pursue their creative endeavors will find writer Elizabeth Gilbert...to be a confident cheerleader and guide. With a conversational delivery and warm, confiding tone, Gilbert exhorts listeners to respect inspiration and to put in the time and hard work to bring those ideas to fruition." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Biggest Inspiration In a Long Time

Embrace your ideas, accept and have a conversation with your fear.
I didn't pre-order this book, was ready to pass on it, but then I re-watched Elizabeth's TED talk on "Your elusive creative genius," acknowledged I'd hit a roadblock in my own life, and knew, yup. This might be just what I need.
And it was mind-blowingly good.
Naturally, it's not a perfect book, but for something that's not even 6 hrs. it sure does pack a whole lot into it. You'll learn that fear goes hand in hand with creativity, but the thing to do is to take it on the journey with you but let it know it absolutely will NOT be driving.
The most enchanting concept Gilbert discussed was that the earth is inhabited by Ideas that are just waiting for humans to claim them for manifestation. Which I really feel is true. Sometimes I feel the whole goosebump prickle/brick over the head/just got an amazing idea thing, and it's off to the races. But Gilbert goes further through the entire book because creativity is a long, long process. And sometimes we let it be disheartening, sometimes we even view it as the worst, most abusive person in the world when, really, creativity values and needs us. We have the opportunity to open our very souls to wonder, and we can invite even more inspiration into our lives, when we feel stumped, by taking baby-steps of action, and by simply declaring that we enjoy our creativity--we have to appreciate what we have. Plus, gotta kick the perfectionist habit which is fear-based; the way to function best is as "the disciplined half-ass" (which is a TOTAL relief to me. The half-assed part, I'm working on the discipline...)
This book is all about living these temporary lives of ours as joyously, as vividly as possible. Go ahead. Have an affair with your creativity! Steal away with it for 15 minutes here, 15 exciting minutes there! Let's treat it like we love it!
Truly wonderful audiobook. Great prose, and Gilbert has a wonderful speaking style.
By the way? Another reviewer mentioned the lobster. I've gotta admit: It really is indeed a memorable story that'll stick with you
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- Gillian

A Vacuous Bestseller

I've seen “Big Magic” everywhere in the past year. For such a bulky hardback, it's actually a quick, 5 hour audiobook. The colorful paint splotched cover screams that this is a book all about creativity and it is. As a wounded artist/creative/writer, I often find myself in the self help and personal development section and have read some provoking and insightful books on the subject of healing this artistic malaise. This book doesn't hold up to “The Artist's Way”, “The Right To Write”, or “The War Of Art”, all which I would highly recommend if you are coming from a similar background or looking for truly nourishing and inspirational groundwork to getting back into the habit of expressing yourself creatively and fighting the thinly guised anxiety known as 'Artist's Block'.

Back to “Big Magic”; something about this manifesto comes across as vapid. Maybe I am feeling a bit jaded after reading the author had a two hundred thousand dollar endorsement for her bestseller, “Eat, Pray, Love”, but it would explain the utterly meaningless spiritual statements that were made. I simply can't agree that creativity, stories and pieces of art exist without the human mind and are trying to find a sentient outlet and will stop at nothing to make themselves known. She even claims that a kiss transferred a complete novel from her to another author friend of hers that she just met at a party. While I agree that writing and artwork can sometimes be a meditative channeling session, where the artwork is chiseled out of our inner psyche as we do the work, claiming that they exist of their own world and energy is nothing better than fictional. It is more of a motivational speech with fictional embellishments which I think were put in more for adding to the author's very profitable, marketable persona then they were to actually improve the lives of her readers. While it's polished and it looks and sounds good, it is empty under the surface. Another piece of her advice was basically saying nobody wants to hear authors who try and help people, that one should only do the creative work to work through something within themselves. I find that completely untrue considering the massive amount of self help books out there that don't seem like a self centered announcement, but purely are there to help readers. She even goes as far to make some shout outs to some of my personal favorites in motivational writing such as Brene Brown and Marcus Aurelius, all which have nothing to do with her personal, spiritual inventions and would be very helpful to the wounded creative on their own.

Overall, if with that information you would still like to hear the motivational speech of a highly endorsed author, which has probably polished out anything truly authentic, then it's still worth the time. It wasn't horrible, but it was unremarkably vacuous to me.
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- S. Atkins

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-22-2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio