Self Help Book Review: Big Magic

big magic

I am a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love (original review here), even after all this time. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a book that speaks to me on many levels: Italian food, spiritual searches and eating potato chips instead of hussying around with hot Brazilian men.

I never read any of her other books until Big Magic. Big Magic is a book about creativity and inspiration. Lay it on me, Liz – I’m ready.

big magic 2DISCOVERY: It came recommended to me by friends and readers,ย Merel loved it, Lisa was confused by it. I bought it. It’s 16,99 on*, 13,99 on BookDepositoryย and I personally got it for 13.99 in iBooks while I was in New York, but I never got around to reading it until two weeks ago.

SUBJECT: Creativity, inspiration, how ideas come to be and the creative process. I am fascinated by all of that, and I think Eat, Pray, Love was a bestseller (for 3 years!), a creative gem with great creative writing (I have so many favorite quotes), so I was interested in Liz Gibert’s take on it.

KOOKINESS (0-10): It goes up and down throughout the book. I’d say throughout most of the book it’s a low 2, but in the beginning…whoa Nelly.

Liz loves magical thinking, which I can get behind on good days and ignore on bad days, but when she starts describing inspiration as something outside of us, and ideas as living entities floating around in space she kind of loses me. I like my creativity where the scientists say it is: in my brain. With a side of the unexplained that is our human consciousness.


  • “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
  • “Please note that my friend [who started iceskating in her forties just for fun] did not quit her job, did not sell her home, did not sever all her relationships and move to Toronto to study 70 hours a week with an exacting Olympics-level skating coach.”
  • “Mostly I think it was just this [why she got over her fear of everything]: I finally realised that my fear was boring.”
  • “I’ve always had the sense that the muse of the tormented artist -while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums- i sitting quietly in a corner of the studio, buffing its fingernails, patiently airing for the guy to calm down and sober up so everyone can get to work.”
  • “You can measure your worth by the dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
  • “I sit at my desk and I work like a farmer, and that’s how it gets done.”
  • So try saying this: “I enjoy my creativity.”
  • “Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you.”
  • “He didn’t quit his day job to follow his dream; he just folded his dream into his everyday life.”
  • “Eventually you will have to do the work by yourself.”
  • “My intention was to spend my entire lifetime in communion with writing, period.”
  • “Seduce the Big Magic [creativity] and it will always come back to you.”

Self Help Hipster Stamp of Approval: I honestly still don’t know. I didn’t like the first 200 pages, then I got really into it for the next 200, and then my interest went down again for the final 200 until the end. It had some good quotes, but the writing isn’t Eat, Pray, Love-beautiful. I like the topic of creativity and inspiration, and it has some good parts that make you think about your own creative process, but overall it’s just very ‘meh’.


  • You like Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing, even when it’s boring
  • You like reading about creativity and the creative process
  • You need to get a fresh perspective on your own creative process

big magic 3

Mweh, this was kind of a letdown.

I think I’m going to grab Commitment or one of her fiction-books to feel more positive about her as a writer again.


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  1. i read her book and it totally changed my life. I am a person who was always told i was NOT creative– so i stifled all creativity inside of me until i hit 35years old and realized i was dying inside from trying to be what others expected. For me, Big Magic was life altering and it blew away decades of preconceived ideas about myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. So confused whether I should read it or not. I really love eat, pray love. It has changed my life for the better. I also loved Elizabeths Ted talks and her Instagram is inspiring. I didn’t really like (but did not didn’t like) her other book (about marriage). I tried to read one of her fiction books and I didn’t really like that as well. Thanks for your honest review, which only made me more confused haha.