The Knowledge

Steven Pressfield

A Too Close To True Novel

If you're a fan of The War of Art, Pressfield's novel, The Knowledge, is the story behind that story and the origin tale between its lines.

The Knowledge is not just a writer's coming-of-age story. It's every writer's coming-of-age story.

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” . . . Steve Pressfield’s new book is put together like a Swiss watch. Every single word, every scene . . . it’s a master class in what it means to get out of your own way and write a book that works. I am walking around the house, unable to put it down.”

- Seth Godin


If you’re a fan of The War of Art, Pressfield’s novel, The Knowledge, is the story behind that story and the origin tale between its lines.

The Knowledge is not just a writer’s coming-of-age story. It’s every writer’s coming-of-age story.

The Knowledge is about my real-life All Is Lost moment. It came in New York City on a certain date and at a certain hour that remain tattooed on my brain. That moment changed my life forever. I made the decision that took me from being an amateur to becoming a pro—and that set me on the course as a writer that I’m still following today.

“The term ‘the Knowledge’ comes from the civic exam—sometimes called ‘the hardest in the world’—that all London cab drivers must pass before being certified to drive. Each applicant must master the maze of 20,000 avenues, streets, lanes and alleys in the ancient capital and be able to ‘call a run’ from any Starting Point X to any Destination Y prescribed by the Examiner.”

—Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield

If you're a reader of, you already know more about Steve than his own family. So in lieu of a conventional bio, here are a few fun facts: 1. Steve and Shawn Coyne first met in 1998, when Shawn as an editor at Doubleday made an offer on Steve's historical novel Gates of Fire. Shawn was the only editor in New York to do so. Gates has gone on to sell more than a million copies. 2. It was Shawn who came up with the title, The War of Art, when his indie publishing house, Rugged Land, published the book in 2002. (Steve's title was The Writer's Life.) 3. The first person fired off the movie version of Steve's novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was Steve himself. The film's producer, multi-Oscar-winner Jake Eberts, phoned Steve to inform him that the director, Robert Redford, had a writer of his own that he wanted to work with. Steve thanked Jake sincerely and profusely, explaining that this was the first time he had ever been fired off a project, where the individual doing the firing had the good manners to actually inform him of that fact—instead of Steve having to read about it in the trades. 4. Steve's literary agent for Bagger Vance (who also made the deal for Steve's latest novel, 36 Righteous Men, coming in 2019 from W.W. Norton) is Sterling Lord of Sterling Lord Literistic. Sterling is ninety-eight years old and going strong. In 1948 he made the original deal for Jack Kerouac's On the Road—for $900.