Eric Maisel has saved my life many times over. His stunning portfolio of philosophical and creativity references and how-to books has not only kept me writing against any sensible odds but has ended up underpinning my very life system. I know there is a river of creativity self-help books out there, and can tell you from bitter experience that most add little, but “Unleashing the Artist Within: Breaking through Blocks and Restoring Creative Purpose” is the real deal. A sequel to 2005’s brilliant “Coaching the Artist Within,” Maisel’s best book in years addresses a dozen key challenges faced by working artists, writers, and musicians (indeed any creative types including businesspeople, etc.). Most chapters are informed by telling vignettes from Maisel’s creativity coaching clients. The opening “lesson” addresses the heartland topic of how to sink into the reality of the daunting nature of creativity, the second lesson tackles the daily grind issue, the third exhorts passion (he calls it hunger) and offers ways to inculcate it, and so on. I found “Recovering from dashed hopes” to be most potent. A chapter on honoring and guarding one’s creative workspace is a gem. Essential, that’s what “Unleashing the Artist Within” is.