Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An essential volume for generations of writers young and old. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of this modern classic will continue to spark creative minds for years to come. Anne Lamott is "a warm, generous, and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps" (Los Angeles Times). 

“Superb writing advice…. Hilarious, helpful, and provocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom passed down from Anne’s father—also a writer—in the iconic passage that gives the book its title:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

Book Reviews


Excellent. I love this book!5 star

My dear Aunt suggested this book to me over ten years ago when I was approaching writing a book. Sad to say, I put off reading it, and my Auntie is now ill and unable to discuss the book with me. I will always look upon this book as a gift of spirit as well as one that gives insight into the writing craft as well as the general creative process that writers and all artistic people experience. Kudos to Anne Lamott. This book is a treasure.55


Honest and Real5 star

Appreciated how honest, direct, real and supportive the author is. Eye opening perspective on how to approach writing that makes it enjoyable and helps remove the burden of crazy expectations.55


Tells It Like It Is.5 star

Tells you very frankly her experiences with the publishing world and woes of writing. The author shares what being a dedicated writer is like day in and day out… and the joys and challenges and setbacks and all. This book is a pleasure to read and does contain useful tips for curious writers. Anne Lamott will make you laugh while leaving you with helpful writing gems.55

Linda Mitchell Art

For all creatives- a fabulous rule book5 star

As a fellow creative (artist), I found this book spot on as to why we spend our days alone in a room trying to connect with the rest of the world. So brilliantly funny and helpful and very entertaining.55


Bird by Bird and Why to Fly5 star

I’ve written for years about what I thought would be important to me. Songs, poems, short stories, and essays of all types... but when I read this book, Anne gave me, and thus my writing, an identity that I could stand by and be proud of, albeit if only in my mind. She codifies purpose in a writers heart, mind, and soul through a brilliant my tapestry of deeply woven ideas.55


Grateful for this book.5 star

I’ve been half committed to being a writer for the past few years. This book provided me with plenty of practical ideas, but even more it inspired me to dedicate myself to writing every day by reminding me of the value writing can add to a life and the world. I really appreciate the authors gentle, humorous, direct approach. Great read!55


I am rating this book4 star

It was pretty ok45


Very helpful!!!!5 star

I had to read parts of this book for a writing class. I think this is the only reason why i passed. I have a writing phobia and whenever i have to write any thing i reread this if i get stuck. Heck... Lamott is so entertaining I even reread some parts of the book in my free time. Its good stuff.55


THANKS , I NEEDED that!5 star

Yes, I take myself too seriously. Nearly daily I am severely wounded by humiliations, oversights and requests so demeaning my work days feel like a slow, numbing painful death by a thousand cuts. For the last few days, I have guiltily snuck my iPad out during my lunch hour and buried my face into the world of Anne Lamott. It has been a tonic — a terrific, uplifting, reviving experience. She is so transparent and THERE, these lunch meetings feel as if I've been dining with a dear friend. I definitely feel better... and, oh yeah - I"m writing again too. Not out of vengeance (quite yet) but out of a sense of survival. (I feel a sly smile twisting up the corners of my mouth - this tells me the vengeance is coming...) Feeling insecure? Read this. Feeling stuck? Read this. Not feeling anything.... Definitely read this. It may even remind you how to chuckle. (It may even cause you to blast iced tea out your nose and feel triumphant about it.) I am giving away copies like a zealot.55

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