Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, "time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers."
Kafka is one of 161 inspired - and inspiring - minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks.
Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his "male configurations..."
Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day...
Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced "every pleasure imaginable."
Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books...Karl Marx...Woody Allen...Agatha Christie...George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing...Leo Tolstoy...Charles Dickens...Pablo Picasso...George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers...
Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to "clear the brain").
Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, and magically inspiring.
©2013 Mason Currey (P)2013 Timothy Ferriss
the book has no substances except trivial succession of short and meaningless anecdotes. If you are picking up this book to better understand how you can improve your work habit, this is DEFINITELY NOT a good book for you.
Insightful, often intimate view of the day to day rhythms of the greatest creative minds in history. Brings to life, up close and very personal so many famous writers and artists I have admired from afar. Especially encouraging resource for anyone contemplating a creative life and looking for footsteps to follow in. It was gratifying that so many of these greats shared similar lifestyle choices to my own - as if cheering me from the sidelines of history. Worth having this read to you more than once - excellent material for dinner conversations amongst fellow creatives
This is a good book but not what I expected. It's just a very large collection of daily habit from people of the past. No overall story or arching structure... Just a big list of what people did. This is more like a collection of wiki articles
"Nothing else like this one"
Dozens and dozens of daily rituals. I listened to most of them; some I skimmed over. And, I listened over a number of weeks. I think that is probably the best way to read this book, otherwise it could get monotonous. (But don't skip over Buckminster Fuller.) It was fun to come upon famous people who have working habits similar to your own, and I would think most of us have a twin somewhere in this book, habits-wise. Personally, I found it very helpful to have so many distinct working habtts laid out, because it made me see that these daily rituals are probably hard-wired, and that it's probably better to work with them rather than against them. I found some new insights, too.
"Motivating and Interesting"
A simple concept, well executed. I found it very helpful and inspiring to listen to endless routines and rituals of some of the worlds greatest talents. The main thing I took from it is that there really is no ‘right way’, everyone does it different.
"Good book, Bad narrator"
I liked the insight and while it wasn't really descriptive it was interesting enough to see patterns and know I am not alone in some rituals.
The narrator put me to sleep several times, I've never fallen asleep reading a book, or watching a movie, but oh boy this was just awful.
"Very good, but doesn't transition well to audible"
Superb work on a collection of the daily rituals of famous artists intended to boost creativity and efficiency. The book serves to confirm how divergent are the motivators and biorhythms for each of them: some apparently environmental and others seemingly innate, but all of them with a mystifying combination unique to that human being at that place and time.
Enjoyable for a change of pace.
BUT, I give this 3 stars overall on Audible because it doesn't transition over to an audible book too well. It's more of a book to peruse at will than one that you can follow as each chapter goes from author to author, lasting 2-5 minutes each.
I recommend buying this book in print or electronic form.
"Bite-sized glimpses into artist's lives"
Don't expect analysis on the best way to create art & don't expect a story of an artist's life. This is simply a glimpse into many artist's work habits. Whenever an artist that I admire was announced I became so excited because I got to enter their life for just a moment. I felt as if I was able to know them just a little bit better. How many people get to see your daily rituals? I think the point of this book is to make your own decision on what is best for you and that there are many roads to creation.
"Master your schedule."
Master your schedule.
Good reference to see what others do and have done.
Seeing how meticulous people are about getting things DONE.
Should help out or give you additional ideas.
"Not a book"
This is not a book; it is a list. Lists have their place, but they don't tell a story. Nor do they go into much depth. I get it that there are "list people" out there. If you are one, buy this book. If you want something with depth, look elsewhere.
Excellent job.... very impressive on the number of artists that were covered... wasn't sure what to expect, but really enjoyed it...
"Doesn't really tell you much"
If you think you will gain any insight that may be of help in your own life don't look here. It's not uninteresting but it's certainly not helpful. Just a litany of the lives of some creative people without insight.
Lack of insight.
His performance was fine.
I stopped listening.
"The narrator detracts"
The narrator detracts consistently throughout this book with mispronunciations of authors' and other names and places. If you have a lot of foreign (especially French) words, hire someone who can pronounce them or at least take the trouble to learn how to say them for the duration of the book.
It was an easy listen, er, "read"
Consistent mispronunciations (try Sho-pan, not Sho-PON for Chopin, for instance...it grates on the ear, causes listener to not pay attention to the subject, just the delivery). Narrator sounds like an ignoramus or arrogant American who can't be bothered to learn how to say foreign words properly. It's not rocket science, just educated. Oh, and respectful. The narrator sounds like a fool.
no, it's just a compendium of factoids, pretty well put together, but more in depth or anecdotal stories of various authors would have been appreciated.
This book will document a famous creative person by choosing there quirky traits, they would only write standing up/lying down or something, and then writing maybe a page or half a page about them, and then moving on. It was like top trumps for artists. There was absolutely no structure/curation that I could comprehend. Imagine it takes 2 mins to cover one persons quirks. Now imagine the length of the book decided by 2mins and thats how the book is structured. Its torture. I think you buy this book in its paperback copy for your daughter who is studying art and like a magazine they can flick through and find interesting facts but reading from start to finish is unpleasant. so it doesn't work on audio. Even then you think they would put sections of writers, sections of musicians or categorise it creatively. but its just hours and hours of disjointed un related bombardment. The author has no function. They don't even introduce or draw out lessons, or themes, or contextualise anything. They just report the stats exactly as they researched them and move on the next. Avoid.
"Eek! Quality check please!"
Great collection of the quirky behaviours and habits of our heroes and heroines spanning many centuries. Only problem being the DIRE pronunciation throughout! Audible: please get a good quality checker! Ruins an otherwise perfectly good, informative listen.
"Is there an editor in the house?"
The premise of this book is great. It is however not very consistent in its research. The publishers should have considered the subject matter more before they chose the narrator. It clearly called for someone who can pronounce French words... And don't get me started on some of the British names that were absolutely slaughtered. Still, this is a little light listening gem.
"Excellent insight to the "creative class""
Definitly in the top two.
Yes. This audiobook cmae just at the right time. I was just going part time and freaking out a bit about not having a stable routine. I learned fom rthis book an idea of how to set out on a day of writing.
Beethovans habits made me Laugh!
Any creative person or curisous person wanting to know what the "greats" did? Buy this audiobook.
"Difficult to take away from"
I would recommend this to a friend who struggles with finding the time to write. It provides a lot of reassurance to the aspiring writer that successful writers throughout history have struggled with, and worked around the same difficulties.
Its hard to take away from this book any great observations about the writer, beyond my feeling that this is a lovely theme upon which to base a book.
I would have liked the book to go into more depth on certain writers and artists, to give more psychological analysis, to work out the deep reasons behind their work methods.
However I wouldn't have thought this was an inadequacy of the writer, but more a lack of available evidence about each author.
I think he could have tried to organize the writer profiles into his own themed chapters as it was difficult to identify any particular themes, as there was no coherent order to the way in which the book way laid out.
I found his voice quite hard to follow, but i think this could be due to the repetitive layout of the artist profiles.
"Nothing of value"
This book contains a lot of small anecdotes about famous writers and musicians and how they planned and managed their creative efforts. This sounds interesting but each anecdote is only 2 to 5 minutes long and often based on testemony of friends and family. This book will not help or inspire you to establish or improve your own creative cycle and after having listened the first hour the book gets boring and reptetive. 2 to 5 minutes equals to a lot of uninteresting chapters. No analysis or philosophic contemplations but just matter of factual descriptions of daily schedules like "he wroke up around 8.30, had breakfast with his family around 9 oclock, played or wrote for 3 hours and had lunch with a friend around 12.30, etc." Some of the stories has been spiced up with information about the artists vices and homosexual relationships but nothing that will help ypu understand the creative cycle or add value to your own creative efforts.
"Creativity and its channeling thru artists"
All routines described in this book are fascinating. It is clear that each artist had some sort of internal resistance for the muse to realise itself thru their work. It was mostly a painful experience. Each artist had developed a routine, taboos, rituals and processes to overcome this internal hurdle to keep creating.
I really enjoyed the narration by Adam Vernet, it was very captivating. Overall this book made me feel more human and humble.
"A remarkable to help make sense of my own brain"
Amazing to hear the variations and similarities in people's work habits, which gives me faith to continue on the journey to my ideal, offbeat routine.
"A coffee table audio book."
Really nice to have in the background while doing errands. However I wouldn't list it as a favourite. Didn't have me riveted but it made for some interesting conversation starters around friends.
"A peek into the mystery of creative lives"
The book gives a fascinating snap shot of the lives of diverse creative people. It feels a bit like a cut and paste job but nonetheless interesting and at times, inspiring.
There are many howlers in terms of the pronunciation and French words are read like a caricature. I'm not sure why they can't have some quality control there.
Each piece can be brief and they fly by when you listen so as an audiobook it doesn't entirely work. It's a book which would be good to browse now and then.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.