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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, nov 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, magically inspiring.


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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, nov 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, magically inspiring.

30 review for Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    Fascinating! Every creative person follows a different path to chase their muse, but at the same time some definite patterns emerge in the lives of these artists. (The people in this book are the sort that are known by just their last name — Proust, Darwin, Picasso, Descartes, Tchaikovsky, Pollock, Faulkner, Twain etc.) Here are some things that highly creative people gravitate towards: 1. lots of coffee! 2. working hard but, surprisingly often for only a short burst of time. Many writers only work Fascinating! Every creative person follows a different path to chase their muse, but at the same time some definite patterns emerge in the lives of these artists. (The people in this book are the sort that are known by just their last name — Proust, Darwin, Picasso, Descartes, Tchaikovsky, Pollock, Faulkner, Twain etc.) Here are some things that highly creative people gravitate towards: 1. lots of coffee! 2. working hard but, surprisingly often for only a short burst of time. Many writers only work for 3 or 4 hours each morning. (Architects and painters on the other hand tend to work all day.) 3. long walks. lots and lots of very long walks. 4. eating the exact same meal every breakfast, and lunch etc. So you don't have to waste time thinking about it. (It's weird how often this one shows up— Ingmar Bergman, Glen Gould, Patricia Highsmith, Oliver Sacks, David Lynch.) 5. alcohol to unwind . . . or some kind of daily "vigorous exercise" to unwind. 6. avoiding social obligations. 7. naps. 8. habitual reading. often artists will re-read a handful of their favorite authors again and again. 9. indulging in eccentricities. (Beethoven would pour giant pitchers of water over his hands each morning while he bellowed scales.) 10. either being a very early bird or a night owl. It's easier to concentrate when there is no one around to distract you. 11. tobacco 12. avoiding TV. (p.s. If you liked Daily Rituals you should also check out my book D.I.Y. Magic! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    As Daniel noted, this isn't a book you read, as much as sample from time to time. A few things seemed to be commonalities: Work every day: don't wait for "inspiration" The women all had to fit creative work around housework and childcare as well. Ugh, been there. Avoid alcoholism! Almost everyone struggles to get up as early as they planned in the morning. Keep your day job if you are not already making a full-time living from writing - bonus points for utilizing work time and supplies for your own w As Daniel noted, this isn't a book you read, as much as sample from time to time. A few things seemed to be commonalities: Work every day: don't wait for "inspiration" The women all had to fit creative work around housework and childcare as well. Ugh, been there. Avoid alcoholism! Almost everyone struggles to get up as early as they planned in the morning. Keep your day job if you are not already making a full-time living from writing - bonus points for utilizing work time and supplies for your own work, where possible. ("A half hour a day makes a lot of writing year by year." Gertrude Stein) Also if possible, have a lot of sex. My favorite quote is from Joseph Heller (Catch-22): "I gave up [writing] once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22. I couldn't imagine what Americans did at night when they weren't writing novels."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I love getting a peek into the lives of writers, artists, scientists, etc. to learn of their everyday routines. This book is not one to read straight through. I enjoyed the flexibility of reading bits here & there. However, I have one major and one minor complaint. The major complaint is: where are the women? It seemed that 80 - 90% of this book was a sausage factory. Very off-putting. Inexcusable. The minor complaint is one of author interjection. When discussing an aspect of Simone de Beauvoir I love getting a peek into the lives of writers, artists, scientists, etc. to learn of their everyday routines. This book is not one to read straight through. I enjoyed the flexibility of reading bits here & there. However, I have one major and one minor complaint. The major complaint is: where are the women? It seemed that 80 - 90% of this book was a sausage factory. Very off-putting. Inexcusable. The minor complaint is one of author interjection. When discussing an aspect of Simone de Beauvoir & Sartre's sexual life, the author calls it "creepy" that they require total honesty with one another should they take on additional lovers. While I disagree with using the word "creepy" here, I mainly take issue with the author passing such judgement. I think such things are better left as "just the facts" with the reader able to come to his or her own conclusion. Speaking of this couple in particular, I was frustrated by reading so much about Sartre in de Beauvoir's section but found little mention of de Beauvoir under Sartre. I felt this book could have been so much stronger with the inclusion of more women (& frankly, more notable people of color) and more first-person accounts.

  4. 4 out of 5

    El

    Here's my daily ritual, for those keeping tabs: My alarm goes off at 5:00 am, at which time I wake just long enough to take my medicine: Benzedrine. Then I "sleep" for another hour, until my alarm goes off at 6:00 am; at this time, I am ready to rock and roll. I spend 25 minutes in the bathroom doing various bathroom acts, and I'm out the door by 6:38 am to walk to my writing studio where my pet sloth, Salvatore, meets me at the door. (This is also where he left me the night before, which makes m Here's my daily ritual, for those keeping tabs: My alarm goes off at 5:00 am, at which time I wake just long enough to take my medicine: Benzedrine. Then I "sleep" for another hour, until my alarm goes off at 6:00 am; at this time, I am ready to rock and roll. I spend 25 minutes in the bathroom doing various bathroom acts, and I'm out the door by 6:38 am to walk to my writing studio where my pet sloth, Salvatore, meets me at the door. (This is also where he left me the night before, which makes me question his daily rituals, but that's beside the point.) I drink down another 200 mg of Benzedrine with a few shots of gin that my assistant has left out for me. Once a week I help Salvatore to his poop pole which is a very special and sacred time for us both. From 7:45 am to 4:15 pm I do several more shots, but as the day wears on, I switch to downers to help me sleep. I also stop drinking coffee around this time, but continue to snort sugar as I have found that snorting sugar gives me some pretty wild story ideas. I pick up my pen to start writing, and hours later find myself passed out on the floor with drool in my hair and most likely I've pissed myself. But look! I've written a couple thousand words and have no memory of any of it. This is incredible. Dinner usually consists of Pop-Tarts and a hardboiled egg, washed down with some more gin. I love my routine and wouldn't change it for the world. If I miss one dose of Benzedrine, you'd better look out. My routine isn't unlike that of a lot of other artists, so I feel I'm in great company. We're all a bit eccentric with strange interests (and pets) and often have drug- or alcohol- (or sex-) dependencies. It's a hard life, man, and you should thank me for taking one for the team so you can go to your 9-to-5 job and be sober all of the time. God, that sounds awesome in comparison. I mean, I am so tired. Or, well, I would be if I wasn't jacked up on so much Benz. My soul is tired.. In all seriousness, this book is a lot of fun. I learned quite a bit about some artists I love, some I hate (but read about them nonetheless because I'm a glutton), and appreciated some of the anecdotes I already knew but never mind hearing again. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the lifestyles of artists will enjoy dipping into this book. It brings these people alive in new and interesting ways. We know so much of their work, but not how their work is created, or under what sort of circumstances. I love reading about stuff like this; I just can't believe it took me this long to pick up a copy. I was sad that some of my personal favorites didn't make the cut: Edith Wharton, Marc Chagall, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Werner Herzog (you crazy bastard, I know you've got rituals!), Stanley Kubrick - where you guys at? Do (Did) you not have daily rituals? Or will you be coming in the sequel, which, I add, I hope will come. This book is based on the author's blog, Daily Routines, so I figure a sequel isn't asking too much. And who knows - maybe my own daily ritual above will find a place in it. But don't come knocking on my door during the poop pole day of the week. Seriously. And if you do come knocking on another day, you had better have Benzedrine. Hell, I'll settle for anything in pill form. I'm not shy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Roper

    I certainly give this book five stars for how interesting it is and the level of research it must have taken to assemble the over 150 different “daily rituals” into one volume. HOWEVER… This book absolutely pissed me off and I haven’t sworn at a book in quite a long time. This book is a freaking sausage fest. There are over 150 creators profiled in this book and only 26 women are represented. What. the. f*ck? There are also very few people of color or from non-American/European countries and nearl I certainly give this book five stars for how interesting it is and the level of research it must have taken to assemble the over 150 different “daily rituals” into one volume. HOWEVER… This book absolutely pissed me off and I haven’t sworn at a book in quite a long time. This book is a freaking sausage fest. There are over 150 creators profiled in this book and only 26 women are represented. What. the. f*ck? There are also very few people of color or from non-American/European countries and nearly everyone in the book is well-off. Thanks for letting me know how hard it is to be a white, privileged, American man and I am so glad you found the time to create. You will see loads of women on the pages of Daily Rituals. They’re fixing bowls of cornflakes, reading aloud to frustrated authors, editing shit drafts, typing entire novels written on index cards (hello, Mrs. Nabokov), tending children, or simply working to pay the bills. The interesting nature of the entries was marred by the exclusiveness of the artists and creators featured. Mr. Currey could have saved this book in one of two ways: My least favorite way would be to talk about it. I just re-read the introduction and he states he, “…tried to provide examples of how a variety of brilliant and successful people have confronted many of the same challenges [finding time to create]“. A simple paragraph recognizing the book was skewed towards men would have gone a long way. He could have talked about class, gender, and race — even briefly — and detailed how it was easier to find privileged or male examples in diaries, letters, and biographies. The best remedy would have been for Mr. Currey to work a bit harder and find more women, people of color, and working class examples. The stuff is out there if only one would look. I would have especially liked some mothers featured. I know that everyone doesn’t chose to be a mother, but out of the women represented I think less than five mentioned children or household duties. For inclusiveness I give this book one star meaning the book averages about three stars. In his introduction Currey hopes “that readers will find it [the book] encouraging rather than depressing”. Alas, I left this book depressed at the short-sightedness of the work and angry it was a catalog of the “struggles” wealthy, white men face. Boo, freaking, hoo.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Inna Swinton

    This is a fun book that you can pick up and put down at your leisure and still enjoy a lot. Perfect for reading on the subway! Also - I learned a lot about habits of creative people - both good and bad. Most loved coffee and had hours during which they cannot be disturbed by family members (if they worked from home). Most importantly - you can feel inspired because so many very effective authors wrote for only 2 - yes, that's two hours a day! Yes, they spent other time on business - corresponden This is a fun book that you can pick up and put down at your leisure and still enjoy a lot. Perfect for reading on the subway! Also - I learned a lot about habits of creative people - both good and bad. Most loved coffee and had hours during which they cannot be disturbed by family members (if they worked from home). Most importantly - you can feel inspired because so many very effective authors wrote for only 2 - yes, that's two hours a day! Yes, they spent other time on business - correspondence, etc. Seems that the prime hours for work are 9-11 in the AM and if you can be persistent, that book will get finished. Plus, there is a People Mag aspect to this, after all, you are getting some fun insights into the lives of celebrities - from Balzac to Hugo to Dickens to Joyce to Plath. There could be more women artists covered, yes, and I personally wish Mason Currey would write an update focusing more on the creative endeavors of modern working mothers who must supervise piano practice in the AM, do school runs, work during the day, and fill out PTA paperwork in the evenings after 9 PM. Not sure even 2 hours are possible on some days! Perhaps Mr. Currey can team up with Sheryl Sandberg :-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    7jane

    I've always been fascinated by daily rituals/routines people have, just like I like to see what their homes look like, and what's on their bookshelf/ves. This books compiles together routines from authors, artists, artchitects, psychologists, those of math/physics world and perhaps some others. There's much variety between how their spend their days, with some interesting details (at least two do handstands to help their work, one liked to look at cows and one liked to wash hands a lot and sing I've always been fascinated by daily rituals/routines people have, just like I like to see what their homes look like, and what's on their bookshelf/ves. This books compiles together routines from authors, artists, artchitects, psychologists, those of math/physics world and perhaps some others. There's much variety between how their spend their days, with some interesting details (at least two do handstands to help their work, one liked to look at cows and one liked to wash hands a lot and sing while doing it). Differences to what they ate and drank, how long did the 'work' time last, if it was easy or hard to do, with precise or very loose daily timetable. I myself paid attention to the times they (were) said to wake up. A few woke up at noon or later, but most before 11AM. Earliest waking time was 1AM. I counted how many points each waking time got. One time was 'early/before 9AM', which got a lot or marks, but the most counted time was 6AM, then 8AM, then 5AM. It was fun to make notes of this. But anyway, this book is definitely of interest for those who like reading about daily rituals/routines, especially of the creative/science people. Some of them are pre-20th century, which is also interesting. A pretty quick read, and fun, so recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruel

    2.5 stars. A collection of interesting and not-so-interesting anecdotes about famous artists' daily routines. Spawned from his blog about writers' daily routines, Mason Currey has expanded his original into this book to include artists from all mediums, including writers, painters, architects, dancers, choreographers, photographers, and more. Because these are simply retellings about a person's work habits, the format grows old quickly. One can only read so many "I wake up early and begin writing 2.5 stars. A collection of interesting and not-so-interesting anecdotes about famous artists' daily routines. Spawned from his blog about writers' daily routines, Mason Currey has expanded his original into this book to include artists from all mediums, including writers, painters, architects, dancers, choreographers, photographers, and more. Because these are simply retellings about a person's work habits, the format grows old quickly. One can only read so many "I wake up early and begin writing/painting/creating ..." tales before they start to blend together. Perhaps I'm missing something here or there's something inspirational from learning that some of the most brilliant minds in the world also like to procrastinate or work weird hours? I wasn't familiar with Currey's original blog, but these anecdotes seem like they'd be perfect for the Internet: they're interesting tidbits about the mundane tasks of the creative process and reading one online during a web-surfing binge would be fine. However, since they're all easily forgettable, they don't work well in the traditional book format.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Book

    I had been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time. It’s been sitting on my shelf for goodness knows how long. I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t. It’s based on a blog, and I have come to believe that generally most blogs do not make for interesting books, at least not for me. A few years ago, before vacationing in France, I read a ton of books that are set in France. One of these was Monet’s House. I love that book. Not only are the pictures just gorgeous, but the descriptions I had been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time. It’s been sitting on my shelf for goodness knows how long. I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t. It’s based on a blog, and I have come to believe that generally most blogs do not make for interesting books, at least not for me. A few years ago, before vacationing in France, I read a ton of books that are set in France. One of these was Monet’s House. I love that book. Not only are the pictures just gorgeous, but the descriptions also. It’s chock-full of interesting tidbits about Monet’s daily life. Those are the parts that interested me the most and that I still remember and think of from time to time. Unlike the Monet book, I never felt a connection to any of the artists, writers, and composers in this book. I felt that something was lacking. The entries were repetitive and not particularly entertaining or interesting. It all seemed quite superficial and I wanted him to dig deeper. A short biography on each would have been nice, especially when I didn’t even know who some of the artists were in the first place. What irritated me the most was the lack of organization and structure. It isn’t alphabetical; or even done in a proper layout with say artists in one section, writers in another, and so forth; or even chronological. It’s all over the place. My takeaway was: * Everyone is different. Some are larks and some are night-owls. Do what works for you. * Take at least one long walk every day. * Eat the same exact thing every day. Boring! * Smoke as if it’s going out of style. * Same applies to alcohol and other mind-altering drugs. * And on and on. It was an okay compilation, but I think that you’d be better served by visiting the blog.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Neat little book! It's hard, really, to review this. It's not a novel, more of a collection of information on how different artists (writers, painters, composers, mostly) came to create their work. It's a look into their daily rituals, an examination into what makes them tick. A few interesting things cropped up. There are threads of similarities in a great many of the artists included in this book: 1. Coffee and alcohol are the fuel of the artistic mind, often both consumed in the same day. (For m Neat little book! It's hard, really, to review this. It's not a novel, more of a collection of information on how different artists (writers, painters, composers, mostly) came to create their work. It's a look into their daily rituals, an examination into what makes them tick. A few interesting things cropped up. There are threads of similarities in a great many of the artists included in this book: 1. Coffee and alcohol are the fuel of the artistic mind, often both consumed in the same day. (For me personally, coffee is the way to go). 2. They keep opposite sleep schedules to the regular 9-5 man or woman. Often they are awake all night and sleep all day, or else they sleep in short bursts of 3 or 4 hours, are awake extremely early (before dawn), and nap at least once throughout the day. 3. It seems to help to take a walk every day. Something about getting out into the fresh air and submersing yourself in nature stirs the creative juices. (Not to mention it's good exercise). 4. Most of them prefer to be alone, secluded, or literally locked away so as not to be disturbed during creation. Something I found inspiring and reassuring, as might anyone else who is a wannabe artist who hasn't yet found success, is that a lot of our greatest artistic minds didn't achieve success or recognition until much later in their lives. Note to self, keep on keepin' on! I'd recommend this as a fun little pocket book. It's great to read in those little moments in your day when you're left stagnant (sitting in the waiting room, riding the bus, etc).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Like eating peanuts...I kept turning the page for one more entry, then one more, then one more. It was fun to learn little details about the lives of writers and artists. I've always been a sucker for seeing how others live the moments of their lives. My favorite lines come from Matisse: "Basically, I enjoy everything; I am never bored." And William Dean Howells on Mark Twain: "There were few experiences of life, grave or gay, which did not amuse him, even when they wronged him." And Willa Cather, Like eating peanuts...I kept turning the page for one more entry, then one more, then one more. It was fun to learn little details about the lives of writers and artists. I've always been a sucker for seeing how others live the moments of their lives. My favorite lines come from Matisse: "Basically, I enjoy everything; I am never bored." And William Dean Howells on Mark Twain: "There were few experiences of life, grave or gay, which did not amuse him, even when they wronged him." And Willa Cather, regarding writing: "If I made a chore of it, my enthusiasm would die. I make it an adventure every day." What the majority of these pieces have in common is this: Most writers and artists do some of their writing or art-making most every day. And, surprisingly, many prolific ones spend "only" 2-4 hours a day. For many, more than that becomes self-sabotaging because they get burned out and/or lose out on living a well-rounded life. I'm now inspired to spend 2-4 hours at my desk every day, working on my new book. It's not about forcing myself but, like Cather, making it a daily adventure. I'm choosing this; why not make it joyful?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eszter

    "Discipline is an ideal for the self. If you have to discipline yourself to achieve art, you discipline yourself" "There is no one way - there's too much drivel about this subject. You're who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There's no particular time or place - you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time - not stea "Discipline is an ideal for the self. If you have to discipline yourself to achieve art, you discipline yourself" "There is no one way - there's too much drivel about this subject. You're who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There's no particular time or place - you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time - not steal it - and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you're on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you." - Bernard Malamud

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Nguyễn

    One good thing about this book is that it inspired me to get back to my routine of waking up at 4AM and finish my writing before noon. Perhaps I should give it a five star haha.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Meeuwis

    First, the good news: regardless of your writing habits (extreme activity, extreme inactivity, amphetamines), you will find an artist in here whose work habits--or at least purported work habits--agree with you. That "purported" hints at the book's problems, though: in giving a quick and shallow account of many artists, it makes the sort of extraordinary mistake of taking them all at their word. It feels under-researched. Also, you realize that all of these writers are--for the most part--drawin First, the good news: regardless of your writing habits (extreme activity, extreme inactivity, amphetamines), you will find an artist in here whose work habits--or at least purported work habits--agree with you. That "purported" hints at the book's problems, though: in giving a quick and shallow account of many artists, it makes the sort of extraordinary mistake of taking them all at their word. It feels under-researched. Also, you realize that all of these writers are--for the most part--drawing on the same two or three narratives of productivity: the methodical-yet-creative artist, the lazy-but-brilliant artist, and so on forward. I suppose part of my problem with this simply has to do with the nature of the book: it promises to be several hundred bite-sized accounts of how different people work, and so it is. With that being said: why bother?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Giovanna

    Probably the kind of book you should keep next to your bed, or, if you're that kind of person (and I am), in the bathroom, for occasional reading. A wonderful cross section of artists included here, from writers to inventors, architects to painters, and philosophers to composers. While there was a certain number of artists for whom Benzedrine popping helped get the work done, there we just as many who required nothing more than the same breakfast daily (eggs seem to be a favorite). I was struck Probably the kind of book you should keep next to your bed, or, if you're that kind of person (and I am), in the bathroom, for occasional reading. A wonderful cross section of artists included here, from writers to inventors, architects to painters, and philosophers to composers. While there was a certain number of artists for whom Benzedrine popping helped get the work done, there we just as many who required nothing more than the same breakfast daily (eggs seem to be a favorite). I was struck by for how many walks (more than once daily) and naps seemed to provide the day's main structure. So. I have the main structure down. Now to fill in the gaps between walks and naps more profitably!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    Trophic Compilation to Improve Creativity and Efficiency 3.6 stars A good collection of daily rituals practiced by famous authors and artists to boost creativity and efficiency, a book that serves to confirm the divergency of human motivators and biorhythms. Some rituals were environmental, others seemingly innate, and a few disgusting, such as Thomas Wolfe's vigorous, virgulate, viscid and vile practice while writing. Each of these ritualistic routines is a mystifying combination unique to that a Trophic Compilation to Improve Creativity and Efficiency 3.6 stars A good collection of daily rituals practiced by famous authors and artists to boost creativity and efficiency, a book that serves to confirm the divergency of human motivators and biorhythms. Some rituals were environmental, others seemingly innate, and a few disgusting, such as Thomas Wolfe's vigorous, virgulate, viscid and vile practice while writing. Each of these ritualistic routines is a mystifying combination unique to that artiste. Enjoyable for a change of pace.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    2.5 stars - rounded to 3. I just didn't find it interesting enough. I found the book Deep Work by Cal Newport far more interesting. Different styles I know. Happy this was a library book! 2.5 stars - rounded to 3. I just didn't find it interesting enough. I found the book Deep Work by Cal Newport far more interesting. Different styles I know. Happy this was a library book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gregor Xane

    I love reading about the daily routines of artists and the like, so it was pretty nice to find this book. What I learned about the work habits of the painters, composers, writers, and philosophers covered in this volume is that many of them: 1. Drank lots of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages 2. Smoked lots of tobacco 3. Took long walks 4. Popped uppers to get going and downers to get to sleep 5. Got up early for a few hours of concentrated work (and then dicked around for the rest of the day) I also I love reading about the daily routines of artists and the like, so it was pretty nice to find this book. What I learned about the work habits of the painters, composers, writers, and philosophers covered in this volume is that many of them: 1. Drank lots of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages 2. Smoked lots of tobacco 3. Took long walks 4. Popped uppers to get going and downers to get to sleep 5. Got up early for a few hours of concentrated work (and then dicked around for the rest of the day) I also realized, after reading this book, that I've got numbers 1, 2, and the second half of number 5 covered. I figure that means that I'm well on my way to becoming a creative juggernaut. Note on the Kindle Edition: The photographs in the Kindle version I read were all misplaced. Every single one of them. And, of course, the captions accompanying the photographs were all wrong, too, and sometimes humorously so.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wilson

    Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey (Editor) This book is a hard one to review because of what it is. This is a meticulously researched work on the work habits of writers, composers, artists and other creative types. He pulls this information from existing sources, biographies, autobiographies and personal journals. If you are looking for this type of detailed information, than this book easily could merit a five star review. Currey does a great job presenting this information, presum Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey (Editor) This book is a hard one to review because of what it is. This is a meticulously researched work on the work habits of writers, composers, artists and other creative types. He pulls this information from existing sources, biographies, autobiographies and personal journals. If you are looking for this type of detailed information, than this book easily could merit a five star review. Currey does a great job presenting this information, presumably sifting through mounds of notes, interviews and books to capture the essence of the artists work habits. There are almost 30 pages of footnotes for this book. I took a lot of notes while reading this book and I will post the writing life tidbits out on my twitter feed as #authorfacts in the next few weeks. In a purely unscientific assessment of these habits, I can present to you a summary of what I learned here: Artists work first thing in the morning to get it out of the way early so they can go about their day. 113 out of the 161 artists profiled (or 70.2% of them) began work in the morning, and many of the the late-rising artists also began work as one of their first activities of the day in the afternoon or night time, but the overwhelming majority of artists woke in the morning and got to work within 2 hours of waking. Most of them followed a strict daily work schedule working for a set number of hours, (typically anywhere from 3 to 6 hours) or until they hit a goal word count (usually 1000 to 1500 words). Many artists drank or smoked to excess, all ultimately having a negative impact on their work. Another popular excess: coffee. The one thing I wish this book would have done was to interview more contemporary authors, a lot of these artists are dead and from the 19th and early 20th century. Although the book contains some writers from the late 20th Century, the majority of these are of the Baby Boomer generation, and I'd be curious to see the daily rituals of Generation X or Millennial authors, and how they handle the distraction-rich, socially interconnected world of the 21st century. I think this information is out there and available, and maybe even easier to collect and write about, so I was disappointed that this wasn't captured. I also couldn't figure out how the book was organized. The artists were not classified by the medium or subject area, and not in alphabetical or chronological order. The profiles seem to be completely random, and considering the audience for this book, I think it would have better been served by some sort of organizational structure to make it easier to look up a particular artist, time period or profession. But the book is what it is. It is a solid, well-researched work of an obscure, somewhat academic subject, and although this is fascinating to a writer such as myself, I'm not sure the book can hold the interest of someone not specifically looking for this type of information, and I'm not sure it could hold the interest of writers and other artists not specifically interested in this aspect of the creative process. Rating: *** Buy Used $17.46 Hardcover, or $12.99 Kindle eBook About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alain Burrese

    As an author, I found “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey thoroughly fascinating, engaging, and entertaining. I had a great time reading this little gem of a book. I would recommend it to any writer, artist, or creative person. It's a simple book that contains over 150 short profiles of famous artists. Some of these may only be a half page in length, while the longest of them might take 2-3 pages. All of them contain interesting facts about the person being profiled, with a theme ce As an author, I found “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey thoroughly fascinating, engaging, and entertaining. I had a great time reading this little gem of a book. I would recommend it to any writer, artist, or creative person. It's a simple book that contains over 150 short profiles of famous artists. Some of these may only be a half page in length, while the longest of them might take 2-3 pages. All of them contain interesting facts about the person being profiled, with a theme centered on the artist's daily rituals, or routines. You'll find many were early risers, but that others worked at night and slept in. Some used stimulants to help them work, while others didn't. Some adhered to rigid schedules, and others were much more haphazard with their approach to work. The one thing you can take away from this book for sure is that there is no one single best routine to creativity. The rituals and routines are as unique and different as the works the artists created. However, another thing you can take away from this book is that those who created, did in fact make time to create and there was a lot of “butt-in-the-chair” time as we writers sometimes call it. (Except for those who wrote standing up.) Not only did I find this book an enjoyable read, but a very motivating one as well. Reading about the rituals of other artists, especially some of those I've admired, motivated me to work on my projects even more. The author did an excellent job at researching the individual artists in this book, and included enough to make it a great read, but also to stimulate me to do further research on some of those profiled here. Bottom line – I thought this book was outstanding. I had a lot of fun reading it, and will look to it again and again for motivation. I liked it so much that even though I have the advanced reader's copy from the Vine Program, I'm going to buy the hardcover when it is released.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Bowers

    When I picked up this book and began leafing through it, the first thing I read was a quote by Phillip Roth who said,"Writing isn't hard work, it's a nightmare." Amused, I thumbed though it until I came across a sketch of psychologist William James who wrote The Principles of Psychology, a two-volume work often referred to as "the Jimmy." The founder of functionalism, James was a big believer in habits, so I was a bit surprised to learn that he "kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisi When I picked up this book and began leafing through it, the first thing I read was a quote by Phillip Roth who said,"Writing isn't hard work, it's a nightmare." Amused, I thumbed though it until I came across a sketch of psychologist William James who wrote The Principles of Psychology, a two-volume work often referred to as "the Jimmy." The founder of functionalism, James was a big believer in habits, so I was a bit surprised to learn that he "kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life." After reading about Kierkegaard's peculiar way of having coffee, I knew I had to own this book describing rituals and idiosyncrasies of writers, artists, scientists, statesmen, and musicians. I'm so glad I did, for I have been both educated and entertained by the collection of short pieces about dozens of creative people. There are even illustrations interspersed at just the right places to break up the pages of print. Funny, inspirational, informative, and interesting are just a few of the adjectives to describe this book. When you buy your own copy, I know you'll agree.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Story

    Wanna be an artist? It's easy! All you need is copious amounts of stimulants/alcohol, a wife to take care of tedious chores, a few weird habits/pets and 20 million cigarettes. (On the extremely rare chance you happen to BE the wife, simply give up sleep and create all night long before resuming household duties, childcare and going to your job.) Wanna be an artist? It's easy! All you need is copious amounts of stimulants/alcohol, a wife to take care of tedious chores, a few weird habits/pets and 20 million cigarettes. (On the extremely rare chance you happen to BE the wife, simply give up sleep and create all night long before resuming household duties, childcare and going to your job.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    An interesting and eclectic collection of anecdotes, short excerpts, and passages, etc., on the various rituals kept by artists, describing the many ways they find time to 'be creative.' I read those by writers first, of course, but then went back and read most of the others. Writers, painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, and so on, each have, or had their own way in which to find time to do their work. ('Cuz being creative is work.) Most creative people have to find other ways to earn a living An interesting and eclectic collection of anecdotes, short excerpts, and passages, etc., on the various rituals kept by artists, describing the many ways they find time to 'be creative.' I read those by writers first, of course, but then went back and read most of the others. Writers, painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, and so on, each have, or had their own way in which to find time to do their work. ('Cuz being creative is work.) Most creative people have to find other ways to earn a living before earning enough (creative-wise) to pay all the bills. Very few are fortunate enough to have an 'independent income', sponsors and other programs for support. The great majority of those cited in this book had to get there on their own. So I concentrated on the writers, noting that the majority of them, who had families and 9-to-5 jobs, often woke up early or stayed up late to write. Others snuck in time when children were asleep, or when family members were busy themselves. A few made themselves sanctuaries, rooms or sheds or attic lofts where NO ONE WAS ALLOWED while the they worked. I suppose I knew all this, but seeing this written out in the writer's own words, or those of a biographer, close friend or family member made it all strikingly real to me. Now there are creative folk who work on teams, or collaborate with others, but this book wasn't about them; it was about the single writer or artist who creates solely on his or her own. (In fact, I was just called away while writing this to help a family member. Years ago, I also did the 'rise early' thing and 'stay up late.' My children learned to fall asleep to the sound of typewriter keys on a huge, old Olivetti typewriter. The need to find time alone and uninterrupted is shared by writers both big and small.) A few which stuck out: Stephen King who writes every day, including birthdays, holidays, vacation, etc. Jane Austen, who wrote in a large family room at her home, hid her writing during the day, didn't want her family to know what she was about. And yet she read to them from her writing each night. So...didn't anyone wonder when she got the time to do all that? Alice Munro, who tried to fit her writing in while around raising a family. She was interrupted so often by friends and neighbors, she rented a room above a drugstore so she could write. Maya Angelo, who kept a hotel room for the same reason. Joyce Carol Oates, who often writes all day long, morning, noon and night, despite teaching at Princeton. John Cheever, who said the best time for writing is the hour between five and six in the morning. Also, many writers are/were famous for taking long walks. Numerous passages in this book mention them walking in the morning, at night, mid-afternoon, whenever they could, and how important that is. My takeaway: anyone involved in a creative pursuit - be it writing a novel, composing a sonata, or just needing time for a craft or hobby they love - has to be also be creative in finding the time and spending that time wisely. Interesting book for anyone who 'creates.'

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Correll

    Good book, but 27 featured female artists out of a total of 161 is a bit rubbish...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sebah Al-Ali

    كتاب لطيف، مبني على فكرة أن حاجتنا للروتين مهمة جدا لكي نثابر على الإنتاج وعلى التميز، بغض النظر عن كونه روتين صباحي أو مسائي أو حتى خارج عن المعتاد؛ المهم أن تبني روتينا معينا يساعدك على الإنتاج ويساعد عقلك على التركيز والإبداع. يشارك قصص المشاهير، بكل المجالات، الذي أنتجوا الكثير وكيف كانت عاداتهم اليومية تشكل جزءا كبيرا من سر إنتاجيتهم. قراءة خفيفة، مفيدة في أوقات الانتظار أو كراحة فكرية. -- مما اقتبسته: "It's [the book] about the circumstances of creative activity, not the product." ** "My underly كتاب لطيف، مبني على فكرة أن حاجتنا للروتين مهمة جدا لكي نثابر على الإنتاج وعلى التميز، بغض النظر عن كونه روتين صباحي أو مسائي أو حتى خارج عن المعتاد؛ المهم أن تبني روتينا معينا يساعدك على الإنتاج ويساعد عقلك على التركيز والإبداع. يشارك قصص المشاهير، بكل المجالات، الذي أنتجوا الكثير وكيف كانت عاداتهم اليومية تشكل جزءا كبيرا من سر إنتاجيتهم. قراءة خفيفة، مفيدة في أوقات الانتظار أو كراحة فكرية. -- مما اقتبسته: "It's [the book] about the circumstances of creative activity, not the product." ** "My underlying concerns in the book are issues that I struggle with in my own life: How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living?" ** "A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one's mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods. This was one of William James' favorite subjects. He though you wanted to put part of your life on auto-pilot; by forming good habits, he said, we can 'free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.'" ** "The surest way to discipline passion is to discipline time: decide what you want or ought to do during the say, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble." --W. H. Auden ** "A write can do everything by himself --but he needs discipline. He has to get up at seven in the morning, and be alone in a room with a white sheet of paper." --Federico Fellini ** "Eight hours of hard work each day to get three minutes of film. And during those eight hours there are many only ten or twelve minutes, if you're luck, of real creation." -- Ingmar Bergman ^so, so true :( ** "The walks were where he [Søren Kierkegaard] had his best ideas, and sometimes he would be in such a hurry to get them down that, returning home, he would write standing up before his desk, still wearing his hat and gripping his walking stick or umbrella." ^I can relate. Really clears my mind. ** "In his Autobiography, [Benjamin] Franklin famously outlined a scheme to achieve 'moral perfection' according to a thirteen-week plan. Each week was devoted to a particular virtue --temperance, cleanliness, moderation, etc-- and his offenses against these virtues were tracked on a calendar." --

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Book blurb: 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. This is a fun book to dip in and Book blurb: 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. This is a fun book to dip in and out of. I quite enjoyed getting a glimpse into the habits of these creative types. I have three complaints about the book: 1. The sections are really uneven. Some are a couple of pages long, while others are a mere paragraph. I wanted more. 2. Only about 23 women on this list. I would have liked to see more women profiled. 3. You would think that there were no creative people of color in the world. And no, Toni Morrison does not even begin to cover it. Overall I found this an interesting read, and found it pleasantly affirming how many people took naps, long walks and procrastinated.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    I am so incredibly disappointed by this book. I think what the author set out to do was a great idea but the book itself fell short. Each bite-sized chapter give very little insight into the creative process. You get some rudimentary information on what they are for breakfast or how many cigarettes they smoked but very little else. My advice: don't buy this book. Borrow it from a friend if you still want to read it. It's barely worth the paper it's printed on. I am so incredibly disappointed by this book. I think what the author set out to do was a great idea but the book itself fell short. Each bite-sized chapter give very little insight into the creative process. You get some rudimentary information on what they are for breakfast or how many cigarettes they smoked but very little else. My advice: don't buy this book. Borrow it from a friend if you still want to read it. It's barely worth the paper it's printed on.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Hawkins

    I enjoyed reading one daily ritual a day and learning about some of my inspirations! This would also work great as a coffee table book in the way that it is intriguing enough for guests to take a look through. This book influenced me to create my own daily ritual!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    After the first few, I lost interest. This really is a compilation of facts, and it just wasn't that compelling. Women are VERY under-represented in this book. After the first few, I lost interest. This really is a compilation of facts, and it just wasn't that compelling. Women are VERY under-represented in this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    As someone who works full-time and has kids, I've always struggled to find a daily routine that works. It was fun to see that brilliant and successful people often struggle with daily routines, too! It was comforting to see that there isn't just one *perfect* routine that leads to success. I also loved seeing a little glimpses into the daily world of people like Ben Franklin, Sylvia Plath, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, and many more, especially the women who had children. They all seem much more h As someone who works full-time and has kids, I've always struggled to find a daily routine that works. It was fun to see that brilliant and successful people often struggle with daily routines, too! It was comforting to see that there isn't just one *perfect* routine that leads to success. I also loved seeing a little glimpses into the daily world of people like Ben Franklin, Sylvia Plath, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, and many more, especially the women who had children. They all seem much more human, and I laughed more than once. In a short space, Curry manages to sketch the artists in the book in vibrant detail as they all struggled to get through each day in their own way. Curry includes the birth and death date for each date (for the ones who have died), which reminded me that all of our the days, all our comings and goings--all lead to the same end. It was definitely a wake up call for me to take advantage of each day, in all its simultaneous monotony and glory. A fun, addictive, and completely delightful read.

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