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Publisher's Summary

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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Debra B on 10-23-14

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.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful


By Jonny on 12-22-14

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.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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By joseph on 06-08-14

Disjointed bombardment

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.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Lyd on 04-14-15

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By M.C. on 03-08-16

very generic and without substance

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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By SYLVIANNE on 02-01-16

a fascinating voyeuristic frolic

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

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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