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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

I’m a big believer in the power of habit and of effective daily “rituals,” and I love to hear about how successful people go about doing what they do, so this book was right up my alley.

Through entertaining and wonderfully written anecdotes, Daily Rituals shows you how some of the most famous artists and scientists worked. 161 in all, these stories will not only surprised at how diverse and eccentric their routines were, and how many had to cope with depression, lack of inspiration, lethargy, procrastination, and the like, and how they overcame these obstacles.

Igor Stravinsky couldn’t compose unless he was sure nobody could hear him and when he hit a creative block, he stood on his head to “clear the brain.” Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen with a refrigerator for a desk, fondling himself. Others found long daily walks the key to their productivity while others still relied on excessive amounts of coffee or even alcohol and drugs (and these usually served as cautionary tales, in the end).

I found gems on just about every page of this book as well as an odd comfort in seeing how many strange habits and idiosyncrasies these top performers had (we’re all weirdos in our own ways) and how they embraced the virtue of “whatever works is what’s right.” That is, whatever works for you and gets the job done–without ultimately destroying you (back to those cautionary tales)–is what you should do.

If you’re looking to break through a creative funk or dearth of inspiration or production, or if you’ve ever wondered how successful people spend their days, I think you’ll love this book.

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