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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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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.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonny
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • 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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Joanna
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 06-16-14

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Beverly Hills, CA, United States
  • 03-10-14

Master your schedule.

If you could sum up Daily Rituals in three words, what would they be?

Master your schedule.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Daily Rituals?

Good reference to see what others do and have done.

Which character – as performed by Adam Verner – was your favorite?

Thomas Jefferson

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Seeing how meticulous people are about getting things DONE.

Any additional comments?

Should help out or give you additional ideas.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Good book, Bad narrator

Where does Daily Rituals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Routine, routine, routine

Routine, routine, routine. Being independently wealthy helps, as does hard work, but mostly routine. Call it what you will - hard work, tenacity, grit. There’s no shortage of any of that. None of this guarantees success in art or life, but it is the common theme to creativity. Would like to see a Vol. 2 with contemporary artists like James Franco and Joss Wheadon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Short snips of over 100 artist committment styles

Unusual, I don't think there is another book like it. There is around 160 artist; poets, writers, painters, etc. Mason Currey writes only 1 to 2 paragraphs giving a quick explanation of who they are, what they are known for and how they accomplished there works of art. If you are looking for something in depth, this is not the book. But it will allow you to understand there is no set rule to making it; but persistence is key and to beware of the sirens that will call you away from your work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • james
  • LAS VEGAS, NV, United States
  • 12-19-13

Nice Job!!!

Any additional comments?

Excellent job.... very impressive on the number of artists that were covered... wasn't sure what to expect, but really enjoyed it...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • joseph
  • 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Lyd
  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • aviva
  • 01-04-15

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Hugh Og
  • 11-30-14

Excellent insight to the "creative class"

Where does Daily Rituals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitly in the top two.

Would you recommend Daily Rituals to your friends? Why or why not?

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.

Which character – as performed by Adam Verner – was your favourite?

Twyla Tharp

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Beethovans habits made me Laugh!

Any additional comments?

Any creative person or curisous person wanting to know what the "greats" did? Buy this audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daisy
  • 03-25-14

Difficult to take away from

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Would you be willing to try another book from Mason Currey? Why or why not?

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. <br/>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. <br/><br/>However I wouldn't have thought this was an inadequacy of the writer, but more a lack of available evidence about each author. <br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>

What does Adam Verner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I found his voice quite hard to follow, but i think this could be due to the repetitive layout of the artist profiles.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Em
  • 11-06-17

Reassuring and Brilliant

There is something very comforting in knowing that all artists arre different, strange and beutiful. There is no right way to be an artist... I totally love this book.

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  • Heidy
  • 11-01-17

pleasant but somewhat superficial

A pleasant and interesting read but the author just reports the stories and biographies without much further analysis.

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  • Mark Lancaster
  • 10-11-17

Would make a great coffee table book imo.

On first listen I had to stop because it got a bit dull, in a people watching way. Like endless pictures of friends meals on FB. Came away thinking that there was no special way for encouraging creativity by schedule only that many prodigious persons self medicated with various types of intoxicating or stimulating consumptions.

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  • David
  • 08-19-17

Inspiring stuff!

A great listen for any aspiring artist who feels there aren't enough hours in the day! This book will make you realise all you need is to discover the routine that is suited to your personality and daily habits. Has helped me to push my composition time from 10 hrs to 30 hrs per week.

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  • Jan
  • 11-27-16

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.

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  • M.C.
  • 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • SYLVIANNE
  • 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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt Struthers
  • 08-31-17

lots of great content put together very close

the information provided is very interesting, however you would have to sit down with a notepad to capture the gold nuggets of information

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  • Laurel
  • 04-21-17

So many things

This book was fun! i was able to do all sorts of things that were rockin roll while listening intently wine or coffee I just didn't want it to end!!

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  • Alex.D
  • 04-27-16

A collection of small notes

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

0 of 1 people found this review helpful