Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what has motivated the greatest artists in the world to create their masterpieces? Painters, writers, and composers – this author gives a quick summary of the daily routines of over 160 artistic marvels. Asimov, Liszt, Tesla, Carl Jung, Voltaire, Jane Austen, Chopin, Maya Angelou…..well, the list is very long and very impressive.

The author has not set out to write literature here. He devotes about two pages to each writer or composer or painter, focusing on idiosyncrasies of habit - what time of day they rose, what kind of food they ate, when and how they did their best work …..it reads a bit like a laundry list. Unlike laundry lists, the information in these sketches was curiously addicting. For example, I had no idea how many of these greats used drugs (daily!) to get their motors running. Some would not bath or eat for days, others worked for precisely 4 hours and then drank like fish for the rest of the day.

It was utterly absorbing. Since each short report stands on its own and is unconnected to the previous or subsequent short reports, this is a book that can be picked up for just a few minutes here and there, or for much longer.

It was thoroughly diverting, it opened my eyes to the price of genius, and it drove home the pure merit of habit.

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