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Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

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3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  9,302 Ratings  ·  922 Reviews
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
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Knopf (first published April 18th 2013)
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Popular Answered Questions

Martin Brochhaus No. It will more likely de-motivate you. It shows that life is terrible and unforgiving and even the brightest minds in history failed to find a good…moreNo. It will more likely de-motivate you. It shows that life is terrible and unforgiving and even the brightest minds in history failed to find a good flow. The only thing that seems to work is permanent hard work and a strict, never-ending, always-the-same daily schedule.(less)

Community Reviews

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Anthony
Jun 04, 2013 Anthony rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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Mohammad Ali

نمره ی واقعی: سه و نیم

برای من کتابی بود خواندنی به دلیل اینکه سرتاسر بیان چگونگی کنار آمدن با خود بود - با ذهنیات و با بدن خود. کتاب، کتاب تجربه بود، تجربه ی آدم های مختلفی که سعی می کردند بین اموری که در دستشان نیست - مثل توان بدنی، وسواس های فکری و ... - و اموری که خواستار آنند جمع کنند. و این کتاب به نظرم باز هم خواندنی تر بود چون نشان می داد که این تجربه یک مواجهه ی شخصی است و نه اصولی عام و بایدهایی همگانی


بعضی بخش ها برایم جالب تر بودند مثلا: تامس وولف، پاتریشیا های اسمیت، مورتون فلدمن، آنت
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Kelsey
Aug 28, 2013 Kelsey rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
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 Beau
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El
May 20, 2014 El rated it really liked it
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
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Inna Swinton
Oct 30, 2013 Inna Swinton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Ruel
Aug 18, 2014 Ruel rated it it was ok
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
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Jason
Jan 09, 2017 Jason rated it really liked it
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
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7jane
Jan 28, 2015 7jane rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Parastoo
Dec 06, 2015 Parastoo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
کتابِ خاصی نبود ولی ترجمهاش خیلی تمیز و روان بود. شاید کتاب برای بعضیها نکاتی داشته باشه ولی خب من که استفادهٔ خاصی نکردم از چیزیش. خودخواهیه ولی دلم میخواد کتابهای حسابیتری همچین ترجمهٔ خوبی داشته باشه.
از نشرِ ماهی بعیده که ندونه وقتی پرانتز باز میشه بعدش فاصله نداره تا کلمه شروع بشه. توی کل کتاب روی اعصاب بود.
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Leila
Sep 22, 2016 Leila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
تا یجایی دوست داشتم ولی کم کم که به نویسنده ها و آدم های معروفی که نمیشناختم رسیدم برام تکراری شد و ناجذاب.
ولی خوندن آداب روزانه بزرگای یسری معایب و محاسن داره.
اول اینکه خوندن زندگی روزانه حتی بزرگان اصلا چیز جذابی توش نداره و بدیش اینه که همش یه موضوع تکراری و شاید کم کم به این نتیجه برسی خب به من چه که این هر روز ساعت چند از خواب بیدار میشه؟
یا اینکه چرا هفتاد درصد از بزرگا به یچیزی اعتیاد داشتن؟ الکل؟ قهوه؟ مواد؟
ولی شاید جالبه بدونی شخصیت مورد علاقت چه خصوصیات ریزی داشت و چجوری رو کارش تمرکز
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Mobina Jafari
برای من بسیار انگیزه دهنده بود و با وجود بالا بودن تعداد فصل ها و افراد ، اصلا خسته کننده نبود. داشتن تمرکزی مانند افراد اشاره شده در این کتاب یکی از اهداف سخت من محسوب میشه :) . قسمتی از متن
مهم ترین چیز در آموزش این است که سیستم عصبی مان را متحد خود سازیم نه دشمن خود. هرچه بیشتر بتوانیم جزئیات زندگی روزانه را به فرآیند غیر ارادی و بی دردسر ذهن بسپاریم، نیروهای والای ذهنمان را در انجام کار حقیقی خود آزاد تر کرده ایم. بیچاره ترین آدم کسی است که جز تردید به هیچ چیز عادت نکرده است، کسی که برای گی
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Amanda Roper
May 03, 2013 Amanda Roper rated it liked it
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
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Giovanna
Jul 09, 2013 Giovanna rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jayne Bowers
Sep 05, 2013 Jayne Bowers rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Gregor Xane
Oct 15, 2013 Gregor Xane rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
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Perry
Dec 04, 2014 Perry rated it really liked it
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
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Alain Burrese
Apr 09, 2013 Alain Burrese rated it it was amazing
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
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Kate
Dec 24, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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,
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Michael Meeuwis
May 04, 2013 Michael Meeuwis rated it it was ok
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 ...more
sepehrdad
اسم کتاب آنقدر جذاب بود که برای خریدنش درنگ نکردم: بام تا شام مشاهیر.
این که برنامهی روزانهی بزرگان چطور بوده. چطور 24 ساعت شبانهروزشان را برنامهریزی و سازماندهی میکردهاند که چنان خروجیهایی داشتهاند؟ چطور با دغدغههای اولیهی زندگی (پول در آوردن، زن و بچه، اموری که همهی آدمها در آن مشترکاند) کنار میآمدهاند و می توانستهاند فراتر از آدمهای دیگر زندگی کنند؟ کیفیت زندگی روزمرهشان را چطور کنترل میکردند؟ چطور آن 24 ساعت را میگذراندهاند که بعدها توانستند جاودانه شوند؟
زندگی و عادتهای روزمرهی سیمون دوبووار
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SeyedMahdi Hosseini
1- اگر با مطالعه این کتاب به دنبال کشف عادات مفید مشاهیر هستید تا درصورت لزوم به عادتهای خودتان اضافه کنید، در اشتباهید چون احیانا چیزی بیشتر از ساعات بیدار شدن متفاوت در شبانه روز، نوشیدن قهوه، الکل و امثالهم دستگیرتان نمیشود.
2- با توجه به نام و تعریفی که از کتاب شنیده بودم در انتخاب آن شک نکردم و چند صفحه ابتدایی را همانند کتابهای دیگر با دقت مطالعه میکردم ولی بعد از آنکه متوجه شدم علاقهای به نوع غذا و ساعات نوشتن این افراد ندارم، بقیه کتاب را فقط سریع مرور کردم.
3- همیشه با ستارهای که به کتاب
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Jesse
Aug 04, 2016 Jesse rated it really liked it
Patricia Highsmith kicked off her writing sessions with a stiff drink to “reduce her energy levels.” George Sand was known to “slip out of a sleeping lover’s bed” at midnight to begin her newest novel. Nicholson Baker gets up at four am, writes for an hour and a half, goes back to bed, and gets up again at 8:30 and continues work for the rest of the day. Edith Sitwell likely did not lie in an open coffin before beginning to write, as has been widely reported. These are the types of vivid, wonder ...more
Lauren Hawkins
Jan 01, 2015 Lauren Hawkins rated it really liked it
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!
Soha
Jan 28, 2016 Soha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بي شك خواندن آداب روزانه نويسندگان محبوبت جذاب است
Michael Wilson
Aug 12, 2013 Michael Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity
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
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Elizabeth A
Nov 29, 2013 Elizabeth A rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
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
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Rayroy
Apr 24, 2013 Rayroy rated it really liked it


Well I lost this book, it's from the library, I hope it turns up. I
read half of it ,it's simple the reader learns the daily habits of artists and other famous figures, such as David Lynch who loves a ton of sugar in his coffee and pie, Samuel Beckett, Knut Hamsun, Benjamin Franklin who sat outside nude on damp mornings, and a bunch more famous people, over 100 which I can't recall since I lost the fucking book!!!!!! and every single one of them drinks coffee!!!!! and most, gasp, are morning peo
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Andrea Marley
Jul 10, 2013 Andrea Marley rated it it was amazing
I do very well with structure. I am not good at creating structure. When my life is structured, I flourish. How do people create structure! arghhhhhhhh

This book is a treat! At first I read every single artists' Modus Operandi. Later in the book, I only picked people I have heard of.

What a very cool and creative idea for a book, quick read.

Take-Aways:
* I was very excited to learn that many artists are early morning workers.
* I think a common block of time to set aside for art is 3 hours. I lov
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Anne
Jul 20, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it
I read this book to get inspired for a new year of writing. It worked to some extent. I found the research behind this book to be impressive and appreciated the range of artists included. The early authors and artists seemed to follow a similar path of: wake, work, get a woman to make me something to eat, work, nap, drink, further subjugate women. That was a bit tedious to read about. I think I'll follow Malmoud's advice and just write without reading any more about how people write.
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Mason Currey is the author of the forthcoming book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, to be published by Knopf on April 26. He was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Currey’s writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years. He lives in Los Angeles.
More about Mason Currey...

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“A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” 8 likes
“The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” 7 likes
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