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Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

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Интересная книга из цикла, опубликованного Тимом Феррисом  в его Tim Ferriss Book Club

В книге можно узнать о ежедневных привычках и распорядке дня великих писателей, исследователей, художников, композиторов, поэтов, философов и математиков. Как они находят вдохновение?
Здесь описаны дни около 200 великих умов за последние 400 лет. Среди прочего, возможно вы перестанете переживать из-за своей прокрастинации. Среди них были очень организованные и в то же время импульсивные люди.

А у вас есть особенные привычки или ритуалы, которые вы практикуете в профессиональной жизни? Откуда они у вас появились? Пишите в комментариях!

Daily Rituals — Full Overview

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.

Daily Rituals Sample — The Introduction

[TIM: The following words are from author Mason Currey.]

Nearly every weekday morning for a year and a half, I got up at 5:30, brushed my teeth, made a cup of coffee, and sat down to write about how some of the greatest minds of the past four hundred years approached this exact same task–that is, how they made the time each day to do their best work, how they organized their schedules in order to be creative and productive.

By writing about the admittedly mundane details of my subjects’ daily lives–when they slept and ate and worked and worried–I hoped to provide a novel angle on their personalities and careers, to sketch entertaining, small-bore portraits of the artist as a creature of habit. “Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are,” the French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once wrote. I say, tell me what time you eat, and whether you take a nap afterward.

In that sense, this is a superficial book. It’s about the circumstances of creative activity, not the product; it deals with manufacturing rather than meaning.

But it’s also, inevitably, personal. (John Cheever thought that you couldn’t even type a business letter without revealing something of your inner self–isn’t that the truth?) My underlying concerns in the book are issues that I struggle with in my own life: How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living? Is it better to devote yourself wholly to a project or to set aside a small portion of each day? And when there doesn’t seem to be enough time for all you hope to accomplish, must you give things up (sleep, income, a clean house), or can you learn to condense activities, to do more in less time, to “work smarter, not harder,” as my dad is always telling me? More broadly, are comfort and creativity incompatible, or is the opposite true: Is finding a basic level of daily comfort a prerequisite for sustained creative work?

I don’t pretend to answer these questions in the following pages–probably some of them can’t be answered, or can be resolved only individually, in shaky personal compromises–but I have tried to provide examples of how a variety of brilliant and successful people have confronted many of the same challenges. I wanted to show how grand creative visions translate to small daily increments; how one’s working habits influence the work itself, and vice versa.

The book’s title is Daily Rituals, but my focus in writing it was really people’s routines. The word connotes ordinariness and even a lack of thought; to follow a routine is to be on autopilot. But one’s daily routine is also a choice, or a whole series of choices. In the right hands, it can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources: time (the most limited resource of all) as well as willpower, self- discipline, optimism. A solid routine fosters a well- worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods. This was one of William James’s favorite subjects. He thought you wanted to put part of your life on autopilot; by forming good habits, he said, we can “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”

Ironically, James himself was a chronic procrastinator and could never stick to a regular schedule (covered in this book). As it happens, it was an inspired bout of procrastination that led to the creation of this book.

One Sunday afternoon in July 2007, I was sitting alone in the dusty offices of the small architecture magazine that I worked for, trying to write a story due the next day. But instead of buckling down and getting it over with, I was reading The New York Timesonline, compulsively tidying my cubicle, making Nespresso shots in the kitchenette, and generally wasting the day. It was a familiar predicament. I’m a classic “morning person,” capable of considerable focus in the early hours but pretty much useless after lunch. That afternoon, to make myself feel better about this often inconvenient predilection (who wants to get up at 5:30 every day?), I started searching the Internet for information about other writers’ working schedules. These were easy to find, and highly entertaining. It occurred to me that someone should collect these anecdotes in one place–hence the Daily Routines blog I launched that very afternoon (my magazine story got written in a last-minute panic the next morning) and, now, this book.

The blog was a casual affair; I merely posted descriptions of people’s routines as I ran across them in biographies, magazine profiles, newspaper obits, and the like. For the book, I’ve pulled together a vastly expanded and better researched collection, while also trying to maintain the brevity and diversity of voices that made the original appealing. As much as possible, I’ve let my subjects speak for themselves, in quotes from letters, diaries, and interviews. In other cases, I have cobbled together a summary of their routines from secondary sources. And when another writer has produced the perfect distillation of his subject’s routine, I have quoted it at length rather than try to recast it myself. I should note here that this book would have been impossible without the research and writing of the hundreds of biographers, journalists, and scholars whose work I drew upon. I have documented all of my sources in the Notes section, which I hope will also serve as a guide to further reading.

Compiling these entries, I kept in mind a passage from a 1941 essay by V. S. Pritchett. Writing about Edward Gibbon, Pritchett takes note of the great English historian’s remarkable industry–even during his military service, Gibbon managed to find the time to continue his scholarly work, toting along Horace on the march and reading up on pagan and Christian theology in his tent. “Sooner or later,” Pritchett writes, “the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing.”

What aspiring writer or artist has not felt this exact sentiment from time to time? Looking at the achievements of past greats is alternately inspiring and utterly discouraging. But Pritchett is also, of course, wrong.

For every cheerfully industrious Gibbon who worked nonstop and seemed free of the self-doubt and crises of confidence that dog us mere mortals, there is a William James or a Franz Kafka, great minds who wasted time, waited vainly for inspiration to strike, experienced torturous blocks and dry spells, were racked by doubt and insecurity. In reality, most of the people in this book are somewhere in the middle–committed to daily work but never entirely confident of their progress; always wary of the one off day that undoes the streak. All of them made the time to get their work done. But there is infinite variation in how they structured their lives to do so.

This book is about that variation. And I hope that readers will find it encouraging rather than depressing. Writing it, I often thought of a line from a letter Kafka sent to his beloved Felice Bauer in 1912. Frustrated by his cramped living situation and his deadening day job, he complained, “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.” Poor Kafka! But then who among us can expect to live a pleasant, straightforward life? For most of us, much of the time, it is a slog, and Kafka’s subtle maneuvers are not so much a last resort as an ideal.

Here’s to wriggling through.


All 161 Daily Rituals can be downloaded here.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
Cпасибо за книжку. Как раз искала, что почитать не связанное с финансами и ИТ.

Из своих привычек очень могу поделиться двумя (у меня работают вне зависимости от настроения перед исполнением):

1. Составлять списки , и потом вычеркивать красной ручкой все закрытые пункты, и отмечать зеленой звездочкой достижения или задачки, с которыми справилась особенно хорошо или сделала что то новое - подсмотрела у подружки, когда она учила французский. С тех пор и веду в красивых блокнотах.

2. Записывать все достижения, даже самые маленькие.Раньше, когда переживала что не подхожу, не справлюсь, не сумею, не дано, вела каждый день, сейчас раз в 2-3 дня. Записываю все, что по работе и не по работе. И периодичски перечитываю, написанное раньше.Что сделала хорошо, что моэно сделать лучше. А потом прохожусь с красной и зеленой ручкой :) - прочитала в какой то мотивационной книжке, если не ошибаюсь у Брайна Tрейси. По работе очень помогает на полугодовых ревью - ничего придумывать не надо, просто выбрать 4-5 из общего списка.
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
я уже запуталась со своими блокнотами в которых куча планов, но совет классный с цветами ручек, нужно будет применить, и определиться уже с одним блокнотом))))
Mar. 4th, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
я смотрела, эту книжку - мне понравилась! I enjoy stuff like that :)
я как-то читала сатирическую заметку в TheNewYorker, о начинающем авторе, который мечтал о славе и был помешан на этих ритуалах, копируя авторов от и до во всем, кроме написания собственно книги :)))
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:22 pm (UTC)
хаха, если бы он читал внимательно, то можно увидеть, что зачастую эти ритуалы совершенно противоположные, некоторые писатели пишут ночью, некоторые утром, кто-то стоя, кто-то лежа в постели, главное, для себя правильно что-то выбрать, что работаеn, объединяет их всех, что нужно было уединение для творческого процесса, поэтому они выбирали моменты, когда были одни, это определяло время дня для творчества, у меня тоже процесс лучше идет, когда одна и нет distractions
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
Я по утрам лучше по физической планке выдаю результаты! Умственно я совершенно пустая. Все творческие процессы начинают работать ночью и особенно пару часов до полуночи. По утрам я вообще не то, что интересное, я что-то вразумительное написать не могу - неоткуда взять.
Mar. 4th, 2014 05:51 pm (UTC)
у меня раньше по утрам тоже такое же состояние было, нужно было до обеда проснуться и весь креатив по вечерам был, но сейчас с рисованием, когда высыпаешься, мне лучше с утра при солнечной погоде дела делать)
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
и еще, я думаю, ритуалы вырабатываются у каждого только в процессе. У меня есть кое-какие ритуалы. Я совершенно о них не думала, они сами как-то появились, со временем.
Mar. 4th, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
действительно, чтобы выработать ритуалы, надо начать что-то делать и экспериментировать, делись своими ритуалами! может кому полезно будет )))
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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