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on 6 July 2014
This book needs defending.

This book does precisely what one would expect (especially if one has spent time searching for the daily rituals of important artists before, and has found the widely circulated image based on this book): it very clearly and methodically lists a huge variety of great minds (from Mozart to Woody Allen to Tolstoy) and their daily routines.

In this sense, it is invaluable: it is the sort of book that one can quite easily dip into (each subject is given a concise page or two), but it is also wildly addictive. I will address the reasons for this shortly.

For those who have asked for more 'analysis' and 'conclusions' to be drawn, I believe they misunderstand the very notion of what makes a great mind great. Echoing the author's introduction, the obvious principle that is drawn from a work such as this is that there is no one daily routine which works: it relies solely on the individual.

The idea that conclusions could be drawn is a naive one, and would detract from the power of this book. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the book is the author's refusal to be drawn into moral commentary. The catalogue of drug use, sexual perversions and domestic oddities are covered matter-of-factly, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. After all, the reader may well require some of these things in order to maximise their productivity. This book is wonderful: it stimulates the mind. It does not preach.

As I hinted above, the concise nature of this book makes it very easy to pick up: you can scan for your favourite artist and see their daily routine. However, the more involved way to read this book is to read it completely. Rather than the author attempting to sum up the wealth of information here, each reader is able to draw their own conclusions. For example, it is hard not to notice the amount of people who smoke and drink—and consider this essential to their creative output—whilst many of the subjects in this book (writers especially) have two clear blocks of work, separated by a walk or exercise.

It is only by reflecting on the wealth of data here that a reader can truly structure their own daily routine. If the author were to have drawn conclusions, this would have made this book a far lesser proposition. As it is, however, it is an incredible resource. It is the sort of book almost no one would want to write, but anyone who is remotely interested in living a creative life will be very thankful someone did.

As such, I am very thankful to the author. Ignore the negative reviews of this text—unless you are seeking instructions—and buy this book without hesitating if you a self-reflective, ambitious human seeking to make the most of your life by conquering the day.
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on 30 October 2016
I actually really loved this book and couldn't put it down. It's not a how-to manual or an analysis on other people's routines, it's simply a book on how other people have run their day.

Weirdly by reading how others work and manage their time (and sometimes why they do it this way), it actually helped me to realise how I naturally work and which method would most suit my natural tendencies and what I wanted to achieve. I'd had ideas on this before but this really helped crystallise how I wanted to work myself. I was actually really disappointed when I finished it.
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on 13 August 2017
Very enjoyable to dip into and see how writers, composers and artists got their work done. Range of approaches used by the great writers leaves you with no excuses for not finishing that novel!
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on 6 June 2015
It could have been better organised (such as by Owls and Larks or Workaholics and Inspiration Chasers, for example) so the reader could better appreciate the variety and commonalities between all these great creative minds.
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on 18 February 2017
This book gives a short description of the artistic rituals of many writers and artists. The idea is to simply lay out the rituals rather than attempt to analyse them in any way.
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on 25 November 2013
The subject sounded interesting; it gives lots of examples, but would be improved by some longer drawing together of conclusions.
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on 28 January 2014
This was like delving into the secret lives of great people. It's absolutely fascinating.
All the working practices and daily patterns of famous artists, writers and musicians have been brought together and it really is interesting to read about their productivity. It seems drinking and eating were the main priority for the creative mind.
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on 28 February 2017
Great for the 'nosey parker' and as an inspiration to what taking action and being methodical can result in.
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on 21 December 2013
Bought this on a recommendation very good and entertaining, however you'll see most of these creative minds killed themselves in the process with intoxicants some good tips and a light read but don't take it to heart :)
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on 9 February 2015
Very interesting insight into the world of how creative people go about their craft. Noticeable how virtually without exception a sense of routine was very important to them. Their work was the most important part of their existence to the exclusion of everything else. Fascinating.
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