Book Review - Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

book courses & learning resources Sep 01, 2021

READ: 1 min
REVIEWER: Robert Craven

A simple book that focuses on the working habits of 161 inspired minds, from Beethoven to Kafka via Einstein, Freud and van Gogh. Not forgetting Benjamin Franklin, Henri Matisse, Nikola Tesla, Stephen King, Twyla Tharp, Federico Fellini, Ann Beattie, Gustav Mahler and Toni Morrison.

A simple idea. Look at the circumstances of creativity.

Currently, we are all swamped with the idea that we need to be up at 4am and do an Iron Man every quarter. That’s what our modern world tells us.

This book debunks that idea.

There are no consistent patterns of behaviour. The book is all about the variety of working habits.

The one true lesson of the book, says its author Mason Currey, is that "there's no one way to get things done". For every Joyce Carol Oates, industriously plugging away from 8am to 1pm and again from 4pm to 7pm, or Anthony Trollope, timing himself typing 250 words per quarter-hour, there's a Sylvia Plath, unable to stick to a schedule.

There is no single message.

And that is the beauty of the book. So many great names but no secret, five-step process they all follow. And yet they all delivered their work.

Currey outs the habits of choreographers, comedians, composers, caricaturists, filmmakers, philosophers, playwrights, painters, poets, scientists, sculptors and writers.

So a great book to tease you about how others have approached their work. But not a book to read cover-to-cover.

It will live in many bathrooms or on bedside tables as a great occasional book to pick up and leaf through.

What we see in the rituals of the great is that they all seemed to have some kind of routine that worked for them. But there is no one-size-fits-all formula. This is simply a book to pick up and enjoy so you can get a glimpse of how others have approached the challenge of being creative.