How to Live on 24 Hours A Day - FULL AudioBook by Arnold Bennett - Self Improvement - Time Mgmt

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this is a librivox recording all

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volunteer please visit this

recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

preface this preface though placed at

the beginning as a previs must be should

be read at the end of the book I have

received a large amount of

correspondence concerning this small

work and many reviews of it some of them

nearly as long as the book itself have

been printed but scarcely any of the

comment has been adverse some people

have objected to a frivolity of tone but

as the tone is not in my opinion at all

frivolous this objection did not impress

me and had no way to reproach and put

forward I might almost have been

persuaded that the volume was flawless a

more serious stricture has however been

offered not in the press but by sundry

obviously sincere correspondents and I

must deal with it a reference to page 43

will show that I anticipated and feared

this disapprobation the sentence against

which protests have been made is as

follows quote in the majority of

instances he the typical man does not

precisely feel a passion for his

business at best he does not dislike it

he begins his business functions with

some reluctance as late as he can and he

ends them with joy as early as he can

and his engines while he is engaged in

his business are seldom at their full


end quote I am assured in accents of

unmistakable sincerity that there are

many businessmen not merely those in

high positions or with fine prospects

but modest subordinates with no hope of

ever being much better off

who do enjoy their business functions

who do not shirk them who do not arrive

at their office as late as possible and

depart as early as possible who in a

word but the whole of their force into

their day's work and are genuinely

fatigued at the end thereof I am ready

to believe it I do believe it I know it

I always knew it both in London and in

the provinces it has been my lot to

spend long years in subordinate

situations of business and the fact did

not escape me

that a certain proportion of my peers

show what amounted to an honest passion

for their duties and that while engaged

in those duties they were really living

to the fullest extent of which they were

capable but I remained convinced that

these fortunate and happy individuals

happier perhaps than they guessed did

not and do not constitute a majority or

anything like a majority I remain

convinced that the majority of decent

average conscientious men of business

men with aspirations and ideals do not

as a rule

go home of a night genuinely tired I

remain convinced that they put not as

much but as little of themselves as they

conscientiously can into the earning of

a livelihood and that their vocation

bores rather than interest them

nevertheless I admit that the minority

is of sufficient importance to merit

attention and that I ought not to have

ignored it so completely as I did do the

whole difficulty of the hard-working

minority was put in a single colloquial

sentence by one of my correspondents he

wrote I am just as keen as anyone on

doing something to exceed my program but

allow me to tell you that when I get

home at 6:30 p.m. I am NOT anything like

so fresh as you seem to imagine now I

must point out that the case of the

minority who throw themselves with


gusto into their daily business task is

infinitely less deplorable than the case

of the majority who go half-heartedly

and feebly through their official day

the former are less in need of advice

how to live at any rate during their

official day of say 8 hours they are

really alive their engines are giving

the full indicated horsepower the other

eight working hours of their day may be

badly organised or even frittered away

but it is less disastrous to waste eight

hours a day than 16 hours a day it is

better to have lived a bit than never to

have lived at all the real tragedy is

the tragedy of the man who is braced to

an effort neither in the office nor out

of it and to this man this book is

primarily addressed but says the other

and more fortunate man although my

ordinary program is bigger than his I

want to exceed my program - I am living

a bit I want to live more but I really

can't do another day's work on the top

of my official day the fact is I the

author ought to a foreseen that I should

appeal most strongly to those who

already had an interest in existence it

is always the man who has tasted life

who demands more of it and it is always

the man who never gets out of bed who is

the most difficult to rouse well you of

the minority let us assume that the

intensity of your daily money-getting

will not allow you to carry out quite

all the suggestions in the following

pages some of the suggestions may yet

stand i admit that you may not be able

to use the time spent on the journey

home at night but the suggestion for the

journey through the office in the

morning is as practicable for you as for

anybody and that weekly interval of 40

hours from Saturday to Monday is yours

just as much as the

man's though a slight accumulation of

fatigue may prevent you from employing

the whole of your horsepower upon it

there remains then the important portion

of the three or more evenings a week you

tell me flatly that you are too tired to

do anything outside your program at

night in reply to which I tell you

flatly that if your ordinary day's work

is thus exhausting then the balance of

your life is wrong and must be adjusted

a man's powers ought not to be

monopolized by his ordinary day's work

what then is to be done the obvious

thing to do is to circumvent your order

for your ordinary day's work by a ruse

employ your engines and something beyond

the program before and not after you

employ them on the programme itself

briefly get up earlier in the morning

you say you cannot you say it is

impossible for you to go earlier to bed

of a night to do so would upset the

entire household I do not think it is

quite impossible to go to bed earlier at

night I think that if you persist in

rising earlier and the consequences

insufficiency of sleep you will soon

find a way of going to bed earlier but

my impression is that the consequences

of rising earlier will not be an

insufficiency of sleep my impression

growing stronger every year is that

sleep is partly a matter of habit and of

slackness I am convinced that most

people sleep as long as they do because

they are at a loss for any other

diversion how much sleep do you think is

daily obtained by the powerful healthy

man who daily rattles up your street in

charge of Carter Patterson's van I have

consulted a doctor on this point he is a

doctor who for 24 years has had a large

general practice in a large flourishing

suburb of London

habited buy exactly such people as you

and me

he is a curt man and his answer was curt

most people sleep themselves stupid he

went on to give his opinion that nine

men out of ten would have better health

and more fun out of life if they spent

less time in bed other doctors have

confirmed this judgment which of course

does not apply to growing youths

rise an hour an hour and a half or even

two hours earlier and if you must retire

earlier when you can in the matter of

exceeding programs you will accomplish

as much in one morning hour as in two

evening hours but you may say I couldn't

begin without some food and servants

surely my dear sir in an age when an

excellent spirit-lamp

including a saucepan can be bought for

less than a shilling you are not going

to allow your highest welfare to depend

upon the precarious immediate

cooperation of a fellow creature

instruct the fellow creature whoever she

may be at night tell her to put a tray

in a suitable position overnight on that

tray two biscuits a cup and saucer a box

of matches and a spirit lamp on the lamp

the saucepan on the saucepan the lid but

turned the wrong way up on the reverse

lid the small tea pot containing a minut

quantity of tea leaves you will then

have to strike a match that is all in

three minutes the water boils and you

pour it into the teapot which is already

warm in three more minutes the tea is

infused you can begin your day while

drinking it these details may seem

trivial to the foolish but to the

thoughtful they will not seem trivial

the proper wise balancing of one's whole

life may depend upon the feasibility of

a cup of tea

an unusual hour signed Arnold Bennett

and a preface

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recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter 1 the daily miracle yesyes one

of those men that don't know how to

manage good situation regular income

quite enough for luxuries as well as

needs not really extravagant and yet the

fellows always in difficulties somehow

he gets nothing out of his money

excellent flat half-empty always looks

as if he'd had the brokers in new suit

old hat magnificent necktie baggy

trousers ask you to dinner cut glass bad

mutton or Turkish coffee cracked cup he

can't understand it

explanation simply is that he fritters

his income away wish I had the half of

it I'd show him so we have most of us

criticized at one time or another in our

superior way we are nearly all

Chancellor's of the Exchequer it is the

pride of the moment newspapers are full

of articles explaining how to live on

such-and-such a sum and these articles

provoke a correspondent Susan violence

proves the interest they excite recently

in a daily organ a battle raged round

the question whether a woman can exist

nicely in the country on 85 pounds a

year I have seen an essay how to live on

eight shillings a week but I have never

seen an essay how to live on 24 hours a


yet it has been said that time is money

that proverb understates the case

time is a great deal more than money if

you have time you can obtain money and

usually but though you have the wealth

of a cloakroom attendant at the Carlton


you cannot buy yourself a minute more

time than I have or the cat by the fire

has philosophers have explained that

space they have not explained time it is

the inexplicable raw material of

everything with it

all is possible without it nothing the

supply of time is truly a daily miracle

an affair genuinely astonishing when one

examines it you wake up in the morning

and lo your purse is magically filled

with 24 hours of the un-- manufactured

tissue of the universe of your life it

is yours it is the most precious of

possessions a highly singular commodity

showered upon you in a manner as

singular as the commodity itself for

remark no one can take it from you

it is unstealable and no one receives

either more or less than you receive

talk about an ideal democracy in the

realm of time there is no aristocracy of

wealth and no aristocracy of intellect

genius is never rewarded by even an

extra hour a day and there is no

punishment waste your infinitely

precious commodity as much as you will

and the supply will never be withheld

from you no mysterious power will say

this man is a fool if not a knave he

does not deserve time he shall be cut

off at the meter it is more certain than

consoles and payment of income is not

affected by Sunday's moreover you cannot

draw on the future impossible to get

into debt you can only waste the passing

moment you cannot waste tomorrow it is

kept for you you cannot waste the next

hour it is kept for

I said the affair was a miracle is it

not you have to live on this 24 hours of

daily time out of it you have to spin

health pleasure money content respect

and the evolution of your immortal soul

it's right use its most effective use is

a matter of the highest urgency and of

the most thrilling actuality all depends

on that your happiness the elusive prize

that you are all clutching for my

friends depends on that strange that the

newspapers so enterprising and

up-to-date as they are are not full of

how to live on a given income of time

instead of how to live on a given income

of money money is far commoner than time

when one reflects one perceives that

money is just about the communist thing

there is it encumbers the earth thing

gross heaps if one can't contrive to

live on a certain income of money one

earns a little more or steals it or

advertises for it one doesn't

necessarily a muddle one's life because

one can't quite manage on a thousand

pounds a year one braces the muscles and

mix it guineas and balances the budget

but if you cannot arrange that an income

of twenty four hours a day shall exactly

cover all proper items of expenditure

one does muddle one's life definitely

the supply of time though gloriously

regular is cruelly restricted which of

us lives on twenty-four hours a day and

when I say lives I do not mean exists

nor muddles through which of us is free

from that uneasy feeling that the great

spending departments of his daily life

are not managed as they ought to be

which of us is quite sure that his fine

suit is not surmounted by a shameful hat

or that in attending to the crockery he

has forgotten the quality of the food

which of us is not saying to himself

which of us has not been saying to

himself all his life

I shall alter that when I have a little

more time we never shall have any more

time we have and we have always had all

the time there is it is the realization

of this profound and neglected truth

which by the way I have not discovered

that has led me to the minut practical

examination of daily time expenditure

end of chapter

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recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter 2 the desire to exceed ones

program but someone may remark with the

English disregard of everything except

the point what is he driving at with his

24 hours a day I have no difficulty and

living on 24 hours a day I do all that I

want to do and still find time to go in

for newspaper competitions surely it is

a simple affair knowing that one has

only 24 hours a day to content oneself

with 24 hours a day to you my dear sir I

present my excuses and apologies you are

precisely the man that I have been

wishing to meet for about forty years

will you kindly send me your name and

address and state your charge for

telling me how you do it instead of me

talking to you you ought to be talking

to me that you exist I am convinced and

that I have not yet encountered you is

my loss meanwhile until you appear I

will continue to chat with my companions

in distress that innumerable band of

souls who are haunted more or less

painfully by the feeling that the years

slip by and slip by and slip by and that

they have not yet been able to get their

lives into proper working order if we

analyse that feeling we shall perceive

it to be primarily one of uneasiness of

expectation of looking forward of

aspiration it is a source of constant

discomfort for it behaves like a

skeleton at the feast of all our

enjoyments we go to the theatre

and laugh but between the acts it raises

a skinny finger at us we rush violently

for the last train and while we are

cooling a long age on the platform

waiting for the last train it promenades

its bones up and down by our side and

inquires oh man what has thou done with

thy youth what art thou doing with Ina

age you may urge that this feeling of

continuous looking forward of aspiration

is part of life itself and inseparable

from life itself true but there are

degrees a man may desire to go to Mecca

his conscience tells him that he ought

to go to Mecca he fairs forth either by

the aid of cooks or unassisted he may

probably never reach Mecca he may drown

before he gets to Port Said he may

perish in gloriously on the coast of the

Red Sea

his desire may remain eternally

frustrate unfulfilled aspiration may

always trouble him but he will not be

tormented in the same way as the man who

desiring to reach Mecca and harried by

the desire to reach Mecca never leaves

Brixton it is something to have left

Brixton most of us have not left Brixton

we have not even taken a cab to lug Gate

Circus and inquired from Cooks the price

of a conducted tour in our excuse to

ourselves is that there are only 24

hours in the day if we further analyze

our vague uneasy aspiration we shall I

think see that it Springs from a fixed

idea that we ought to do something in

addition to those things which we are

loyally and morally obliged to do we are

obliged by various codes written and

unwritten to maintain ourselves and our

families if any in health and comfort to

pay our debts to save to increase our

prosperity by increasing our efficiency

a task sufficiently difficult a task

which very few of us achieve a task

often beyond our skill yet if we succeed

in it as we sometimes do we are not

satisfied the skeleton is still with us

and even when we realize that the task

is beyond our skill that our powers

cannot cope with it we feel that we

should be less discontented if we gave

to our powers already overtaxed

something still further to do and such

is indeed the fact the wish to

accomplish something outside their

formal program is common to all men who

in the course of evolution have risen

past a certain level until an effort is

made to satisfy that wish the sense of

uneasy waiting for something to start

which has not started will remain to

disturb the peace of the soul that wish

has been called by many names it is one

form of the universal desire for

knowledge and it is so strong that men

whose whole lives have been given to the

systematic acquirement of knowledge have

been driven by it to overstep the limits

of their program in search of still more

knowledge even Herbert Spencer in my

opinion the greatest mind that ever

lived was often forced by it into

agreeable little backwaters of inquiry I

imagine that in the majority of people

who are conscious of the wish to live

that is to say people who have

intellectual curiosity the aspiration to

exceed formal programmes takes a

literary shape they would like to embark

on a course of reading decidedly the

British people are becoming more and

more literary but I would point out that

literature by no means comprises the

whole field of knowledge and that the

disturbing thirst to improve oneself to

increase one's knowledge may well be

slaked quite apart from literature

with the various ways of slaking it I

shall deal later here I merely point out

to those who have no natural sympathy

with literature that literature is not

the only well and of chapter

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recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

in 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter 3 precautions before beginning

now that I have succeeded if succeeded I

have in persuading you to admit to

yourself that you are constantly haunted

by a suppressed dissatisfaction with

your own arrangement of your daily life

and that the primal cause of that

inconvenient dissatisfaction is the

feeling that you are everyday leaving

undone something which you would like to

do and which indeed you are always

hoping to do when you have more time and

now that I have drawn your attention to

the glaring dazzling truth that you will

never have more time since you already

have all the time there is you expect me

to let you into some wonderful secret by

which you may at any rate approach the

ideal of a perfect arrangement of the

day and by which therefore that haunting

unpleasant daily disappointment of

things left undone will be got rid of I

have found no such wonderful secret nor

do I expect to find it nor do I expect

that anyone else will ever find it

it is undiscovered when you first began

to gather my drift perhaps there was a

resurrection of Hope in your breast

perhaps you said to yourself this man

will show me an easy unfit eating way of

doing what I have so long in vain wished

to do alas no the fact is that there is

no easy way no Royal Road the path to

Mecca is extremely hard and stony and

the worst of it is that you never quite

get there after all the most important

preliminary to the task of arranging

one's life so the

one may live fully and comfortably

within one's daily budget of 24 hours is

the calm realization of the extreme

difficulty of the task of the sacrifices

and the endless effort which it demands

I cannot to strongly insist on this if

you imagine that you will be able to

achieve your ideal by ingeniously

planning out a timetable with a pen on a

piece of paper you had better give up

hope at once if you are not prepared for

discouragements and dissolutions if you

will not be content with a small result

for a big effort then do not begin lie

down again and resume the uneasy doze

which you call your existence it is very

sad is it not very depressing and somber

and yet I think it is rather fine to

this necessity for the tense bracing of

the will before anything worth doing can

be done I rather like it myself I feel

it to be the chief thing that

differentiates me from the cat by the

fire well you say assume that I am

braced for the battle assume that I have

carefully weighed and comprehended your

ponderous remarks how do I begin dear

sir you simply begin there is no magic

method of beginning if a man's standing

on the edge of a swimming bath and

wanting to jump into the cold water

should ask you how do I begin to jump

you would merely reply just jump take

hold of your nerves and jump as I have

previously said the chief beauty about

the constant supply of time is that you

cannot waste it in advance the next year

the next day the next hour are lying

ready for you as perfect as unspoiled as

if you had never wasted or misapplied a

single moment in all your career which

fact is very gratifying and reassuring

you can turn over a new leaf every hour

if you choose therefore no object is

served and waiting till next week

or even until tomorrow you may fancy

that the water will be warmer next week

it won't it will be colder but before

you begin let me murmur a few words of

warning in your private ear let me

principally warn you against your own

ardour ardour in well-doing is a

misleading and a treacherous thing it

cries out loudly for employment you

can't satisfy it at first it wants more

and more it is eager to move mountains

and divert the course of rivers it isn't

content to let perspires

and then too often when it feels the

perspiration on its brow it worries all

of a sudden and dies without even

putting itself to the trouble of saying

I've had enough of this beware of

undertaking too much at the start be

content with quite a little allow for

accidents allow for human nature

especially your own a failure or so in

itself would not matter if it did not

incur a loss of self-esteem and of

self-confidence but just as nothing

succeeds like success

so nothing fails like failure most

people who are ruined are ruined by

attempting too much therefore and

setting out on the immense enterprise of

living fully and comfortably within the

narrow limits of 24 hours a day let us

avoid at any cost the risk of an early

failure I will not agree that in this

business at any rate a glorious failure

is better than a petty success I am all

for the petty success a glorious failure

leads to nothing

a petty success may lead to a success

that is not petty so let us begin to

examine the budget of the day's time you

say your day is already fold overflowing

how you actually spend in earning your

livelihood how much seven hours on the


an actual sleep 7 I will add 2 hours and

be generous and I will defy you to

account to me on the spur of the moment

for the other 8 hours and a chapter

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recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

in 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter 4 the cause of the troubles in

order to come to grips at once with a

question of time expenditure in all its

actuality I must choose an individual

case for examination I can only deal

with one case and that case cannot be

the average case because there is no

such case as the average case just as

there is no such man as the average man

every man and every man's case is

special but if I take the case of a

Londoner who works in an office whose

office hours are from 10:00 to 6:00 and

who spends 50 minutes morning and night

in travelling between his house door and

his office door I shall of God is near

to the averages facts permit there are

men who have to work longer for a living

but there are others who do not have to

work so long fortunately the financial

side of existence does not interest us

here for our present purpose the clerk

at a pound a week is exactly as well-off

as the millionaire in Carlton House

Terrace now the great and profound

mistake which my typical man makes in

regard to his day is a mistake of

general attitude a mistake which

vitiates and weakens two thirds of his

energies and interests in the majority

of instances he does not precisely feel

a passion for his business at best he

does not dislike it he begins his

business functions with reluctance as

late as he can and he ends them with joy

as early as he can and his engines while

he is engaged in his business are seldom

at their full horsepower I know that I

shall be accused by

angry readers of traduce in the city

worker but I am pretty thoroughly

acquainted with the city and I stick to

what I say yet in spite of all this he

persists in looking upon those hours

from 10:00 to 6:00 as the day to which

the ten hours preceding them and the six

hours following them are nothing but a

prologue and epilogue such an attitude

unconscious though it be

of course kills his interest in the odds

sixteen hours with the result that even

if he does not waste them he does not

count them he regards them simply as

margin this general attitude is utterly

illogical and unhealthy since it

formerly gives the central prominence to

a patch of time and a bunch of

activities which the man's one idea is

to get through and have done with if a

man makes two thirds of his existence

subservient to one third for which

admittedly he has no absolutely feverish


how can he hope to live fully and


he cannot if my typical man wishes to

live fully and completely he must in his

mind arrange a day within a day and this

inner day a Chinese box in a larger

Chinese box must begin at 6 p.m. and end

at 10 a.m. it is a day of 16 hours and

during all these 16 hours he has nothing

whatever to do but cultivate his body

and his soul and his fellow men during

those 16 hours he is free he is not a

wage earner he is not preoccupied with

monetary cares he is just as good as a

man with a private income this must be

his attitude and his attitude is

all-important his success in life much

more important than the amount of a

state upon which his executor z-- will

have to pay estate Duty depends on it

what you say that full energy given to

those 16 hours will lessen the

value of the business 8 not so on the

contrary it will assuredly increase the

value of the business 8 one of the chief

things which my typical man has to learn

is that the mental faculties are capable

of a continuous heart activity they do

not tire like an arm or a leg all they

want is change not rest except in sleep

I shall now examine the typical man's

current method of employing the 16 hours

that are entirely his beginning with his

uprising I will merely indicate things

which he does and which I think he ought

not to do postponing my suggestions for

planting the times when I shall have

cleared as a settler clear spaces in a

forest injustice to him I must say that

he wastes very little time before he

leaves the house in the morning at 9:10

in to many houses he gets up at 9:00

breakfast between 97 and 9 nine and a

half and then bolts but immediately he

bangs the front door his mental

faculties which are tireless become idle

he walks to the station in a condition

of mental coma arrived there he usually

has to wait for the train on hundreds of

suburban stations every morning you see

men calmly strolling up and down

platforms while railway companies

unblushing Lee robbed them of time which

is more than money hundreds of thousands

of hours are thus lost every day simply

because my typical man thinks so little

of time that it has never occurred to

him to take quite easy precautions

against the risk of its loss he has a

solid coin of time to spend every day

call it a sovereign he must get changed

for it and in getting change he is

content to lose heavily supposing that

in selling him a ticket

the company said we will change your

sovereign but we shall charge you three

halfpence for doing so

what would my typical man exclaim yet

that is the equivalent of what the

company does when it robs him of five

minutes twice a day you say I am dealing

with minutiae I am and later on I will

justify myself now will you kindly buy

your paper and step on to the Train end

of chapter

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recording is by mark smith of

simpsonville south carolina how to live

on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter five tennis and the immortal

soul you get into the morning train with

your newspaper and you calmly and

majestically give yourself up to your

newspaper you do not hurry you know you

have at least half an hour of security

in front of you as your glance lingers

idly at the advertisements of shipping

and of songs on the outer pages your air

is the air of a leisured man wealthy in

time of a man from some planet where

there are a hundred and twenty

four-hours-a-day instead of 24 I am an

impassioned reader of newspapers I read

five English and two French dailies and

the news agents alone know how many

weeklies regularly I am obliged to

mention this personal fact lest I should

be accused of a prejudiced against

newspapers when I say that I object to

the reading of newspapers in the morning


newspapers are produced with rapidity to

be read with rapidity there is no place

in my daily program for newspapers I

read them as I may in odd moments but I

do read them the idea of devoting to

them 30 or 40 consecutive minutes of

wonderful solitude for nowhere can one

more perfectly immerse oneself in

oneself than in a compartment full of

silent withdrawn smoking mails is to me

repugnant I cannot possibly allow you to

scatter priceless pearls of time with

such oriental lavishness you were not

the Shah of time let me respectfully

remind you that you have no more time


have no newspaper reading in trains I

have already put by about three-quarters

of an hour for use now you reach your

office and I abandon you there till six

o'clock I am aware that you have

nominally an hour often in reality an

hour and a half in the midst of the day

less than half of which time is given to

eating but I will leave you all that to

spend as you choose you may read your

newspapers then I meet you again as you

emerge from your office you are pale and

tired at any rate

your wife says you are pale and you give

her to understand that you are tired

during the journey home you have been

gradually working up the tired feeling

the tired feeling hangs heavy over the

mighty suburbs of London like a virtuous

and melancholy cloud particularly in

winter you don't eat immediately on your

arrival home but in about an hour or so

you feel as if you could sit up and take

a little nourishment and you do then you

smoke seriously you see friends you

Potter you play cards you flirt with a

book you note that old age is creeping

on you take a stroll you caress the


by Jove a quarter past eleven you then

devote quite 40 minutes to thinking

about going to bed and it is conceivable

that you are acquainted with a genuinely

good whisky at last you go to bed

exhausted by the day's work six hours

probably more have gone since you left

the office gone like a dream gone like

magic unaccountably gone that is a fair

sample case but you say it's all very

well for you to talk a man is tired a

man must see his friends he can't always

be on the stretch just so but when you

arrange to go to the theatre

especially with a pretty woman what

happens you rush to the suburbs you

spare no toil to make yourself glorious

and fine raiment you rush back to town

in another train you keep yourself on

the stretch for four hours if not five

you take her home you take yourself home

you don't spend three quarters of an

hour in thinking about going to bed you

go friends and fatigue have equally been

forgotten and the evening has seemed so

exquisitely long or perhaps too short

and do you remember that time when you

were persuaded to sing in the course of

the amateur operatic society and slaved

two hours every other night for three

months can you deny that when you have

something definite to look forward to at

Eventide something that is to employ all

your energy the thought of that

something gives a glow and a more

intense vitality to the whole day what I

suggest is that at six o'clock you look

facts in the face and admit that you are

not tired because you are not you know

and that you arrange your evening so

that it is not cut in the middle by a

meal by so doing you will have a clear

expanse of at least three hours I do not

suggest that you should employ three

hours every night of your life and using

up your mental energy but I do suggest

that you might for commencement employ

an hour and a half every other evening

in some important and consecutive

cultivation of the mind you will still

be left with three evenings for friends

bridge tennis domestic scenes odd

reading pipes gardening pottering and

prize competitions you will still have

the terrific wealth of 45 hours between

2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Monday if

you persevere you will soon want to pass

4 evenings and perhaps 5 in some

sustained endeavour to be genuinely


and you will fall out of that habit of

muttering to yourself at 11:15 p.m. time

to be thinking about going to bed

the man who begins to go to bed 40

minutes before he opens his bedroom door

is bored that is to say he is not living

but remember at the start those 90

nocturnal minutes thrice a week must be

the most important minutes in the 10,080

they must be sacred quite as sacred as a

dramatic rehearsal or a tennis match

instead of saying sorry I can't see you

all jump but I have to run off to the

Tennis Club you must say but I have to

work this I admit his intensely

difficult to say tennis is so much more

urgent than the immortal soul end of


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chapter 6 remember human nature

I have incidentally mentioned the vast

expanse of 45 hours between leaving

business at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and

returning to business at 10:00 a.m. on

Monday and here I must touch on the

point whether the week should consist of

six days or of seven for many years in

fact until I was approaching 40 my own

week consisted of seven days I was

constantly being informed by older and

wiser people that more work more genuine

living could be got out of six days than

out of seven and it is certainly true

that now with one day and seven in which

I follow no program and make no effort

save what the Caprice of the moment

dictates I appreciate intensely the

moral value of a weekly rest

nevertheless had I my life to arrange

over again I would do again as I have

done only those who have lived at the

full stretch seven days a week for a

long time can appreciate the full beauty

of a regular recurring idleness

moreover I am aging and it is a question

of age in cases of abounding youth and

exceptional energy and desire for effort

I should say unhesitatingly keep going

day in day out but in the average case I

should say confine your formal program

super program I mean to six days a week

if you find yourself wishing to extend

it extend it but only in proportion to

your wish

and count the extra time as a windfall

not as regular income so that you can

return to a six day program without the

sensation of being poorer of being a

backslider let us now see where we stand

so far we have marked for saving out of

the waste of days half an hour at least

on six morning's a week and one hour and

a half on three evenings a week total

seven hours and a half a week I propose

to be content with that seven hours and

a half of the present what you cry you

pretend to show us how to live and you

only deal with seven hours and a half

out of a hundred and sixty-eight are you

going to perform a miracle with your

seven hours and a half well not to mince

the matter I am if you will kindly let

me let is to say I am going to ask you

to attempt an experience which while

perfectly natural and explicable has all

the air of a miracle my contention is

that the full use of those seven and

one-half hours will quicken the whole

life of the week and zest to it and

increase the interest which you feel in

even the most banal occupations you

practice physical exercises for a mere

ten minutes morning and evening and yet

you are not astonished when your

physical health and strength are

beneficially affected every hour of the

day and your whole physical outlook

changed why should you be astonished

that an average of over an hour a day

given to the mind should permanently and

completely enliven the whole activity of

the mind more time might assuredly be

given to the cultivation of oneself and

in proportion as the time was longer the

results would be greater but I prefer to

begin with what looks like a trifling

effort it is not really a trifling

effort as those will discover who have

yet to assay it to clear even seven

hours and a half

the jungle is passably difficult for

some sacrifice has to be made one may

have spent ones time badly but one did

spend it one did do something with it

however ill-advised that something may

have been to do something else means a

change of habits and habits are the very

Dickens to change further any change

even a change for the better is always

accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts

if you imagine that you will be able to

devote seven hours and a half a week to

serious continuous effort and still live

your old life you are mistaken

I repeat that some sacrifice and an

immense deal of volition will be

necessary and it is because I know the

difficulty it is because I know the

almost disastrous effect of failure in

such an enterprise that I earnestly

advise a very humble beginning you must

safeguard your self-respect self-respect

is at the root of all purposefulness and

a failure in an enterprise deliberately

planned deals a desperate wound at one

self-respect hence I iterate and

reiterate start quietly unostentatiously

when you have conscientiously given

seven hours and a half a week to the

cultivation of your vitality for three

months then you may begin to sing louder

and tell yourself what wondrous things

you are capable of doing before coming

to the method of using the indicated

hours I have one final suggestion to

make that is as regards the evenings to

allow much more than an hour and a half

in which to do the work of an hour and a


remember the chance of accidents

remember human nature and give yourself

say from 9:00 to 11:30 for your task of

90 minutes

end of chapter

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chapter 7 controlling the mind people

say one can't help one's thoughts but

one can the control of the thinking

machine is perfectly possible and since

nothing whatever happens to us outside

our own brain since nothing hurts us or

gives us pleasure except within the

brain the supreme importance of being

able to control what goes on in that

mysterious brain is patent this idea is

one of the oldest platitudes but it is a

platitude whose profound truth and

urgency most people live and die without

realizing people complain of the lack of

power to concentrate not wedding that

they may acquire the power if they

choose and without the power to

concentrate that is to say without the

power to dictate to the brain its task

and to ensure obedience true life is

impossible mind control is the first

element of a full existence

hence it seems to me the first business

of the day should be to put the mind

through its paces

you look after your body inside and out

you run grave danger in hacking hairs

off your skin you employ a whole army of

individuals from the milkman to the pig

killer to enable you to bribe your

stomach into decent behavior why not

devote a little attention to the far

more delicate machinery of the mind

especially as you will require no

extraneous aid it is for this portion of

the art and craft of living that I have

reserved the time

from the moment of quitting your door to

the moment of arriving at your office

what I am to cultivate my mind in this

street on the platform in the train and

in the crowded street again precisely

nothing simpler no tools required not

even a book nevertheless the affair is

not easy when you leave your house

concentrate your mind on a subject no

matter what to begin with you will not

have gone 10 yards before your mind has

skipped away under your very eyes and is

lurking around the corner with another

subject bring it back by the scruff of

the neck ere you have reached the

station you will have brought it back

about 40 times do not despair continue

keep it up you will succeed you cannot

by any chance fail if you persevere it

is idle to pretend that your mind is

incapable of concentration do you not

remember that morning when you received

a disquieting letter which demanded a

very carefully worded answer how you

kept your mind steadily on the subject

of the answer without a seconds

intermission until you reached your

office whereupon you instantly sat down

and wrote the answer that was a case in

which you were aroused by circumstances

to such a degree of vitality that you

were able to dominate your mind like a

tyrant you would have no trifling you

insisted that its work should be done

and its work was done by the regular

practice of concentration as to which

there is no secret save the secret of

perseverance you can tyrannize over your

mind which is not the highest part of

you every hour of the day and in no

matter what place the exercise is a very

convenient one if you got into your

morning train with a pair of dumbbells

for your muscles or an encyclopaedia in

ten volumes for your learning

you would probably excite

mark but as you walk in the street or

sit in the corner of the compartment

behind a pipe or strap hang on the

subterranean who is to know that you

were engaged in the most important of

daily acts what asinine boor can laugh

at you I do not care what you

concentrate on so long as you

concentrate it is the mere disciplining

of the thinking machine that counts but

still you may as well kill two birds

with one stone and concentrate on

something useful I suggest it is only a

suggestion a little chapter of marcus

aurelius or epictetus do not I beg shy

at their names for myself I know nothing

more actual more bursting with playing

common sense applicable to the daily

life of plain persons like you and me

who hate airs pose and nonsense then

marcus aurelius or epictetus read a

chapter and so short they are the

chapters in the evening and concentrated

on it the next morning you will see yes

my friend it is useless for you to try

to disguise the fact I can hear your

brain like a telephone at my ear you are

saying to yourself this fellow was doing

pretty well up to his seventh chapter he

had begun to interest me faintly but

what he says about thinking and trains

and concentration and so on is not for

me it may be well enough for some folks

but it isn't in my line it is for you I

passionately repeat it is for you indeed

you are the ferryman I am aiming at

throw away the suggestion and you throw

away the most precious suggestion that

was ever offered to you it is not my

suggestion it is the suggestion of the

most sensible practical hard-headed men

who have walked the earth I only give it

to you at secondhand

try it get your mind in hand and see how

the process cures half the evils of life

especially worry that miserable

avoidable shameful disease worry end of


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chapter 8 the reflective mood the

exercise of concentrating the mind to

which at least half an hour a day should

be given is a mere preliminary like

scales on the piano having acquired

power over that most unruly member of

ones complex organism one as naturally

to put it to the yoke useless to possess

an obedient mind unless one profits to

the furthest possible degree by its

obedience a prolonged primary course of

study is indicated now as to what this

course of studies should be cannot be

any question there never has been any

question all the sensible people of all

ages are agreed upon it and it is not

literature nor is it any other art nor

is it history nor is it any science it

is the study of one's self man know

thyself these words are so hackneyed

that verily I blush to write them yet

they must be written before they need to

be written I take back my blush being

ashamed of it man know thyself I say it

out loud

the phrase is one of those phrases with

which everyone is familiar of which

everyone acknowledges the value and

which only the most sagacious put into

practice I don't know why I am entirely

convinced that what is more than

anything else lacking in the life of the

averaged well intentioned man of today

is the reflective mood we do not reflect

I mean that we do not reflect upon

genuinely important thing

upon the problem of our happiness upon

the main direction in which we are going

upon what life is giving to us upon the

share which reason has or has not in

determining our actions and upon the

relation between our principles and our

conduct and yet you are in search of

happiness are you not have you

discovered it the chances are that you

have not the chances are that you have

already come to believe that happiness

is unattainable but men have attained it

and they have attained it by realizing

that happiness does not spring from the

procuring of physical or mental pleasure

but from the development of reason and

the adjustment of conduct to principles

I suppose that you will not have the

audacity to deny this and if you admit

it and still devote no part of your day

to the deliberate consideration of your

reason principles and conduct you admit

also that while striving for a certain

thing you are regularly leaving undone

the one act which is necessary to the

attainment of that thing now shall I

blush or will you do not fear that I

mean to thrust certain principles upon

your attention I care not in this place

what your principles are your principles

may induce you to believe in the

righteousness of burglary I don't mind

all I urge is that a life in which

conduct is not fairly well accord with

principles is a silly life and the

conduct can only be made to accord with

principles by means of daily examination

reflection and resolution what leads to

the permanent sorrowful nosov burglars

is that their principles are contrary to

burglary if they genuinely believed in

the moral excellence of burglary penal

servitude would simply mean so many

happy years for them all martyrs are

happy because their conduct and their

principles agree

as for reason which makes conduct and is

not unconnected with the making of

principles it plays a far smaller part

in our lives than we fancy we are

supposed to be reasonable but we are

much more instinctive than reasonable

and the less we reflect the less


we shall be the next time you get

crossed with the waiter because your

steak is overcooked asked reason to step

into the Cabinet Room of your mind and

consult her she will probably tell you

that the waiter did not cook the steak

and had no control over the cooking of

the steak and that even if he alone was

to blame you accomplished nothing

goodbye getting cross you merely lost

your dignity looked the fool in the eyes

of sensible men and soured the waiter

while producing no effect whatever on

the steak the result of this

consultation with reason for which she

makes no charge will be that when once

more your steak is overcooked you will

treat the waiter as a fellow creature

remain quite calm in a kindly spirit and

politely insist on having a fresh

mistake the gain will be obvious and

solid in the formation or modification

of principles and the practice of

conduct much help can be derived from

printed books issued at sixpence each

and upwards I mentioned in my last

chapter Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus

surgeon even more widely known works

will occur at once to the memory I may

also mention Pascal la Briere and

Emerson for myself you do not catch me

traveling without my Marcus Aurelius

yes books are valuable but not reading

of books will take the place with daily

candid honest examination of what one

has recently done and what one is about

to do of a steady looking at oneself in

the face

disconcerting though the sight may be

when shall this important business be

accomplished the solitude of the evening

journey home appears to me to be

suitable for it a reflective mood

naturally follows the exertion of having

earned the day's living of course if

instead of attending to an elementary

and profoundly important duty you prefer

to read the paper which you might just

as well read while waiting for your

dinner I have nothing to say but attend

to it at some time of the day you must I

now come to the evening hours end of


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chapter 9 interest in the arts many

people pursue a regular and

uninterrupted course of idleness in the

evenings because they think that there

is no alternative to idleness but the

study of literature and they do not

happen to have a taste for literature

this is a great mistake of course it is

impossible or at any rate very difficult

properly to study anything whatever

without the aid of printed books but if

you desire to understand the deeper

depths of bridge or a boat sailing you

would not be deterred by your lack of

interest in literature from reading the

best books on bridge or boat sailing we

must therefore distinguish between

literature and books treating of

subjects not literary I shall come to

literature in due course

let me now remark to those who have

never read Meredith and who are capable

of being unmoved by a discussion as to

whether mr. Steven Phillips is or is not

a true poet that they are perfectly

within their rights it is not a crime

not to love literature it is not a sign

of imbecility the mandarins of

literature will order out to instant

execution the unfortunate individual who

does not comprehend say the influence of

Wordsworth on Tennyson but that is only

their impudence where would they be

I wonder if requested to explain the

influences that went to make

Tchaikovsky's pathetic symphony there

are enormous fields of knowledge quite

outside literature which will yield

magnificent results to cultivators for

example since I have just mentioned the

most popular piece of high-class

music in England today I am reminded

that the promenade concerts begin in

August you go to them you smoke your

cigar or cigarette and I regret to say

that you strike your matches during the

soft bars of the Lohengrin overture and

you enjoy the music but you say you

cannot play the piano or the fiddle or

even the banjo that you know nothing of

music what does that matter that you

have a genuine taste for music is proved

by the fact that in order to fill his

Hall with you and your peers the

conductor is obliged to provide programs

from which bad music is almost entirely

excluded a change from the old Covent

Garden days now surely your inability to

perform the Maiden's prayer on a piano

need not prevent you from making

yourself familiar with the construction

of the orchestra to which you listen a

couple of nights a week during a couple

of months as things are you probably

think of the orchestra as a

heterogeneous mass of instruments

producing a confused agreeable mass of

sound you do not listen for details

because you have never trained your ears

to listen to details if you were asked

to name the instruments which play the

great theme at the beginning of the C

minor symphony you could not name them

for your life's sake yet you admire the

C minor symphony it is thrilled you it

will thrill you again you have even

talked about it in an expensive mood to

that lady you know whom I mean and all

you can positively state about the C

minor symphony is that Beethoven

composed it and that it is a jolly fine

thing now if you have read say mr. Craig

Beals how to listen to music which can

be got at any booksellers for less than

the price of a stall at the Alhambra and

which contains photographs of all the

orchestral instruments and plans of the

arrangement of orchestras you would next

go to a promenade concert

with an astonishing intensification of

interest in it instead of a confused

mass the orchestra would appear to you

as what it is a marvelously balanced

organism whose various groups of members

each have a different and an

indispensable function you would spy out

the instruments and listen for their

respective sounds you would know the

Gulf that separates a French horn from

an English horn and you would perceive

why a player of the hood boy gets higher

wages than a fiddler though the fiddle

is the more difficult instrument you

would live at a prominent concert

whereas previously you have merely

existed there in a state of bait if

Acoma like a baby gazing at a bright

object the foundations of a genuine

systematic knowledge of music might be

laid you might specialize your inquiries

either on a particular form of music

such as the symphony or on the works of

a particular composer at the end of a

year of 48 weeks of three brief evenings

each combined with a study of programs

and attendances at concerts chosen out

of your increasing knowledge you would

really know something about music even

though you were as far off as ever from

jangling the maidens prayer on the piano

but I hate music you say my dear sir I

respect you what applies to music

applies to the other arts I might

mention mr. Claremont Wits how to look

at pictures or mr. Russell sturgess's

how to judge architecture as beginnings

mere beginnings of systematic vitalizing

knowledge in other arts the materials

for whose study abound in London I hate

all the arts you say my dear sir I

respect you more and more I will deal

with your case next before coming to


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chapter 10 nothing in life is humdrum

art is a great thing but it is not the

greatest the most important of all

perceptions is the continual perception

of cause and effect in other words the

perception of the continuous development

of the universe in still other words the

perception of the course of evolution

when one is thoroughly got imbued into

one's head the leading truth that

nothing happens without a cause one

grows not only large minded but large

hearted it is hard to have one's watch

stolen but one reflects that the thief

of the watch became a thief from causes

of heredity and environment which are as

interesting as they are scientifically

comprehensible and one buys another

watch if not with joy at any rate with a

philosophy that makes bitterness

impossible one loses in the study of

cause-and-effect that absurd air which

so many people have of being always

shocked and pained by the curiousness of

life such people live amid human nature

as if human nature were a foreign

country full of awful foreign customs

but having reached maturity one ought

surely to be ashamed of being a stranger

in a strange land

the study of cause and effect while it

lessens the painfulness of life adds to

life's picturesqueness the man to whom

evolution is but a name looks at the sea

as a grandiose monotonous spectacle

which again witness in August for three

shillings third-class return the man who

is imbued with the idea of development

of continuous cause and effect perceives

in the sea an element which in the day

before yesterday of geology was vapor

which yesterday was boiling and which

tomorrow will inevitably be ice he

perceives that a liquid is merely

something on its way to be solid and he

is penetrated by a sense of the

tremendous changeful picturesqueness of


nothing will afford a more durable

satisfaction than the constantly

cultivated appreciation of this this is

the end of all science cause-and-effect

are to be found everywhere rents went up

in Shepherds Bush it was painful and

shocking that rents should go up in

Shepherds Bush but to a certain point we

are all scientific students of

cause-and-effect and there was not a

clerk lunching at a Lyons restaurant who

did not scientifically put two and two

together and see in the once twopenny

tube the cause of an excessive demand

for wigwams in Shepherds Bush and in the

excessive demand for wigwams the cause

of the increase in the price of wigwams

simple you say disdainfully everything

the whole complex movement of the

universe is as simple as that when you

can sufficiently put two and two

together and my dear sir perhaps you

happen to be an estate agents clerk and

you hate the arts and you want to foster

your immortal soul and you can't be

interested in your business because it's

so humdrum nothing is humdrum the

tremendous changeful picturesqueness of

life is marvelously shown in an estate

agents office what there was a block of

traffic in Oxford Street to avoid the

block people actually began to travel

under the sellers and drains and the

result was a rise of rents in Shepherds

Bush and you say that isn't picturesque

suppose you were to study in this spirit

the property question in London for an

hour and a half every other evening

would it not give zest to your business

and transform your whole life you would

arrive at more difficult problems and

you would be able to tell us why as the

natural result of cause and effect the

longest straight street in London is

about a yard and a half and length while

the longest absolutely straight straight

in Paris extends for miles I think you

will admit that in an estate agents

Clerk I have not chosen an example that

specially favors my theories you are a

bank clerk and you have not read that

breathless romance disguised as a

scientific study

Walter beg Hots Lombard Street ah my

dear sir if you have begun with that and

followed it up for 90 minutes every

other evening how enthralling your

business would be to you and how much

more clearly you would understand human

nature you are penned in town but you

love excursions in the country and the

observation of wildlife certainly a hard

enlarging diversion why don't you walk

out of your house door in your slippers

to the nearest gas lamp of a night with

a butterfly net and observe the wildlife

of common and rare moths that is beating

about it and coordinate the knowledge

thus obtained and build a superstructure

on it and at last get to know something

about something you need not be devoted

to the arts not to literature in order

to live fully the whole field of daily

habit and scene is waiting to satisfy

that curiosity which means life and the

satisfaction of which means an

understanding heart I promised to deal

with your case

oh man who hates art and literature and

I have dealt with it I now come to the

case of the person happily very common

who does like reading end of chapter

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recording is by mark smith of

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chapter eleven serious reading novels

are excluded from serious reading so

that the man who bent on self

improvement has been deciding to devote

ninety minutes three times a week to a

complete study of the works of Charles

Dickens would be well-advised to alter

his plans the reason is not that novels

are not serious some of the great

literature the world is in the form of

prose fiction the reason is that bad

novels ought not to be read and the good

novels never demand any appreciable

mental application on the part of the

reader it is only the bad parts of

Meredith's novels that are difficult a

good novel rushes you forward like a

skiff down a stream and you arrive at

the end perhaps breathless but

unexhausted the best novels involve the

least strain now in the cultivation of

the mind one of the most important

factors is precisely the feeling of

strain of difficulty of a task which one

part of you is anxious to achieve and

another part of you is anxious to shirk

and that feeling cannot be God in facing

a novel you do not set your teeth in

order to read Anna Karenina therefore

though you should read novels you should

not read them in those 19 minutes

imaginative poetry produces a far

greater mental strain than novels it

produces probably the severus strain of

any form of literature it is the highest

form of literature it yields the highest

form of pleasure and teaches the highest

form of wisdom

in a word there is nothing to compare

with it

I say this with sad consciousness of the

fact that the majority of people do not

read poetry I am persuaded that many

excellent persons if they were

confronted with the alternatives of

reading Paradise Lost and going round

Trafalgar Square at noonday on their

knees in sackcloth would choose the

ordeal of public ridicule still I will

never cease advising my friends and

enemies to read poetry before anything

if poetry is what is called a sealed

book to you begin by reading Hazlitt's

famous essay on the nature of poetry in

general it is the best thing of its kind

in English and no one who has read it

can possibly be under the

misapprehension that poetry is a

medieval torture or a mad elephant or a

gun that will go off by itself and kill

at 40 paces indeed it is difficult to

imagine the mental state of the man who

after reading Hazlitt's essay is not

urgently desirous of reading some poetry

before his next meal if the essay so

inspires you I would suggest that you

make a commencement with purely

narrative poetry there is an infinitely

finer English novel written by a woman

than anything by George Eliot or the

Bronte's or even Jane Austen which

perhaps you have not read its title is

Aurora Lee and its author EB Browning it

happens to be written in verse and to

contain a considerable amount of

genuinely fine poetry decide to read

that book through even if you die for it

forget that it is fine poetry read it

simply for the story and the social

ideas and when you have done ask

yourself honestly whether you still

dislike poetry I have known more than

one person to whom Aurora Lee has been

the means of proving that in assuming

they hated poetry they were entirely


of course if after hazlit and such an

experiment made in the light of hazlit

you are finally assured that there is

something in you which is antagonistic

to poetry you must be content with

history or philosophy

I shall regret it yet not inconsolably

the decline in fall is not to be named

in the same day with Paradise Lost but

it is a vastly pretty thing and herbert

spencer's first principles simply laughs

at the claims of poetry and refuses to

be accepted as aught but the most

majestic product of any human mind I do

not suggest that either of these works

is suitable for a tyro in mental strains

but I see no reason why any man of

average intelligence should not after a

year of continuous reading be fit to

assault the supreme masterpieces of

history or philosophy the great

convenience of masterpieces is that they

are so astonishingly lucid I suggest no

particular work as a start the attempt

would be futile in the space of my

command but I have two general

suggestions of a certain importance the

first is to define the direction and

scope of your efforts choose a limited

period or a limited subject or a single

author say to yourself I will know

something about the French Revolution or

the rise of Railways or the works of

John Keats and during a given period to

be settled beforehand confine yourself

to your choice there is much pleasure to

be derived from being a specialist the

second suggestion is to think as well as

to read I know people who read and read

and for all the good it does them they

might just as well cut bread-and-butter

they take to reading as better man take

to drink they fly through the Shires of

literature on a motor car there is sole

object being motion

they will tell you how many books they

have read in a year unless you give at

least 45 minutes to careful fatiguing

reflection it is an awful bore at first

upon what you are reading you're 90

minutes of a night are chiefly wasted

this means that your pace will be slow

never mind forget the goal think only of

the surrounding country and after a

period perhaps when you least expect it

you will suddenly find yourself in a

lovely town on a hill and a chapter

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simpsonville south carolina how to live

on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

chapter 12 dangers to avoid I cannot

terminate these hints often I fear too

didactic and abrupt upon the full use of

one's time to the great end of living as

distinguished from vegetating without

briefly referring to certain dangers

which lie in wait for the sincere

aspirant towards life the first is the

terrible danger of becoming that most

odious and least supportable of persons

a prig now a prig is a pert fellow who

gives himself airs of superior wisdom a

prig is a pompous fool who has gone out

for a ceremonial walk and without

knowing it has lost an important part of

his attire namely his sense of humor a

prig is a tedious individual who having

made a discovery is so impressed by his

discovery that he is capable of being

gravely displeased because the entire

world is not also impressed by it

unconsciously to become a prig is an

easy and a fatal thing hence when one

sets forth on the enterprise of using

all one's time it is just as well to

remember that one's own time and not

other people's time is the material with

which one has to deal that the earth

rolled on pretty comfortably before one

began to balance a budget of the hours

and that it will continue to roll on

pretty comfortably whether or not one

succeeds in one's new role of Chancellor

of the Exchequer of time

it is as well not to chatter too much

about what one is doing and not to

betray a to pain sadness at the

spectacle of a whole world deliberately

wasting so many hours out of every day

and therefore never really living it

will be found ultimately that in taking

care of ones itself one has quite all

one can do another danger is the danger

of being tied to a program like a slave

to a chariot once program must not be

allowed to run away with one it must be

respected but it must not be worshipped

as a fetish a program of daily employ is

not a religion this seems obvious yet I

know men whose lives are a burden to

themselves and a distressing burden to

their relatives and friends simply

because they have failed to appreciate

the obvious oh no I have heard the

martyred wife exclaim Arthur always

takes the dog out for exercise at 8 o

clock and he always begins to read at a

quarter to nine so it's quite out of the

question that we should etc etc and the

note of absolute finality and that

plaintive voice reveals the unsuspected

and ridiculous

tragedy of a career on the other hand a

program is a program and unless it is

treated with deference it ceases to be

anything but a poor joke to treat once

program with exactly the right amount of

deference to live with not too much and

not too little elasticity is scarcely

the simple affair it may appear to the

inexperienced and still another danger

is the danger of developing a policy of

rush of being gradually more and more

obsessed by what one has to do next in

this way one may come to exist as in a

prison and one's life may cease to be

one's own

one may take the dog out for a walk at 8

o'clock and meditate the whole time on

the fact that one must begin to read at

a quarter to nine and that one must not

be late and the occasional deliberate

breaking of one's program will not help

to mend matters

the evil Springs not from persisting

without elasticity and what one has

attempted but from originally attempting

too much from filling ones program till

it runs over the only cure is to

reconstitute the program and to attempt

less but the appetite for knowledge

grows by what it feeds on and there are

men who come to like us constant

breathless hurry of endeavor of them it

may be said that a constant breathless

hurry is better than an eternal doze in

any case if the programme exhibits a

tendency to be oppressive and yet one

wishes not to modify it an excellent

palliative is to pass with exaggerated

deliberation from one portion of it to

another for example to spend five

minutes in perfect mental acquiescence

between chaining up the st. Bernard and

opening the book in other words to waste

five minutes with the entire

consciousness of wasting them the last

and chiefest danger which I would

indicate is one to which I have already

referred the risk of a failure at the

commencement of the enterprise I must

insist on it a failure at the

commencement may easily kill outright

the new-born impulse towards a complete

vitality and therefore every precaution

should be observed to avoid it the

impulse must not be overtaxed let the

pace of the first lap be absurdly slow

but let it be as regular as possible and

having once decided to achieve a certain

task achieve it at all costs of tedium

and distaste

the gain and self-confidence of having

accomplished a tiresome labor is immense

finally in choosing the first

occupations of those evening hours be

guided by nothing whatever but your

taste and natural inclination it is a

fine thing to be a walking encyclopedia

of philosophy but if you happen to have

no liking for philosophy and to have a

like for the natural history of street

cries much better Lee philosophy alone

and take to street cries

end of chapter end of book thank you for