How to Live on 24 Hours a Day (FULL Audiobook)

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preface of how to live on 24 hours a day

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to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold

Bennett preface this preface though

placed at the beginning as a preface

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 for a volunteer 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 been put

forward I might almost have been

persuaded that the volume was flawless a

more serious structure has however been

offered not in the press but by sundry

obviously sincere correspondence 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 that 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 HP

close quote I am assured in accents of

unmistakable sincerity that there are

many businessmen not merely those in

high positions are with foreign

prospects but modest subordinates with

no hope of ever being much better

who do enjoy their business functions

who do not shirk them who do not arrive

at the office as late as possible and

depart as early as possible who in a

word put 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 that

not escaped me that a certain proportion

of my peers showed 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 remain

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

Varna main 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 interests 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 so the

whole difficulty of the hard-working

minority was put in a single colloquial

sentence by one of my correspondents he

wrote quote 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

close quote now I must point out that

case of the minority who throw

themselves with passion and gussto 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 eight hours they are really


their engines are giving the full

indicated HP the other eight working

hours of their day may be badly

organised or even frittered away but it

is less dangerous 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 spaced to

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 but 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 have 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


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

to 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 other man's though a slight

accumulation of fatigue may prevent you

from employing the whole of your HP upon


their 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 in 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

overnight to do so would have set 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 consequence is

insufficiency of sleep you will soon

find a way of going to bed earlier but

my impression is that the consequence 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 end 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

powerfully 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 inhabited

by 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 9 out

of 10 men 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 to

evening hours but you 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 or the saucepan the lid but

turned the wrong way up on the reversed

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 would not

seem trivial

the proper wise balancing of one's whole

life may depend upon the feasibility of

a cup of tea at an unusual hour end of

preface of how to live on 24 hours a day

by Arnold Bennett this LibriVox

recording is in the public domain

chapter one the daily miracle yes he's

one of those men that don't know how to

manage good situation a 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's had the brokers in new suit

the old hat magnificent necktie baggy

trousers asks 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 in such as some and these articles

provoke a correspondence whose 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 usually

but though you have the wealth of a

cloakroom attendant at the Carlton Hotel

you cannot buy yourself a minute more

time than I have or the cat by the fire

has philosophers have explained 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 at a fair genuinely

astonishing when one examines it you

wake up in the morning and lower your

purse is magically filled with 24 hours

of the unmanufactured 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 remarked 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 you're

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


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 you I said the

affair was a miracle is it not you have

to live on 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 clutching for my friends depends

on that strange that the newspaper is so

Enterprise seeing an 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 a thing there is it

encumbers the earth in 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 muddle one's life

because one can't quite manage on a

thousand pounds a year one braces the

muscles and makes it guineas and

balances the budget but if one cannot

arrange that an income of 24 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 24 hours a day and

what I say lives I do not mean exists

nor muddled

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 but 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 one

of how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett this LibriVox recording

is in the public domain chapter 2 the

desire to exceed ones program but some

one may remark with the English

disregard of everything except at the

point what is he driving at with his 24

hours a day I have no difficulty in

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 please come forward 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 are 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 the

fact 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


we go to the theater and laugh but

between the acts it raises a skinny

finger at us we rushed violently for the

last train and while we are cooling a

long age on the platform waiting for the

last train it promenade sits bones up

and down by our side and in choirs oh


what has mm with my youth what are

thoooose I neg you may urge that this

feeling of continuous looking forward of

aspiration is a 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 ports aid 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 LUT gate

circus and inquired from cooks the price

of a conducted tour and our excuse to

ourselves is that there are only 24

hours in a 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 obligated to do we

are obliged by various codes written and


written 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 skills 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 back waters 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 feel 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

slacking 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 end of

chapter 2

yup how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett this LibriVox recording

is in the public domain Chapter three

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 never will 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 unfitting way of

doing but 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 that one may live fully

and comfortably within

a daily budget of 24 hours it's the calm

realization of the extreme difficulty of

the task of the sacrifices and the

endless effort which it demands

I cannot too 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 disillusions 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 embrace

for the battle a song that I have

carefully weighed and comprehend your

ponderous remarks how do I begin

dear sir you simply begin there is no

magic method of beginning if a man

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 as

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 in waiting till next


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

order order in well-doing

is a misleading and a treacherous thing

it cries out loudly for employment you

can't satisfy it at first it once more

and more it is eager to move mountains

and divert the course of rivers it is in

contempt till it perspires

and then too often when it feels the

preparation on its brow it we're ease

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 feels like failure most

people who are ruined or 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


a success that is not petty so let us

begin to examine the budget of a day's

time you say your day is already full to

overflowing how you actually spend in

earning your livelihood

how much seven hours on the average and

in actual sleep seven I will add two

hours and be generous and I will defy

you to account to me on the spur of the

moment for the other eight hours end of

chapter 3

live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

this LibriVox recording is in the public

domain chapter 4 because of the troubles

in order to come to grips at once with

the 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 have got as near

to the average as 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 HP I know that I shall be

accused by angry readers of troduce eing

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

and 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 odd 16 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 formally 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

absolute feverish zest

how can he hope to live fully and

completely 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 estate upon what his executor 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 eight one of the chief things

which my typical man has to learn is

that the mental faculties are capable of

a continuous hard 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 sixteen

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 which

I shall have cleared as a settler clear

spaces in a forest injustice to him I

must say but he wastes very little time

before he leaves the house in the

morning at 9:10 in too many houses he

gets up at 9:00 breakfast is between

nine seven and nine nine and a half and

then bolts but immediately he banks 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 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 change for it and in getting

change he is content to lose heavily

supposing that in selling him a ticket

the company said we will charge you a

sovereign but we will charge you three

halfpence for doing so

what would my typical man exclaim yes

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 mine you sure I am and later on I

will justify myself now will you kindly

buy your paper and step into the Train

end of chapter four

how to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold

Bennett this LibriVox recording is in

the public domain 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 on the

advertisements of shipping and a 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'm obliged to mention this personal

fact lest I should be accused of a

prejudice against newspapers when I say

that I object to the reading of

newspapers in the morning train

newspapers are produced with rapidity to

be read with rapidity there was no place

in my daily program for newspapers I

read them as I may in odds 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

then 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 are not a

Shah of time let me respectfully remind

you that you have no more time than I

have no newspaper reading and 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

your 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


you see friends you putter you play

cards you flirt with a book you note

that old age is creeping on you take a

stroll you caress the piano by Jove a

quarter past eleven you then devote

quite forty 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 justice oh but

when you arrange to go to the theatre

especially with a pretty woman what

happens you rushed to the suburbs you

spare no

toil to make yourself glorious in 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


you take yourself home you don't spend

three quarters of an hour in thinking

about it 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 chorus 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 an

evening tide 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 a commencement employ

an hour and they have 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

forty-five hours between 2 p.m. Saturday

and 10 a.m. Monday if you persevere you

will soon want to pass for evenings and

perhaps 5 in some sustained endeavour to

be genuinely alive and you will fall out

of the

habit of muttering to yourself at 11:15

p.m. time to be thinking about going to


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

old chap but I have to run off to the

Tennis Club you must say but I have to

work this I admit is intensely difficult

to say tennis is so much more urgent

than the immortal soul end of chapter 5

six of how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett this LibriVox recording

is in the public domain Chapter six

remember human nature I have

incidentally mentioned the vast expanse

of forty-four 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

6 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 that

out of seven and it is certainly true

that now with one day in 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 at 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 time extra 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 proposed to be

content with that seven hours and a half

for 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 868

are you going to perform a miracle with

your seven hours and a half well not two

men semadar I am if you will kindly let

me that is to say I'm going to ask you

to attempt and experience which while

perfectly natural and explicable as all

the air of a miracle my contention is

that the full use of those seven and a

half hours will quicken the whole life

of the week add 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 stress 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 essay it to clear even seven

hours and a half from the jungle is

passably difficult for some sacrifice

has to be made one may have spent one's

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's

self respect hence I iterate and

reiterate start quietly unintentionally

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

half 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 6

to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold

Bennett this LibriVox recording is in

the public domain chapter seven

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 the 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 a lack of power to

concentrate not witting 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 face

you employ a whole army of individuals

from the milkman to the pig to killer to

enable you to bribe your stomach into

decent behavior why not devote a little

attention to the for 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 am I to cultivate my mind in the

street on the platform in the train and

in the crowded street again precisely

nothing simpler no tools required not a

in 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

Larkin round 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

remember that morning when you receive 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

roused 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 Terran eyes 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 get into your morning train

with a pair of dumbbells for your

muscles or and encyclopaedia in ten

volumes for your learning you would

probably excite remarked 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

I do not care what you concentrate on so

long as you concentrate it is the mayor

disciplining of the thinking machine

that counts but still you may as well

kill two birds with one stone

and to 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 hey dere is

suppose and nonsense then marcus

aurelius or epictetus read a chapter and

so short they are the chapters in the

evening and concentrate 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 in 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 very man 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 chapter 7


to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold

Bennett this LibriVox recording is in

the public domain 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 one's complex

organism one has naturally to put it to

the yoke useless to possess an obedient

mind unless one profits in the farthest

possible degree by its obedience a

prolonged primary course of study is

indicated now as to what this course of

study should be there 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've blushed to write them

yet they must be written for they need

to be written I take back my blush being

ashamed of it men 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

average well-intentioned man of today is

the reflective mood we do not reflect I

mean that we do not reflect upon

genuinely important things 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

us 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 does not fairly well accord with

principles is a silly life and that

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 a reason which

makes conduct and is not unconnected

with the making of principles it plays a


or apart 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

reasonable we shall be the next time you

get cross with the waiter because your

steak is overcooked ask a 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 has no control over the cooking of

the steak and that even if he alone was

to blame you accomplished nothing good

by getting cross you merely lost your

dignity looked a 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 freshest take 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 certain even more widely known

works will occur at once to the memory I

may also mention Pascal Liguria and

Emerson for myself you do not catch me

travelling without my Marcus Aurelius

but reading a books will not take the

place of a daily candid honest

examination of what one has recently

done and what one is about to do of a

study looking at oneself in the face

disconcerting though the site may be

when shall this important business be

accomplished the solitude of the evening

journey home appears to me to be

suitable for

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 at some

time of the day you must I now come

through the evening hours end of chapter


of how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett

this LibriVox recording is in the public


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 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 of 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 trading 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

were 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 influences 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

making nificent 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


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 has thrilled you it will thrill you

again you have even talked about it in

an expansive 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 mister equivalent 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 confuse

to mass the orchestra would appear to

you as what it is a marvelously balanced

organism whose various groups of members

each have a different end and

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 Haute boy gets

higher wages than a fiddler though the

fiddle is the more difficult instrument

you would live at a promenade concert

whereas previously you had merely

existed there in a state of beatific

coma 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 sturgis's how

to judge architecture as beginnings

merely 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 literature

end of chapter 9 of how to live on 24

hours a day by Arnold Bennett this

LibriVox recording is in the public

domain 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 has 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 he can witness

in August for three shillings

third-class returned the man who is

imbued with the idea of development of

continuous cause and effect perceives in

the sea and 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 he 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 it 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 rinses 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 lions restaurant who

did not scientifically put two and two


and see in the once twopenny tube the

cause of an excessive demand for wigwams

in Shepherds Bush and 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

reigns 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 lift while

the longest absolutely straight Street

in Paris extends for miles I think you

will admit that in an estate agents

Clerk I have not chosen an example that

especially favours my theories you are a

bank clerk and you have not read that

breathless romance disguised as a

scientific study Walter

Beckett's Lombard Street DA My dear sir

if you had 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

pinned in town but you love excursions

to 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 o man who hates art and


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 10

even of how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett this LibriVox recording

is in the public domain

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 will be well advised to alter

his plans the reason is not that novels

are not serious some of the great

literature of the world is in the form

of prose fiction the reason is that bad

novels ought not to be read and that

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 on a Karenina therefore

though you should read novels you should

not read them in those 90 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


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 the if the 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 it's

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

that 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 is 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

mistaken 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 in


stick to poetry you must be content with

history or philosophy

I shall regret it yet not inconsolably

the decline and 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 ought but the most

majestic product of any human mind I do

not suggest that either of these works

is suitable for a trial 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 of 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

railroads are 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


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 men take to

drink they fly through the Shires of

literature on a motor car their 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

first up on what you are reading you're

19 minutes of a night are chiefly wasted

this means that your pace will be slow

never mind forget the goal think only of

a surrounding country and after a period

perhaps when you least expect it you

will suddenly find yourself in a lovely

town on a hill end of chapter 11

twelve of how to live on 24 hours a day

by Arnold Bennett this LibriVox

recording is in the public domain

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 the most

odious and least supportable of persons

a prig now a prig is a portaloo 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 paint

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 oneself 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 it distressing burden to

their relatives and friends simply

because they have failed to appreciate

the obvious oh no I have heard the

martyrs 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 in 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 ones 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 eight 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 in what one has

attempted but from originally attempting

too much from filling once program cell

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 a constant

breathless hurry of endeavor of them it

may be said that a constant breathless

re is better than any ternal 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

deliberateness from one portion of it to

another for example to spend five

minutes in perfect mental quiescence

between chaining up the st. Bernard and

opening the Booker 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 it may easily kill outright

the new-born impulse toward 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 even 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 is

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

but if you happen to have no liking for

philosophy and to have a like for the

natural history of street cries much

better leave philosophy alone and take

to street cries into Chapter twelve end

of how to live on 24 hours a day by

Arnold Bennett this book recorded by

Phil Chenevert