This book is a collection of short biographical articles about various creative people, from Maya Angelou to W.B. Yeats. Curry focuses in his essays on his subjects’ work habits and why they allowed them to be creative and productive.

Exhaustively researched, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work contains an excellent bibliography and notes, allowing the reader to delve more intensively into the artists profiled. There are one hundred sixty-six essays on artists from around the world, in every imaginable field of creative endeavor. Curry has managed to find interesting snippets about each.

Curry often quotes biographers so readers can also decide whether that author’s work is worth reading. The biggest surprise for me was no biographer’s work habits were ever examined in this long list of artists, despite the author’s extensive use of the work of these writers.

This book has been helpful to me in my work with adolescent patients. One of the life skills that I want my patients to learn is the habit of producing their own creations. It is very challenging to learn to do this, but listening to or reading the stories of how these well known artists worked has helped these young people consider what would work for them. The diversity of the artists whose working lives are profiled is particularly helpful since my patients are also diverse. It is encouraging for them to hear that people from all backgrounds have become successful artists.

Finally, the best part of How Artists Work is Curry’s own very good writing. His book contains one hundred sixty-six stories about well known creative people, all well-considered and well-written.


(Note: I read the 2013 Knopf edition of this book.)

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