How to Live on 24 Hours a Day Review
The title isn't as long as I thought it would be.
Why I read it:
Oh baby, the format is back. After the Bioshock Infinite review I thought I had gotten too creative for a job in the arts, though having watched a Bojack Horseman episode which could have been used in a textbook of "How to be in a Job in the Arts Without Getting too Creative", so I'm glad that my job in the arts does not require creativity. What was I on about?
Right, the book. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day is a book about how to live on twenty-four hours a day. Hold the fucking phone, next you're going to tell me that "How to be in a Job in the Arts Without Getting too Creative" is about how to be in a job in the arts without getting too creative. Actually it's a book about networking and social etiquette, but my comparison of indicative titles still stands. Not because the title is indicative, though it is and it isn't in the same way a rainbow is both red and blue and some other colours, but because it does what the title supposedly does what it says it does and also does some other things, too. Anyway, sentences like this is why I don't write first thing in the morning.
As to why I read it, eh? Any well-respected man, or "woman", to satisfy my required female pronoun quota, knows that their time is one of the most valuable things that they have, and that it loses all of its value whenever it is wasted. It is valuable when they use it to spend time with other people, because to spend your finite life in the company of somebody you enjoy very much shows that they care about you enough to slowly die with you. It is valuable when you use it to do good work, because then you are taking time out of your life in order to benefit others, and this is one of the most selfless and honourable things you can do. It is valuable when you spend it doing what you most want to do in life, and it loses its value when you slave away with what you hate.
Time is the great equaliser between each and everybody on Earth. Everybody, rich or poor, of all races and beliefs, have the same amount of time to do something with their lives, and the same means to spend it with. While the acquisition of wealth and social status means that you can use your time to greatly expedite the process of doing good with yourself, all the opportunity in the world won't stop you from being forgotten by time if you don't use it well. And if you waste this limited amount of time that other people have by showing up late for appointments, making excuses as to why you didn't do what you said you would, and by making worthless conversation and social events for people who have better things to do, then you have shown yourself as somebody who does not appreciate not only their life, but life in general, as to waste it on petty things shows a lack of respect for it.
If you've already read this book (not bloody likely), then you'll notice I'm cribbing some ideas from it. While this is true, this wasn't my first foray into learning about how important time is, and how to make the most of it. I've already learned a great deal about this subject from Art of Manliness, most of which from A Man Is Punctual: The Importance of Being on Time. The title is as bland as corn wheats, but given that I'm a man who, and you know this if you've read any of my reviews, doesn't fuck with any old random trash that I pick up off the street, you know that if I'm recommending it then it's an article damn worth reading.
There is actually a quote from the book in that article, and one of the more important quotes, though rarely has anybody ever went out and decided to spend the next few hours of their life reading something based on a quote they spent ten seconds reading. It was instead the "How to Live on 24 Hours a Day" article, which contains a full copy of this public domain book, that caused me to read it. Granted, I read it during a not too interesting lecture about violence in the Middle East, so the ideas barely registered with me.
Now I'm revisiting the ideas, and talking about how solid the dick can be, as opposed to the literal solid dick which I spent
15 minutes an hour two hours fawning over while taking a break from this article. Well, how solid can the dick be? Simply join bangbros.com read the article to find out, even though if you've read this far, you are probably already inclined to read the article, so as to why I'm suggesting that you do this late into the review is like trying to sell you paint after you decked out your house in rainbow colours, like that Russian billionaire who decked out his house in rainbow colours, or my mom.
How it works:
Remember when self-help books weren't a pile of dopamine-addled paper-bound feel-goods trying to teach you magic bullets on how to live your life? Remember when we had books that were meant to be digested and not just skimmed through as you try to find that One Weird Trick that will cause your life to suddenly turn around and be extraordinary? If you're ninety years old, maybe, but otherwise unlikely. I think it's said wonders about the downfall of our culture when we produce books that are not meant to be read, but instead meant to be recommended to a populace who will pump and dump it without understanding the ideas within. They might read the headlines, but not the content, which incidentally is why Buzzfeed is more popular than Polio.
The author doesn't give you any Dr. Oz philosophy that will teach you the secret vegan technique to stop stomach cramps, nor the bundled iPhone app that will help you on your way to beat stomach cramps once and for all. It instead gives you the same as all good books should: a good solid dicking, and by which I mean, good solid dick. Solid dick means advice. Yes, I got the phrase from a poorly-edited Tumblr post, but I'm bringing it back. Remember how some blogger made Santorum a thing? Or pegging? Yeah, I'm doing the same for solid dick. Spread my legacy far and wide - it worked for Jesus, and he spread more shit than I.
He doesn't waste any time in stating the limits of his techniques, showing that managing ones time is both difficult and arduous, and that the whole body will revolt against the idea because it's not used to it. He then goes on to say that the ability to master command of ones own life, and the same twenty-four hours a day that everybody else has, is worth it in order to become a more learned, self-reliant, and well-rounded man than somebody who settles for the cheap and easy, easily-digestible life of going to work, reading the newspaper (which is the 1910 version of watching television), and falling asleep, waiting until you cease to be. He advocates above all else the pursuit of knowledge which is relevant to you, and advocates appreciating the beauty of the world as it is and as it relates to you.
What the man fails to mention is that, for all his pursuit of knowledge, is the reason why we should learn things. So let's ask the question: why do we learn things? We could say that we learn things in order to know things, but that's cyclical. I instead submit that we learn in order to use what we learn. If we know things but never use them, then that knowledge is wasted. If we learn things without the intent to use them, then the effort is wasted. All knowledge must be known for an endgoal - whether it's as simple as sharing the knowledge, it must have a goal to justify its existence.
This may seem like an anti-intellectual stance, especially in a world as anti-intellectual as this one (though I wonder how bad the human condition will be in the future), though I ensure you that I am not anti-intellectual, as demonstrated by my dozens of articles devoted specifically to making you smarter. But, I don't write these just to be heard. I write everything with a purpose. I write things for two chief reasons: one, that you will make great things with your life, and that my work will inspire you to make things greater than what others make, and two, you will not be manipulated by other people into accepting a worse standard of living, nor become a person who settles for causing other people to adopt a worse standard of living.
These are both very practical points. I want to prevent ignorance, because ignorance is the first step to becoming a worthless person, because not knowing about all the bad stuff in the world means that you won't do anything to stop that bad stuff. I want you to make things, so that you can emotionally impact other people the same way as I have been impacted, and how I want to impact, so that you increase the quality of life for somebody else in an altruistic matter. I want you to use what you have to help other people use what they have, and the point of this is to, in simple terms, make the world a better place.
Yes, it's a lofty goal, but it's a small world, and you're a pretty big person to even consider it. Appropriate for the focus of this work, which is not just a pamphlet on how to better manage your time, but a guideline on how to live your life in a way where you make the most out of every day. He suggests above all else that you not simply exist through life, but to live it, in all its opportunities and affordances. Too many people exist and then die and do nothing for themselves, and since they do nothing for themselves, do nothing for the benefit of others. This work aims to fix that.
The book is short, but I'll make the techniques shorter: find joy in your career, appreciate your leisure time, never let your mind slack off, understand the science in your daily life, read books that teach you good things, reflect intently on those books, and devote a small time of your day to doing something that improves you personally. I understand these points, as they are, are unconvincing, and I don't expect you to devote your life to doing what I say because of a few bytes. It is instead in the way these points are written that make them compelling, and made a hard-hearted man like me take a look at myself.
Arnold Bennett, who you would know as the author of this book if I had told you earlier, is a very persuasive talker. I understand, or rather Wikipedia tells me, that he pissed off his fellow authors by going against what is fashionable and talking like a 19th century horse salesman. The complaints of these modernists led us to people like Hemingway, who writes like Drake raps - bored bored bored bored bored and so on. It only took Hemingway to kick start the revolution and show him how modernism was really done, which is why we now have prose that is simulatenously brilliant as it is sparse, and one which I ape for my own writings, blushing like a schoolgirl as I say that.
His writing isn't dense - but sometimes it is clunky, having sentences that run on too long or words that could have been replaced by shorter ones. He kills similies, fucks metaphors, and marries adjectives, choosing instead to showcase a lot of practical, real-world examples as opposed to the theoretical ones, like a doctor providing structure by shoving a steel rod down a quadriplegic's back, providing the motivation for you to kill your daughter with a carbon monoxide overdose (ask your Canadian parents). Each paragraph showcases some point he wants to talk about, and so he talks about them, each one leading into each other naturally - a basic and yet very effective technique. But this is all the how it's written, and not how it impacts you.
What I felt:
This is how it impacts you.
While I have expressed what the book is about, tangibly, I haven't expressed how it affected me. While there are certainly books out there that have changed my life, just by virtue of reading all the information contained within and then finding it so brilliant I have to apply it to my own, I have yet to see if this book that falls under that special category of life-altering media. Life changing, as in altering the entire philosophy that somebody lives by. While I consider works that are emotionally impactful to be very good works, even great ones, the ones that cause me to rethink what I do on a daily basis, the ones that I want to go back and truly understand, are the ones that change me the most.
Each chapter provides a lot of exceptionally good ideas about why you should manage your time in order to manage your life so you can be a full person and not waste the opportunity you have to make an impact on the world and on your person. It's an optimistic book, and one made by somebody who I agree has a sincere compassion for humanity. It makes a lot of points on both the emotional and logical level, creating a work that anybody can get into, especially given the brilliance of some of the quotes you can pull from the book. That said, there are some problems.
While Arnold Bennett isn't a modernist, I would have liked it if he had at least taken some pointers from them and simplified some of his sentences. His overuse of prepositions and filler words that you place into sentences like nuts on ice cream causes a great deal of mental strain trying to read through his book. It's like what I said in Bioshock Infinite (a game which the author would shit himself if he saw today): too much detail being put into the graphics means that combat is a chore because you have to constantly decipher what you're looking at. The same principle is here. There are too many words in a lot of places and it's a chore to read because there are too many words.
It's comparable to a politician which talks for hours yet never actually says anything. What's unique in this case, is that the author actually says a hell of a lot, and yet has to write a lot in order to say it, strange for such a short book. It's about thirty pages long, and I bet it could have been twenty-five if somebody gave it a good trimming. "Five pages?" this twat comes along and says. "That's nothing! I could write five pages on a drug trip!". Good for you, lonely stoner, though when you're distributing that five pages worth of garbage among a thirty-page book, you're still reading the same amount, but spread out, leading to an experience that gets passively worse the more you read.
But like I say, the man still has a lot of things to say, and these things will cause you to rethink some portions of your life, if not go out and change the very fundamentals of who you are - unlike something like Subnormality. It's a common trait with old but gold books, like most books in the Great Books of the Western World set, to write a hell of a lot more than they need to, and yet each and every book is excellent in their own way. This leads to the false impression that a book has to be written dense in order to read worthwhile. I think my blog shows that isn't the case, yeah I'm just going to pimp it like it's nothing, because I say a lot of things that other people haven't, and I do my best to make my work clear, even if I end up failing because of how much I like talking.
He advocates a lot of different ideas in what he says, such as reading poetry because of how much it challenges the mind, though I'm still not convinced that a format screw is the best way to deliver ideas, as bad poetry is, in essence, a format screw of prose, and good poetry is so effortlessly made that it might as well be written in prose. Yeah, there are aspects such as performance, rhyme, and presentation that provide some justification for poetry, and I understand why people would appreciate those aspects, though he barely sells the unique aspects of the thing in favour of saying it'll make you smarter, when his own prose has made me much smarter than any poem has - even rap lyrics.
He isn't saying to read poetry because it's a hobby of his - though it seems to be, that touchy pomf him. It's instead as part of his insistence on developing a stronger mental mind as opposed to a physical mind. The implication is that people in the past century focused so much on their physical health that they neglected to take care of their mental health, though given the sad state of our young men and women today, we barely have either. Are you a part of the obese dumbass epidemic? Have you browsed 4chan within the past week? Well, that answers both questions!
Without repeating myself, it does seem like he's advocating things and explaining reasons why you should do those things, though such reasons often fall into subjectives, such as saying that by understanding the economics behind the banking system and the housing market, you will develop an intense appreciation for them that will invigorate you as a person. Speaking as somebody with an understanding of computers, I don't find myself jizzing whenever I'm in front of a tower, even though years of typing have given me hand as seductively soft as a sheep's twat. I do find myself able to diagnose problems with intuitive ease, as well as judging other people's desktops for having more than the maximum allowed number of squares (E.G. zero), though the simple joy of understanding wears off after a few weeks, in exchange for the practicality of knowing things.
All of that said I have still found myself following a lot of his advice, and thinking differently about how I do things in my own life. That isn't much of a quote to put on the back cover, but considering how much garbage we consume that does absolutely nothing for our lives, that's a point to be proud of. Seeing as this book is free and takes only an hour to read, there's no reason for any self-respecting bloke to not read it. Is it essential reading? No, in the same way that learning how to read isn't technically essential. But when it comes to taking command of your own life and being your own person, you can't do better than a book like this.
What I learned:
Sure, it might be a fun staying up until the dead of morning browsing anime, but when you're staying awake the next night trying to do the same, guess whose body suddenly throws a hissy fit and suddenly wants to take a nap? It almost makes you want the cyborg DLC to get bumped up from its 2500 release date.
Although this book has a lot of... solid dick... in it... it should still be expressed that having the knowledge to make changes in your own life and yet failing to implement that knowledge due to your own ineptitude is much worse than not ever having the knowledge at all. In one case, you could claim you were ignorant, and that would be accurate. But in the other, you have every advantage in the world, and throw it all away because you didn't believe it would help you enough to make it worth the effort to implement what you know.
Before somebody gets pissy at me because they're a quadriplegic with a steel rod down their back giving up their dreams of being a marathon runner, I'll apply my general purpose "exceptions exist" asterix to everything I say. Yes, there are reasons beyond your control that stop you from having 100% agency over your own life - mental or physical. The best you can do is what you can given what you own and to use what you own to increase what you can do. I'm sure that won't be printed on a poster due to the Geneva convention banning tortured sentence structure, though it's true.
Keeping alive well alive - Froghand.
Today's page was updated on October 08, 2016!
You're going to kill me? You fool! I'm dying anyway!