How to Live on 24 Hours a Day Book reviews


Author(s): Arnold BennettDownload  


You have to live on twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. This timeless classic is one of the first self-help books ever written and was a best-seller in both England and America. It remains as useful today as when it was written, and offers fresh and practical advice on how to make the most of the daily miracle of life.

Some Reviews: 699 in

Dan Tasse

Dan Tasse rated it     

This guy is quite a baller. “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)…” “‘I hate all the arts!’ you say. My dear sir, I respect you more and more.” and a lot more badass quotes that I forgot to write down.

But also, he’s an example that proves that this “lifestyle design” or even “time management” stuff wasn’t born yesterday. He’s writing this for the common middle-class you or me, who wishes to “accomplish something outside [his] formal programme.” He points out how, in 1910, a bunch of people went to work, came home, and twiddled away their time, while growing upset that they’re wasting their lives.

His solution, part 1, is to set aside 90 minutes 3x/week and dedicate them to learning in depth about something. Literature if you like (poetry, not novels); other arts if you don’t; or just a sense of in-depth knowledge and wonder in all things. The whole thing smacks of being very English: “Just Try Harder!” But at the same time, there are a lot of Buddhist undertones:
“You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”
“When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a subject (no matter what, to begin with). You will not have gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your very eyes and is larking 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 forty times. Do not despair. Continue.”
“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”
“Let the pace of the first lap be even absurdly slow, but let it be as regular as possible.”

It’s a spot of enlightened jelly wrapped in a doughnut of stiff-upper-lip. Well, better than most Englishness, which doesn’t even have the jelly.

Ina Cawl

Ina Cawl rated it     

In this book, Bennett urges hourly workers to use “spare” time to improve their lives, making the best of their time outside of work. He understands that most people are spending as much time as possible working to make more money, thus disliking their lives. “Time is money” seriously understates this matter, more time can generate more money, but money cannot buy you more time


Tisha rated it      

I thought of the question one day, and lo and behold, such a book exists. I wouldn’t call it a masterpice, but the writing is something I could enjoy and rely on over and over again. It gives some very practical advice, reproaches and warnings when tackling this endeavor that many people come short of achieving all the time–optimally spending one’s time. It’s also very fun for me to glean the norms of the time when this was written.

For those who have not read it, I will start you off with this: think not of how few hours you have in a day and squander it anyway, but think of how much free time you have total in a week and allot maybe blocks every other day to focused self-improvement. He suggests a way to start slow. He warns you of your human nature. And an interesting one he told me, if I am the sort that sincerely enjoys literature and doesn’t just think it a worthy pursuit according to someone else, then I must make time to reflect on the book otherwise I am just consuming words and not digesting the value. I always think there is not enough time to read all the books I want to read so I burn through them, but taking time to fully ponder and discuss them is also part of finishing a book.

Abhijeet Jain

Abhijeet Jain rated it     

Rating: 4.5/5

When I started reading this book, I had no idea about it being hundred years old!

At the start, I felt that the tone of the writer is far different than what I am used to reading, after few pages I started loving the book, only after which I googled about it!

As the name says, the book teaches you how to live with satisfaction. It talks about your daily life & points towards the wrongs being done by you.

I have read several self-help books, most of them share more or less the same ideas, but this book is original, It made me ponder over my lifestyle, It told me things I never thought about.

I loved the way author communicated with the readers.

This book is quite short too, I recommend everyone to read it!


Below are my favourite quotes from the book

You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it, you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul.

We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.

Beware of undertaking too much at the start. Be content with quite a little. Allow for accidents. Allow for human nature, especially your own.


Speranza rated it      

This book is not amazing, in fact the advice it offers is often outdated and not even applicable in a world where work, study, fun and even love evolve online. What was amazing, however, was the deep sense of comfort and understanding it gave me. I simply love Bennett in a strange, religious kind of way. He sounds so soothing and wise to me, I could follow him to the end of the world and never doubt a word of his. Or maybe it is just that he somehow manages to articulate many things I feel inside. Like this one for example:

‘Imaginative poetry produces a far greater mental strain than novels. It produces probably the severest strain of any form of literature. It is the highest form of literature. It yields the highest form of pleasure, and teaches the highest form of wisdom. In a word, there is nothing to compare with it. I say this with sad consciousness of the fact that the majority of people do not read poetry.’


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