“For as the carpenter’s material is wood, and that of the statuary is copper, so the matter of the art of living is each man’s life.” — from The Golden Sayings of Epictetus

When looking for that productive or creative edge it can be helpful to cast your gaze backward. Reading biographies and autobiographies can be a great way to find the insight you need to generate the motivation you need to complete a project, tweak your own workflow, or develop the habits that will help you do great work.

In addition to reading biographies (the autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin or Charles Darwin are good, and free, places to start), sites like The Paris Review (interviews with artists and writers), Writers on Process (interviews with songwriters), and Getting History Done can provide convenient packages of inspiration.

Your specific work or job may be relatively new but the raw habits, routines, and best practices have been developed by remarkable people for generations. Tap into history for a new level of success.

  • A Corresponder

    The Paris Review is a regular source of inspirations, insights and humor. I cannot recommend those author interviews enough.A

  • Melissa Paulik

    Harlow Giles Unger writes some great bios of the founding fathers. I finished his bio on John Hancock recently. A fascinating look at a man who was the ultimate businessman of his time in addition to being a (sometimes reluctant) patriot.

    • http://twitter.com/samspurlin Sam Spurlin

      I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for the rec!

  • http://twitter.com/samspurlin Sam Spurlin

    By the same token that makes me even more mindful about how I conduct myself online. I’d prefer if people who checked me out were impressed (or at least not repulsed) by who I am.

  • leeann love


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