Sunday, September 30, 2007

Review: How to live on 24 hours a day by Arnold Bennett

I listened to the audio book "How to live on 24 hours a day" by Arnold Bennett. You can get it in text or audio form at

It is a short and sweet book about how we can make better use of our time in living our lives instead of just existing. The author indicates a lot of suggestions to help us use just a little bit of our time to actually create the lives that we would be happy with and enjoy living it. He makes it clear that there is no magic way to improve our lives but through proper use of our time which is given in the same amount i.e 24 hours whether to the king or to the beggar or to the cat by the fire.

The book consists of the following 12 chapters:

1. Preface
Here the author mentions how people value money more than time though money can be earned in more quantities but time cannot. So time is more precious than money. Also every being gets the same amount of time. No one gets it more or less. There are just 24 hours everyday and it is up to us to use them. Time does not give loans, not does it give credit. People are not punished for wasting time and their purse of time gets full everyday. They have all the time they want starting from now.

2. Precautions Before Beginning
This chapter warns that the things to be done for better utilization of time is nothing magical but sensible. There is no shortcut way and the way to improve ourself will cause us to change our regular habits for which we get uncomfortable and will have to work hard.

3. The Desire to Exceed One's Programme
This chapter states that there are people who already live their lives well whether at home or at work or both. And there are others who are suffering boredom and dissatisfaction with their time at work and due to that they also suffer in their time at home. This book intends to help people improve the quality of their lives no matter in what position they are right now.

4. The Cause of the Troubles
The author takes the case of an average working person to see how he/she spends one day of his/her life starting from morning, going to work, coming back home and sleeping.

5. Tennis and the Immortal Soul
Here is mentioned that we need to spend time not only on the activities that we enjoy like meeting friends, movies, etc but we should also spend some time on gaining knowledge to improve our lives over what it is right now.

6. Remember Human Nature
But the author also tells to keep our options open and allow for human nature. We should have strictness in our studying of our lives but we should also be open for dynamism in our lives as and where they occur for we are human.

7. Controlling the Human Mind
The starting step is to achieve mastery over concentration. For this, the author mentions that we can use our time while travelling to improve our concentration. This can be done by choosing a subject that interests us and thinking about it as much time as possible. When the mind gets distracted, bring it back on track to the subject. This will improve concentration.

8. The Reflective Mood
After improving concentration, we should spend some time on the most important part which is reflection. It means introspection about how we are living our lives as per our principles, how we can improve our lives from our current situation.

9. Interest in the Arts
This chapter mentions about people who are interested in arts like music, painting, etc. How they can improve their quality of understanding the arts.

10. Nothing in Life is Humdrum
This chapter mentions about people who believe in cause and effect. Who don't care about arts or literature but about scientific study and how they can improve their understanding.

11. Serious Reading
This chapter is for people who enjoy reading. It mentions that it is better to read more of literature than novels as novels just provide the pace but don't improve our understanding. Also mentioned is that poetry though a difficult form of literature, the understanding it gives creates a tremendous satisfaction.

12. Dangers to Avoid
Finally the author mentions that our improvement should not make us feel superior to others, that we should be concerned with our share of time and that we should not get chained to our discipline but use it to improve ourselves.

So I am trying to put some of the suggestions of this book into practice. I always have wanted to improve my concentration. Also I am interested in learning more about music, poetry and science. So I will be getting more involved in understanding those topics.

The main point that the author stresses on is that when we go about putting things into practice we should avoid over eagerness because that may result in failure for trying to do too much and discourage us. Instead we should start following those steps for a little time every week and the improvements will be there to see.

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