December 09, 2013

Christopher Hitchens on how to succeed

At 6 minutes 20 seconds, Christopher Hitchens explained his move to Washington here:
"I think my life changed when I moved to Washington because I became a really hard worker. A person of almost iron self discipline. I built my own workspace at home. I never went to an office anymore. I didn't hang out with people at lunch. Got on with it. If I wasn't reading, I was writing. It's 'cause there are no distractions in Washington DC. Washington was like taking my vow. It was like becoming a friar. I can't recommend the vow of monk-hood or friar-hood too highly if you want to get on with doing some real work."
This echoes the quote by V. S. Pritchett who wrote in an essay about the English historian Edward Gibbon:
"Sooner or later, the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing." 
There's also this famous quote made by unknown:
"Successful people aren't born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don't like to do. The successful people don't always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.”
Video interview with Hitchens in full here and further below. He also said in an interview here:
"The main thing I keep saying, never tire of saying is, to keep testing yourself against other writers who are better than you. That's what qualifies one as a writer I think, as permanently running the risk of having to say, 'I don't know why I bother.'"
He also said:
"The essential thing for being a good writer is being a good reader." 
He said in an interview here at 22 minutes that a writer can never really stop.

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