How Much Do You Know About…the Habits of Creative Geniuses?

August 14, 2014

1. Inventor Thomas Edison credited his productivity to:

A. Long walks.
B. Taking naps.
C. Working all night.

2. Don Quixote’s author Miguel de Cervantes received his best ideas by:

A. Drinking alcohol at bars nightly.
B. Sitting in freezing tub water.
C. Calisthenic exercises.
D. All of the above.

3. Leonardo da Vinci’s work ethic involved:

A. Sleeping just two hours a day.
B. Working days without sleep.
C. Sleeping all day, working all night.

4. Charles Dickens’ daily routine involved:

A. Facing North at all possible times.
B. Hanging out at the morgue.
C. Rearranging furniture
D. All of the above.

5. Balzac was addicted to the following substance:

A. Absinthe.
B. Coffee.
C. Cocaine.


B. Thomas Edison felt that napping was crucial to receiving his best ideas. He slept sitting upright in his chair, with his elbow up on the arm, his hands holding marbles. He would think about a problem until he fell asleep, and soon he would drop the marbles on the floor. The noise woke him up and he immediately wrote down whatever was in his head.

B. Cervantes routinely filled a tub with freezing water and sat in the frigid tub until inspiration came to him.

A. Leonardo da Vinci practiced something called polyphasic sleep — short naps every four hours, for a total of around two hours of sleep per day.

D. Charles Dickens sat at a desk that faced due north, and ensured that in bed, his body was aligned with the poles—head at the northern end, feet toward the south. Dickens also liked to visit the morgue, where he watched people work on incoming bodies. He had a form of OCD and rearranged furniture daily and also combed his hair hundreds of times a day.

C. For inspiration, Honore de Balzac drank specially blended Parisian coffee up to 50 cups in a day. He also ate dry grounds an empty stomach and is quoted to have said, “sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army….”