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Post #900- Charles Bukuowski

Even though it's a little old by internet standards, I still wish to recommend James Altucher's 6 Things I Learned from Charles Bukowski. It's timeless enough to still be worth reading a few weeks later.

The article itself is good, but what struck me most about it is that it was published the same week that Steve Jobs died.At first blush Steve Jobs and Charles Bukowski seem to be very different people. Steve Jobs created an empire and brought products to market that are used by millions of people. Charles Bukowski was a drunken, dysfunctional  author with a cult following.

What they have in common is that they both left their mark on the world, and they did it through hard work and discipline. These are old fashioned virtues not  normally ascribed to Charles Bukowski, but Altucher's article makes a case that they should be.

Two of the six things Altucher says he learned from Bukowski are persistence and discipline . Again, self-discipline is not a virtue you think  an alcoholic such as Bukowski would possess. But he made himself write everyday.

He wrote his first novel in 19 days. This partly because, according to Altucher, "he didn't want to disappoint [his publisher [John Martin]". He not only possessed persistence and self-discipline, but he possessed a work ethic that informed him of his obligations to others.

Altucher is not a Bukowski hagiographer. At the beginning of his article he states

Bukowski was disgusting, his actual real fiction is awful, he’s been called a misogynist, overly simplistic, the worst narcissist, (and probably all of the above are true to an extent) and whenever there’s a collection of “Greatest American Writers” he’s never included.

and never attempts to romanticize these flaws.

Neither do I. But I do consider his virtues in light of his flaws. The big lesson I draw from Bukowski's life is that I should be willing to work at least as hard at my goals and my obligations to others as a drunken dissolute narcissist like Bukowski did.