There seems to be a general assumption that brilliant people cannot stand routine; that they need a varied, exciting life in order to do their best. It is also assumed that dull people are particularly suited for dull work ... Actually, there is no evidence that people who achieve much crave for, let alone live, eventful lives. The opposite is nearer the truth. One thinks of Amis the sheepherder, Socrates the stonemason, Omar the tentmaker. Jesus probably had his first revelations while doing humdrum carpentry work. Einstein worked out his theory of relativity while serving as a clerk in a swiss patent office. Machiavelli wrote The Print and the Discourses while immersed in the full life of a small country town where the only excitement he knew was playing cards with muleteers at the inn. Immanuel Kant’s daily life was unalterable routine. The housewives of Konigsberg set their clocks when they saw him pass on his way to the university. He took the same walk each morning, rain or shine. The greatest distance Kant ever travels was sixty miles from Konigsberg.
- Dull Work, from In Our Time, Eric Hoffer