I Didn't Get Where I Am

How the rich and famous achieved their success

Tips and tricks from those who made it to the top

I Didn't Get Where I Am
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Did you know that Frederic Chopin slept with wooden wedges between his fingers to increase the span of notes he could cover on the piano? Or that Marilyn Monroe often wore shoes with one heel slightly lower than the other, to increase the sexiness of her famous walk? Or that Lewis Carroll kept a record of every meal given to his guests so as not to serve them the same thing twice?

My trivia-crammed mind already contained plenty of these facts. But compiling the book was a total joy, because it gave me the excuse to discover a load more. Such as:


- Fred Astaire practised each dance until he could perform it while reading a book 

- David Cameron makes all his speeches with a full bladder - the heightened tension brings out a better performance

- Before every Grand Prix, Jenson Button sits on an inflatable gym ball, holds a steering wheel and drives an imaginary lap of the circuit, making all the appropriate noises. He invariably finishes within a second of his actual time

- When Jane Austen began her writing career, which she wanted to keep secret, she used small scraps of paper - this way she could quickly hide them under her blotter in case someone came into the room 

‘Full of insights into the psychology and tactics employed by all manner of top sportsmen, entertainers and boffins.' The Sun


London Bus

A London double decker bus can lean further from the vertical without falling over than a human can. What a great way of learning about centres of gravity. The reason a Routemaster can lean so far is that there's a great long strip of pig-iron welded to its base, keeping you top-deckers safe as you go round corners. If you want reassuring photographic evidence, click here