Bien, et alors. How to channel our inner Louis le Grand? Here, Pourriol’s thesis divides confusingly in two. On the one hand, he argues that effortlessness is an art. It’s about daydreaming, breathing, sleeping and imagination. On the other, it’s an act of intense dedication. He writes at length about Gladwell’s scheme that with 10,000 hours of practice anyone can excel in a chosen field. Yet hard work takes you only so far. Pourriol argues for deliberately wasting time, for nonchalance, for reading, reflection and leisure. God loves a trier — but don’t be seen to be trying.