“When you believe in things that you don’t understand/ Then you suffer/ superstition ain’t the way,” counselled Mr Stevie Wonder. But Recipes For Good Luck by Ms Ellen Weinstein, a new book that collects “the superstitions, rituals and practises of extraordinary people”, suggests that you can prosper while holding unfounded and often frankly bizarre beliefs.
It’s important to distinguish between wrongly ascribing outcomes to supernatural causes and instituting routines that help cue certain actions or frames of mind: reading the paper every morning like Nobel Prize-winning author Mr Gabriel García Márquez can hardly be called a “superstition”. But it’s also nice to know that some noteworthy personages are as crazy as the rest of us. Here, from Ms Weinstein’s book, we look at five strange behaviours of the rich and famous.