History's most productive geniuses goofed off like crazy

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/19/diminishing-returns.html


Well, then I should easily be at least as smart as Rick Sanchez.

Hmm, this topic seems familiar. Didn’t Boingboing post something like this a year or two ago? I definitely recall discussing this before :stuck_out_tongue:

You may as well toss the whole study down a well for all the good it’ll do. Americans are among the most productive people in the world. We work ourselves to death. We do it because most of us live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to rock the boat and push for change or reform. We are trapped in the 40 hour cycle and have no hopes of escape.


history’s most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches.

I don’t claim to be anywhere in their ranks, but that’s pretty much my plan of daily action. I’m fortunate that I have the independence to do that, and I’ll admit that a lot of my loafing has a shameful productivity underlying it, but I’d wager that 4 hours of actual work at most is conducted by the average corporate employee in the course of 8 hours spent in an office.


Well, the fifth.

It’s worth noting that the rest of the top ten are all socialist European shitholes, most with significantly shorter average work weeks, and that the work week gets steadily longer as one goes down the list.

“Mexico—the least productive of the 38 countries listed in 2015 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—has the world’s longest average work week at 41.2 hours (including full-time and part-time workers).”


So…getting my genius on right now. Sweet.


Invader Zim was awesome btw.


My non U.S. govt source had us at 6th which is easily among the most productive in the world. But hey, fifth is even better.

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I’m all for rest! Sounds like an interesting book.

history’s most productive high-performers were working about four hours a day and slacking off the rest of the time: napping, strolling, having leisurely lunches.

Of course what comes to mind is: Who cooked and served their lunches? Who washed the linens for the beds they took their naps in?

I hope the book also looks at the support systems necessary.

For many of us, “rest” is often just a change of activity. If we’re single, for example, we may get to say “My hobby is cooking.” If we’re a wife and/or mother, at the end of our paid work day we may be saying “I’m going home now to my second job…”


I knew i remembered this correctly


Cory, I though you rejected the concept of “genius”! I’m confused.

Step one: already have enough money to not have to work.
Step two: spend four hours a day writing about whatever is interesting to you.
Step three: genius

Got it


My two jobs have cut back so much that I’m barely working four hours a day. But I spend too much of that free time stressing about paying the bills. (And reading political forums, which is not good for my health, either.)


Forwarding to my bosses.


However, in my observations, Mexicans (in Mexico and U.S.) spend more time laughing at work than the rest of the OECD countries.

25 books in 50 years doesn’t seem like “history’s most productive genius”

So, I guess the author didn’t study Edison? (Just as well; he would’ve had to have tossed the book’s thesis.)

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Couldn’t one take of this be that those born into position and wealth had more time for leisure as well as discovery?

i.e. Leisure didn’t cause discovery, wealth gave rise to leisure and also the room to spend time observing and experimenting.


Work smarter, not harder?