It appears we don’t understand outliers to our baseline model of output. Some people are just outlandishly prolific:

  • Sebastian Bach: on average composed 20 pages of finished music per day.
  • Thomas Edison: averaged a patent every 10-12 days of his adult life.
  • Albert Einstein: “Scientists call 1905 Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis — his year of miracles. Within a few months, Einstein wrote a series of papers that would transform the way we see the universe. They included his theory of special relativity and the famous equation E=mc².”
  • Ennio Morricone: composed scores for over 500 films.
  • Pablo Picasso: “His prolific output includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets”
  • Danielle Steel: “The author has written 179 books, which have been translated into 43 languages. Twenty-two of them have been adapted for television, and two of those adaptations have received Golden Globe nominations. Steel releases seven new novels a year.”
  • Anthony Trollope: “He would write 250 words every fifteen minutes for two and a half hours every day. His daily total was exactly 2,500 words, and if he finished a novel without writing that allotment, he would immediately start a new novel to hit the mark.”
  • 92 of the top 500 subreddits are controlled by the same 5 people.
  • Wikipedia: “250 million edits made on Wikipedia during its first ten years, only about 1 percent of Wikipedia’s editors have generated 77 percent of the site’s content.” – Matei, Britt

Perhaps, quantity does have quality all its own.

This list is conspicuously incomplete for individuals and entirely for groups. Please send recommendations!