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Publisher's Summary

They never knew how he did it. Few composers write more than one or two symphonies in their lifetimes. Beethoven spent a year on his shorter symphonies but more than six years on his 9th Symphony. The prodigy Mozart finished his last three symphonies (39, 40, and 41) in the span of a few weeks. His 25th Symphony took only two days. 

None of these speed records match those of baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann. Friends with both Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, he was the most prolific composer in history and considered to be a leading German composer at a time when giants roamed the earth. During his duties as court musician for Count Erdmann II of Promnitz in Poland, he composed at least 200 overtures in a two-year period. Over his lifetime Telemann's oeuvre consists of more than 3,000 pieces, although “only” 800 survive to this day. 

Telemann was not the only person whose productivity defied all reason. Greek scientist Archimedes discovered mathematical phenomena that weren't confirmed for 17 centuries. He also single-handedly defended Syracuse from the Romans by building massive catapults, a huge iron claw that could pick ships up out of the ocean, and even a solar-powered death ray. 

Ibn Sina was a medieval mathematician who wrote hundreds of treatises, including a medical compendium used in European universities for the next 400 years. Philipp II of Spain ruled a global empire from his throne in Madrid in the 1500s. Isaac Newton invented classical physics and was one of the inventors of calculus. Benjamin Franklin wrote, published, politicked, invented, experimented, and humored, sometimes all at the same time. Theodore Roosevelt won the presidency twice, was the first American to earn a belt in judo, hunted, wrote numerous books, and read four hours a day even during the busiest moments of his political life. 

This book will explore the lives of the 17 most productive people in history.

©2015 Scott Rank (P)2018 Scott Rank

What listeners say about The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, from Archimedes to Elon Musk

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Extremely good. It can save you from burnout.

Great quality of content. Some tips from this book useful for my job, that allowed me to escape burnout and stay healthy after 3 new exploitative managers in my enterprise:

1) As managers value seeing you sending e-mails late at night, I go to gym, meet friends and read during job hours (at lunch time or other hours, they assume you are at meetings). I work the same 8 hours a day, but sending e-mails at 22:00 hrs in the night, gives the impression of a very busy worker and these managers don't give me new irrelevant tasks, as they assume me working 24/7.
2) as I concentrate on the 80/20 pareto, even when loaded with huge amount of work, I always manage to eat, sleep, exercise and share with my family, all well as I escape tasks that don't add much value and usually no one complains if a do them 1 or 2 weeks later. (some even month later after someone request the information).
3) I always wondered why some people working 16 hours per day have middle Incomes while some people training 8 hours a day have elite sports level or elite positions in business.
4) I wondered in the past, why people getting sick in my enterprise, obese and having family problems for lack of time, earn less than me...

All these answers you will find in this excellent book.

By the way... I wrote this comment while brisk walking in my desk treadmill... I listened this whole audio book while doing push ups, washing dishes, etc...

If you want to boost your efficiency, read this awesome book.

3 people found this helpful

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lots of great information

I learned a lot from this book I was very glad to listen to it it open my eyes to a lot of possibilities about the way I spend my day and my week and a great information about planning out my projects and my schedules and I'm glad to listen to

3 people found this helpful

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a sort synopsis of some very interesting people

very much enjoyed the first half but lost interest in the religious ending. would prefer more writings on people who produced overall society input, not religious

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Didn't learn anything useful

The book focuses on almost exclusively men of which many sacrificed actually living life versus obsessive work output. There is only one woman subject in the book. She so focused on her work obsession that she died of ill health at age 33. What's the point of that? I didn't gain any useful knowledge from this book.

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Not great

It was OK. The biographies were short, which for some was OK, but the application was pretty sparse. Probably worth the time, but not what I was looking for.

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Super informational

I liked learning about different people but the last few chapters in conclusion were actually more enjoyable than the peoples schedules, lives and habits.

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Inspiring, Intriguing, Thought-provoking work.

Excellent Narrator. Solid Character Biographies. Details insights to several key players throughout modern history.

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teaching effectiveness

I liked the way the teach what is lo productivity , how it is by showing with examples of well known people in history.

it is a learning about history too, people, what they did and their impact... and the last chapter is a very good end to conclude the book.

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  • C M Pihl
  • 06-26-19

Fine account of some extraordinary people.

It is a fine collection of brilliant people through out history, and have some interesting conclusions, some better than others.
However, historical accuracy and scientific proficiency are clearly not the authors primary concerns.

On history, he often uses the most commonly known, and mostly erroneous, highlights of the persons character and life.

On physics and other scientific fields... it's just not well formulated, and tells of a very limited knowledge and understanding.

Other than that, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it, with these things in mind.

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  • Martin
  • 03-22-18

A Mixed Bag

Wonderful stories of historical figures. But does very little to tie together in a narrative/message

1 person found this helpful

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  • I. Larsen
  • 07-21-20

A great snapshot summary of some amazing people!

This is my first audiobook and used my 1 credit to get this and I was not disappointed. This has enlightened me with a snapshot of some great people in history and one of the present. From this those whom I have found quite interesting I now have started to learn more about. The only downside I found was when I was very interested about a person then the chapter ends.
I am very happy this was my first choice.

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  • Josh
  • 06-04-18

Great intro

A great intro into a collection of fascinating characters from history. Some interesting reading to follow this book I'm sure.