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Becoming Prolific

I've been thinking lately about how to become more prolific.

The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.

- http://www.amazon.com/review/RV4Y43WKRK6LO

I look at the sheer volume of work produced by someone like Einstein in science, or Robert Heinlein in fiction, and y'know what? Much of their stuff isn't good. Much of Einstein's observations outside of physics are pretty bad and off-base, he recommends courses of political action that were tried later and led to totalitarianism. If he were alive today, he'd no doubt say "mea culpa" - "I was wrong", especially in his opinions on the Soviet Union.

But it doesn't matter, because his good work is incredible. Even trying to understand special relativity makes it clear how amazing his work is (best guide to relativity for laymen I've found). It doesn't matter if you get some things wrong if you get one or two important things right.

It is not the strength, but the duration of great sentiments that makes great men.

“It is not strength, but the duration of great sentiments that makes great men.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil is kind of weird book of philosophy. Nietzsche rambles a lot, going off on random tangents about music or women that have nothing to do with the central point of the book.

But there's some real gems in there, like this one. When I first read it, I set my Kindle down and thought about it for a good 10 minutes at the cafe I was in.

The idea is, intense but short-lived thoughts don't get you very far. Intensity of purpose is good, but if it lasts for not long, you won't do very much with it. You'll see inventors, innovators, champions in any domain - they tend to put a lot of time and practice into their craft consistently. It's going for at least a light run when it's raining and you feel like hell. It's practicing a little.

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