The Creativity Curve

TheAgeofGenius (1)

Nobel Prize-winning scientists, on average, are just under 40 years old when they conduct their breakthrough research.

Two explanatory quotes from Benjamin Jones of the NBER:

“This research consistently finds that performance peaks in middle age: the life-cycle begins with a training period in which major creative output is absent, followed by a rapid rise in output to a peak, often in the late 30s or 40s, and a subsequent slow decline in output through later years.”


“The ability to identify and appreciate these radical departures may be greatest shortly after initial exposure to a paradigm before it has been fully assimilated and before the individual has produced a large body of work that either rests upon or contributes to that paradigm.”

In fewer words: thoroughly learn the old rules, then flip them the bird.


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