How did Edison maintain such a high work output?

July 01, 2013

I was working on a project a few days ago while on a stimulant. I finished the project and many others that day. At the end of the day I thought this must have been what Edison was like, but every day.


Edison is quoted as saying "Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night." That is quite a prodigious amount of work.

Thomas Edison is one of the men I admire most in history, probably just behind Albert Einstein. He was a genius to be sure, but one of the things I most admired was his work ethic, his ability to pump out invention after invention after invention. Almost every major technology of the 20th century was either invented by him or influenced by him. So in a sense I feel kind of like a kid who learned his favorite athlete was caught using steroids. His amazing abilities were likely attributed to drug use.

This doesn't take anything away from his ingenuity and intelligence, but I've always wondered how he was able to push himself so hard everyday and now I think I know. It's interesting how a now illegal drug is in part responsible for so many of the things we now enjoy, the light bulb for instance, did you know he invented that? Probably. But did you know he invented recorded music, alkaline batteries, electric trains, an ore separater, motion pictures, electric motors, x-rays, and many many more. Here is a full list of his patents:

One of the big complaints about steroids are they provide an uneven playing field, but with Edison, he wasn't competing with anyone who didn't have access to everything he did, so morally I don't think you can hold anything against him. He didn't brake the law, he just found a way to increase his output, which we are all the benefactors of.

Other interesting links pertaining to this subject:


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