Sunday, December 17, 2017

Productivity and Creativity

I continue to be amazed at how brilliant Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor who has what seems to be about a million YouTube videos, is in just about every realm you can think of. Here is a video about creativity and Price's Law:
According to Price's law, half of all scientific contributions are made by the square root of the total number of scientific contributors: thus, if there are 100 scientists within a given discipline, just 10 of them will account for 50 percent of all publications. The Price's law describes unequal distribution of productivity in most domains of creativity.

The interesting thing that he points out is that this applies, for example, to companies. If there are ten people in your company, three of them will do half the work. But if there are 100 people in your company, 10 of them will do half the work and if there are 10,000, then only 100 of them will do half the work. Uh-oh! Here is the video:

At the 3:28 mark he talks about composers:
Five composers produce the music that occupies 50% of the classical repertoire: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mozart. Those five. So here's something cool: take all the music those people wrote. 5% of the music all those people wrote occupies 50% of the music that's played.
Now, as one of those people who spends as much energy rationalizing why I'm not writing something as I do actually writing something, I'm really depressed. So I guess I will sit down and actually write something! Best cure for depression.

Here is a piece I recently ran across and found the score for: the Serenade for guitar by Sofia Gubaidulina, a very early piece written in 1960 (her only piece for solo guitar).

And a performance by Patrik Kleemola:


Christopher Culver said...

The Serenade is not Gubaidulina’s only work for solo guitar. She also wrote a Toccata (circa 1969) that has been recorded on Naxos.

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks, Christopher! I'm going to look for it.

Steven Watson said...

Is Brahms performed that often? I really hadn't noticed.

Peterson's explanations of personality and intelligence have been quite eye-opening for me. Never quite realised how important and persistent these traits are.

Bryan Townsend said...

He might be pulling those names out of the air. I did notice a few years ago that the most-performed composer by US orchestras was Brahms, which rather surprised me.

I've learned a lot of interesting stuff from Peterson's clips, which is why I sneak them in now and then!