As a child: "When some of us wanted to go to the movies, when we did have our off time, she was in the studio sitting there by herself writing a record. I’ll never forget, were at an indoor gym situation having our fun like kids are supposed to and she sat out in the hot ass car and was writing to a track."
As an adult: "When you guys see a show, just know that every day that we’ve rehearsed, she’s gone in before us and left after us. And we’re working 14-16 hour days. There’s breaks in between. Because she’s creative, and sometimes it never stops…she’s up! But she’s not just up, she’s in it. She’s present."
- Patrick Collison
- Buckminster Fuller: Despite only practicing true polyphasic sleep for a period during the 1920s, Fuller was known for his stamina throughout his life. He was described as "tireless" by Barry Farrell in Life magazine, who noted that Fuller stayed up all night replying to mail during Farrell's 1970 trip to Bear Island.
- Queen Elizabeth II: In 2017, at 91 years old, the queen attended 292 public engagements.
- Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan studied folk and blues music obsessively since he was a teenager, and he has put out dozens of albums over a period now stretching almost sixty years, mastering both folk guitar and lyrics, and experimenting with a variety of styles ranging from folk to rock to pop to gospel to blues and American popular standards. He has starred or played in several movies, worked as a DJ for satellite radio (picking excellent material), written a compelling memoir, won a Nobel Prize for literature, published eight books of drawings and paintings and had exhibits in major art galleries, and it seems he has been on tour constantly for decades (the “Never Ending Tour”), in the 1990s and 2000s often playing a hundred or more dates a year. (Excerpt from Talent.)
- Elon Musk: Famously works 80-hour-plus weeks, while running multiple companies.
- John le Carré: The spy thriller author. Washington Post reporter John Leen spent two weeks with him in Miami, investigating the local crime scene with le Carré’s assistance. At the end of that temporary partnership he wrote: “I was astonished by his energy, his drive, his ability to go out there every day and trundle through the hours of interviews, lunches, dinners. I was a little more than half his age and I was exhausted. He never appeared tired, never was less than sharp and penetrating. He already had half a dozen No. 1 bestsellers and more money than he could ever spend. Why did he want or need another one? What kept him out there, what was the engine that drove it all?” (From Talent.)
- Karl Friston: Friston isn't just one of the most influential scholars in his field; he’s also among the most prolific in any discipline. He is 59 years old, works every night and weekend, and has published more than 1,000 academic papers since the turn of the millennium. In 2017 alone, he was a lead or coauthor of 85 publications3—which amounts to approximately one every four days.
Please send me more entries. (Preferably with sources.)
- I like to think of these folks as "energizer bunnies."
- Robin Hanson reflects on stamina's importance:
“It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I finally got to see some very successful people up close for long enough to notice a strong pattern: the most successful have a lot more energy and stamina than do others.… I think this helps explain many cases of ‘why didn’t this brilliant young prodigy succeed?’ Often they didn’t have the stamina, or the will, to apply it."
- One of the Thiel Fellowship's interview criteria was: "Do you feel more energized after talking with this possible fellow?"