HFM 122 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 5: Thomas Aquinas

May 18, 2015


Thomas Aquinas is arguably the greatest theologian in Catholic Church. During his lifetime he wrote over 60 tomes of philosophy and theology, most the size of a scholar’s magnum opus. The total word count of his extant writings exceeds 6 million words, perhaps the largest set of complete works created by one man before the invention of the word processor. The pages of these books contain dense concepts – much more so than Isaac Asimov’s thoughtful-but-workmanlike prose – packing in enough ideas per paragraph to warrant a three-hour graduate student session. They include exegeses of scripture, theological syntheses (Summas), commentaries on church fathers or Aristotelian philosophy, and polemical works. Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft believes that were it not for the scarcity of parchment and ink, Thomas could have written more than 500 books in his lifetime.

How did he do it? By delegation, extraordinary focus, and always keeping his eyes on larger goals.

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here. 

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About Michael Rank

Michael writes history books on dictators, the Middle East, and insane rulers, not necessarily in that order. He lives somewhere between Europe and Asia (literally)

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