In 1911, a genius revealed a forgotten science of how to be 50x more productive without working more hours
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“The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing.”
— Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker, one of the most respected management thinkers in history, stated these words at the close of the 20th century.
The significance of this quote cannot be overstated.
Drucker isn’t just talking about 50x productivity for the smartest people. He’s talking about 50x productivity on average for an entire society. It’s profound historically. It’s profound personally. It’s profound societally.
- Historical Profundity: The sudden rise in worker productivity is a historical anomaly. Drucker says, “For hundreds of years there had been no increase in the ability of workers to turn out goods or to move goods.”
- Personal Profundity: Imagine if you could do an entire week’s work in less than an hour? Or imagine if you could work a full work week, but got 50x the results of everyone else? It would catapult your career — your salary, your impact, your reputation, your self-confidence.
- Societal Profundity: Over the long run, productivity determines what governments societies adopt. If productivity drops for too long, revolutions happen. If productivity goes up, the system stays because workers enjoy higher incomes and more leisure time. Drucker believes that had the productivity revolution not happened, capitalism may have fallen to communism during the Great Depression.
Yet, something very odd happened in the last 50 years.