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In a society increasingly dominated by an aging and conservative, if not aged, population it is important to learn what we can of historic and present knowledge of the age peak of performance in all realms of life and activity. Lehman's book is the fruit of more than 20 years, nearly a scholar's lifetime, of intensive study of age and achievement. Once we learn to interpret the unusual charts, it is possible at a glance to make a comparison of accomplishments at different ages. It is hardly surprising that for every field of endeavor and accomplishment where adequate data are available, performance rises to a fairly early peak, usually very rapidly, and then declines, generally much more slowly than it had risen. In some fields of endeavor it was possible to compare a significant number of performers in different centuries and thus get a picture of the changing patterns of
Bean WB. Age and Achievement.. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1960;105(2):342-344. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.00270140164023