Quoted from his book on creative genius, “Imagine,” by Jonah Lehrer:
A few years ago, David Banks, a statistician at Duke University, wrote a short paper called “The Problem of Excess Genius.” The problem itself is simple: human geniuses aren’t scattered randomly across time and space. Instead, they tend to arrive in tight, local clusters. (As Banks put it, genius “clots inhomogeneously.”) In his paper, Banks gives the example of Athens between 440 b.c. and 380 b.c. He notes that the ancient city over that time period was home to an astonishing number of geniuses, including Plato, Socrates, Pericles, Thucydides, Herodotus, Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Xenophon. These thinkers essentially invented Western civilization, and yet they all lived in the same place at the same time. Or look at Florence between 1450 and 1490. In those few decades, a city of less than fifty thousand people gave rise to a staggering number of immortal artists, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Ghiberti, Botticelli, and Donatello.
Yes, take a look, it’s fascinating…(he left out Machiavelli. And Lorenzo de Medici, the poets and philosophers.)