It is well known that Akhmediev breathers of the nonlinear cubic Schrödinger equation can be superposed nonlinearly via the Darboux transformation to yield breathers of higher order. Surprisingly, we find that the peak height of each Akhmediev breather only adds linearly to form the peak height of the final breather. Using this peak-height formula, we show that at any given periodicity, there exists a unique high-order breather of maximal intensity. Moreover, these high-order breathers form a continuous hierarchy, growing in intensity with increasing periodicity. For any such higher-order breather, a simple initial wave function can be extracted from the Darboux transformation to dynamically generate that breather from the nonlinear Schrödinger equation.