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Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Letes artists musicians inventors forecasters and scientists He discovered that in most fields especially those that are complex and unpredictable generalists not specialists are primed to excel Generalists often find their path late and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one They're also creative agile and able to make connections their specialized peers can't spy from deep in their hyperfocused trenches As experts silo themselves further while computers master of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thriveOur ob The story of the new US Open golf winner illustrates part of the thesis of this book A range of experience is sometimes better than over specialization In the book Roger Federer is another examplehttpswwwnytimescom20190617spThis passage describes a key finding that is central to the bookJames Flynn is a professor of political studies in New ZealandFlynn s great disappointment is the degree to which society and particularly higher education has responded to the broadening of the mind by pushing specialization rather than focusing early training on conceptual transferable knowledge Flynn conducted a study in which he compared the grade point averages of seniors at one of America s top state universities from neuroscience to English majors to their performance on a test of critical thinking The test gauged students ability to apply fundamental abstract concepts from economics social and physical sciences and logic to common real world scenarios Flynn was bemused to find that the correlation between the test of broad conceptual thinking and GPA was about zero In Flynn s words the traits that earn good grades at the university do not include critical ability of any broad significance Even the best universities aren t developing critical intelligence he said They aren t giving students the tools to analyze the modern world except in their area of specialization Their education is too narrow As a patient I see this in medicine My father practiced medicine for 40 years He used to say that medicine was as much an art as a science The art is gone No doctor I ve encountered knows how to take a good patient history Many times as a result of my own research I ve asked my doctors what about X Oh good idea Shouldn t they have the ability and knowledge to bring these issues up themselves But this is true in many fields in late 2014 a team of German scientists published a study showing that members of their national team which had just won the World Cup were typically late specializers who didn t play organized soccer than amateur league players until age twenty two or later They spent of their childhood and adolescence playing non organized soccer and other sportsIt s not about the mythical 10000 hours The reason that elite athletes seem to have superhuman reflexes is that they recognize patterns of ball or body movements that tell them what s coming before it happens As the greatest hockey player in history Wayne Gretzky said I skate to where the puck is going not where it has been Same is true of Steph Curry who views the basketball court as a rapidly moving chessboard He sees several moves ahead When we know the rules and answers and they don t change over time chess golf playing classical music an argument can be made for savant like hyperspecialized practice from day one But those are poor models of most things humans want to learn Meanwhile advances in artificial intelligence have already shown that rules based human jobs will be the first to go the AI is implemented This reality was made shockingly obvious when a computer defeated the world champion Gary Kasparov in chess Likewise the international Go champion And now poker RE parents psychologist Adam Grant noted that creativity may be difficult to nurture but it is easy to thwart He pointed to a study that found an average of six household rules for typical children compared to one in households with extremely creative childrenDarwin s father was a doctor who wanted his son to become a doctor Darwin lasted only half a semester in med school He turned to the church He was a Bible literalist at the time and figured he would become a clergyman He bounced around classes including a botany course with a professor who subseuently recommended him for an unpaid position aboard the HMS Beagle After convincing his father that he would not become a deadbeat if he took this one detour he experienced perhaps the most impactful post college gap year in history Decades later Darwin reflected on the process of self discovery It seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman he wrote A recent international Gallup survey of than two hundred thousand workers in 150 countries reported that 85 percent were either not engaged with their work or actively disengaged In that condition according to Seth Godin uitting takes a lot guts than continuing to be carried along like debris on an ocean wave The trouble Godin noted is that humans are bedeviled by the sunk cost fallacy Having invested time or money in something we are loath to leave it because that would mean we had wasted our time or money even though it is already gone There is perverse inverse relationship between fame and accuracy The likely an expert was to have his or her predictions featured on op ed pages and television the likely they were always wrong Paul Ehrlich s Population Bomb is an infamous example He appeared on Johnny Carson s Tonight Show 20x gave congressional testimony and his theory was heavily sold in a cover article in The New Republic The end result of this crisis Ehrlich asserted would be global nuclear war The hedgehogs according to political scientist Philip Tetlock toil devotedly within one tradition of their specialty and reach for formulaic solutions to ill defined problems Outcomes did not matter they were proven right by both successes and failures and burrowed further into their ideas It made them outstanding at predicting the past but dart throwing chimps at predicting the future the opposite of flexible intelligence is cognitive entrenchmentResearchers in Canada and the United States began a 2017 study by asking a politically diverse and well educated group of adults to read arguments confirming their beliefs about controversial issues When participants were then given a chance to get paid if they read contrary arguments two thirds decided they would rather not even look at the counterarguments never mind seriously entertain them I liked the first 10 chapters of this book In chapters 11 12 the author turns it into a business book with some extremely tedious cases studies that they do in MBA programs It reminded me why I don t like and never read business books So this a caveat for this book that removes one star from the ratingPoker AIhttpswwwnytimescom20190711scExcellent new documentary on AIhttpswwwyoutubecomwatchv5dZl

read & download Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

What's the most effective path to success in any domain It's not what you thinkPlenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill play an instrument or lead their field should start early focus intensely and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible If you dabble or delay you'll never catch up to the people who got a head start But if you take a closer look at the world's top performers from professional athletes to Nobel laureates you'll find that early specialization is the exception not the ruleDavid Epstein author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene studied the world's most successful ath This book looks at how an emphasis on specialization can actually hamper our ability to really excel at something It aligns with what I try to do when I am coaching in my stories and what we re doing with Mamba Sports Academy create all around athletes who can think critically and make assessments in real time to enhance their play rather than rely only on a narrow set of skills

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Session with getting a head start is understandable; early specialization feels efficient But Epstein marshals an enormous body of scientific research to argue that we should all actively cultivate inefficiency Failing a test is the best way to learn Freuent uitters end up with the most fulfilling careers The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area Provocative rigorous and engrossing Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth diverse experience interdisciplinary thinking and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes even demands hyperspecializatio Now THIS is how you write a compelling non fiction book This has catapulted itself on my must have shelf after the introduction aloneThe topic is nothing new specialized thinking vs broad thinking We have it in evolution in Darwin s famous fitness of surviving species It has nothing to do with size or teeth or muscle strength Rather it s about adaptability It also applies to thinking processesThus the author examines the different psychological variations within the human population throughout historyWe get athletes like Tiger Woods vs Roger Federer totally opposite upbringing both highly successful we get artists like Van Gogh or Miyazaki both for the same point we get the woman who saved the Girl Scouts of America we get chess champions not masters vs computers we get musicians like the orphans of one of the goodwill hospitals in VeniceThere are many stories of people being successful or not All these stories along with many studies show that being a polymath is the way to go Yes there are some outliers such as Tiger Woods but generally speaking it s better to nurture many interests and try out different things taking risks instead of always just falling back on experience though there is nothing wrong with experience itself it s just that it doesn t help in every situationInterestingly I had to think of many experiences from my own life For example Germany has different kinds of graduations at high schools science heavy art heavy general and I chose the general Abitur Then I had to decide about my future and after being told and believing I couldn t do what I wanted yes I m regretting it especially after this book I studied linguistics But I decided against a university as those students only study vocabulary and grammar it was too narrow for me and didn t promise good chances to get a job later instead opting for a private school that taught geography history and politics of all the countries where the language I chose was spoken plus IT and finance on top of that It was definitely the right way to go though my degree is considered less than that with a university stamp which isn t worth anything when applying for a job thoughTheoretical knowledge alone wasn t worth as much as theory plus practical appliance so I won I do regret not risking much when I was younger instead being talked into fearing failure This book showcases that there necessarily isn t any fault in making mistakes and trying one thing after another An important lessonThere are some almost unbelievable stories in here Such as the Navy SEAL the author met personally Or the United States Military Academy West Point and how it had to adapt completely misjudging the situation Or how some people raised their children not necessarily in a bad way the accomplishments are what s unbelievable To say nothing of NASA engineers having to puzzle over problems before the Challenger launch we all know how that ended or the professors trying to teach their students to not only interpret any given data but to ask if this is the data they indeed needIt also hints at what we need to do change going forward Standardized tests like the US school system uses are the death of innovation And other countries aren t doing much better People are no longer if ever encouraged to really solve problems but to categorize them according to pre established templates But life doesn t always happen according to pre ordained patterns We need polymaths and unafraid ones as thatPersonally I loved the history lessons here In telling the reader of certain people throughout history the author managed to show the psychological differences he was talking about Along the way we even get a few exercises to solve lolMoreover the way events and theories are presented is downright thrilling and funny and down to earth The writing isn t simplistic but it s also not unnecessarily complex We get swept along at breakneck speed and I enjoyed every minute of this ride Not many non fiction books manage to break a topic down in such a charming way and convey so much information so successfully if it s not presented in a dry fashion one is much likely to remember itFantastic book Let them torture the cucumbers


About the Author: David Epstein

David Epstein is the author of Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World and of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene which has been translated in 21 languages He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated He lives in Washington DC



10 thoughts on “Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

  1. says:

    Disclosure I won this pre release copy in a drawing from the publisherThe book wasn't badly written but for me it was something of a slog I've enjoyed similar books in this genre the sort of pop psychology self help mashup including books like Willpower BaumeisterTierney The Upside of Down McArdle The Power of Habit Duhigg among

  2. says:

    I’ve staked my entire adult life on following the generalist’s path instead of the specialist’s so I hoped this book would answer my basi

  3. says:

    This book looks at how an emphasis on specialization can actually hamper our ability to really excel at something It aligns with what I try to do when I am coaching in my stories and what we’re doing with Mamba Sports Academy—create all around athletes who can think critically and make assessments in real time to enhance their play rather than rely only on a narrow set of skills

  4. says:

    “Compare yourself to yourself yesterday not to younger people who aren’t you”An incredibly slow read for me but I enjoyed it a lot and felt like I was on information overload after finishing each chapter Who knew that so many case studies and anecdotes could support having breadth vs depth of knowledge Th

  5. says:

    Do I think it's a five star book It's very hard for me to say as I wrote the thing By the time I'm done working on a book I have such a strong insider view of the project that it's difficult to be objective I will say this I worked extremely hard on it and as a writer researcher and reader I found it to be much interesting than my

  6. says:

    The story of the new US Open golf winner illustrates part of the thesis of this book A range of experience is sometimes better than over specialization In the book Roger Federer is another examplehttpswwwnytimescom20190617spThis passage describes a key finding that is central to the bookJames Flynn is a profes

  7. says:

    In a lot of ways this book is a vindication of everything I hold dearWhy Well granted it IS a vindication of a mindset that rebels against going down any single rabbit hole to the exclusion of everything else in this life

  8. says:

    This book is a useful mythbuster grit 10000 hours deliberate practice tiger moms this book says forget all of that sort of Try lots of things read broadly and fail lots of times I agree with this formula for success Specialization is boring I think there is something to being obsessive once you are in the right track Once you figure out the project or sport you need to focus This doesn't go against the thesis of the book but he wa

  9. says:

    Now THIS is how you write a com

  10. says:

    As a believer in Charlotte Mason's generous feast I knew the minute I heard about this book that I had to read it It did

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