Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
“The most important business—and parenting—book of the year.” —Forbes
“Urgent and important. . . an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” —Daniel H. Pink
“So much crucial and revelatory information about performance, success, and education.” —Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet
“As David Epstein shows us, cultivating range prepares us for the wickedly unanticipated… a well-supported and smoothly written case on behalf of breadth and late starts.” —Wall Street Journal
Plenty 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 a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.
David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, 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 more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
CHAPTER 2: How the Wicked World Was Made
CHAPTER 3: When Less of the Same Is More
CHAPTER 4: Learning, Fast and Slow
CHAPTER 5: Thinking Outside Experience
CHAPTER 6: The Trouble with Too Much Grit
CHAPTER 7: Flirting with Your Possible Selves
CHAPTER 8: The Outsider Advantage
CHAPTER 9: Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology
CHAPTER 10: Fooled by Expertise
CHAPTER 11: Learning to Drop Your Familiar Tools
CHAPTER 12: Deliberate Amateurs