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Book Review | Range by David Epstein – Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Date Published | May 28, 2019

Date Read | June 2021

Goodreads Rating | 5

Overall | This book was amazing and made many compelling arguments for why trying out tons of different things is the best way to get good at the one thing you ned up doing later. I’ve always felt that my corporate HR career helps me to be a great online entrepreneur; I’m able to be morestructured, organized and diligent in creating project plans and overseeing large-scale undertakings. Whereas, the zillenials I compete with are just all over the place the worried about having the right mindset to get them through tough times instead of pulling out a spreadsheet.

Pros | I totally identified with the jass vs classical musician analogy. I’m a classically trained pianist and also played a ton of instrucments in the school band: flute, sax, clarinet, trumpet, etc. But when it comes to composing new songs, joining in a band or entertaining on the spot, I totally freeze up. Nothing flows. I can either do a recital of Mozart’s K454 because I have that memorized or read sheet music but I cannot synthesize random jazz melodies out of the blue.

Cons | I think crazy helicopter parents might interpret this the wrong way and instead enroll their children in 10 different sports at once instead of letting them naturally explore things on their own.

Warnings | None

POV | Third Person POV Past Tense

Will I Be Continuing With The Series | Yes

Description | 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.

Range Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein - Lisa Siefert Book Reviews
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