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What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think. 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 dabbl...

What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

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.

(From Goodreads)

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Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0735214484

ISBN-13: 9780735214484


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I started following Epstein’s work after watching his fantastic 2014 TED talk on sports performance. In this fascinating book, he argues that although the world seems to demand more and more specialization—in your career, for example—what we actually need is more people “who start...

I started following Epstein’s work after watching his fantastic 2014 TED talk on sports performance. In this fascinating book, he argues that although the world seems to demand more and more specialization—in your career, for example—what we actually need is more people “who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress.” His examples run from Roger Federer to Charles Darwin to Cold War-era experts on Soviet affairs. I think his ideas even help explain some of Microsoft’s success, because we hired people who had real breadth within their field and across domains. If you’re a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you.

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A goldmine of surprising insights. Makes you smarter with every page.

One of my favorite books of the last 5 years. Big, big fan.

In a world that’s increasingly obsessed with specialization, star science writer David Epstein is here to convince you that the future may belong to generalists. It’s a captivating read that will leave you questioning the next steps in your career—and the way you raise your childr...

In a world that’s increasingly obsessed with specialization, star science writer David Epstein is here to convince you that the future may belong to generalists. It’s a captivating read that will leave you questioning the next steps in your career—and the way you raise your children.

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Great book, good reminder!

Urgent and important. . . an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.

In chapter five of my forthcoming book, I discuss the specialist versus generalist tension. As part of my research, I read @DavidEpstein's wonderful book on the topic.

For reasons I cannot explain, David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong. I loved Range.

This book is both a validation of how I’ve chosen to go about my work and a kick in the pants to not get complacent, stretch out, and go down weird paths. (My friend Ryan Holiday, who finally got his well-deserved #1 NYTimes bestseller this year with Stillness is the Key, suggeste...

This book is both a validation of how I’ve chosen to go about my work and a kick in the pants to not get complacent, stretch out, and go down weird paths. (My friend Ryan Holiday, who finally got his well-deserved #1 NYTimes bestseller this year with Stillness is the Key, suggested, rightly, I think, that it’s a parenting book in disguise.)

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Range elevates Epstein to one of the very best science writers at work today. The scope of the book—and the implications—are breathtaking. I find myself applying what I've learned to almost every aspect of my life.

It is a joy to spend hours in the company of a writer as gifted as David Epstein. And the joy is all the greater when that writer shares so much crucial and revelatory information about performance, success, and education.

Brilliant, timely, and utterly impossible to put down. If you care about improving skill, innovation, and performance, you need to read this book.

Range will force you to rethink the nature of learning, thinking, and being, and reconsider what you thought you knew about optimal education and career paths—and how and why the most successful people in the world do what they do. It's one of the most thought-provoking and enligh...

Range will force you to rethink the nature of learning, thinking, and being, and reconsider what you thought you knew about optimal education and career paths—and how and why the most successful people in the world do what they do. It's one of the most thought-provoking and enlightening books I've read.

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Curated in
Asked by Erica Wenger

Range: how generalists triumph in a specialised world - David Epstein. Opened my eyes to the power of being a deliberate generalist, especially in an uncertain learning environment like tech and VC

Curated in
Asked by Mario Gabriele 🦊

Range by David Epstein topped my 2022 list. @anishmohammed which was your favourite ?

Range by David Epstein! that it is good to sample and learn a broad range of skills as op to specialize too much (early).

Such an amazing topic Packy - thanks for framing it so well. A few things that help me:

Very similar to Patrick’s comment about nurturing curiosity, this book helped solidify this inclination:

I love this idea [Range] because I think of myself as a jack of all trades.

I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons—but really wants to learn the drums; to any programmer who secretly dreams of becoming a psychologist; to everyone who wants humans to thrive in an age of robots. Range is full of surprises and hope, a 21st...

I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons—but really wants to learn the drums; to any programmer who secretly dreams of becoming a psychologist; to everyone who wants humans to thrive in an age of robots. Range is full of surprises and hope, a 21st century survival guide.

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