The book Range: Why Generalist Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein was a great find. I just happened upon it while looking for a new audiobook and it seemed interesting. As a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, it was preaching to the choir.
There is so much in this book that speaks to me. Epstein’s agreement with me that Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is akin to junk science (my words, not his) to the fact that a well-rounded athlete will always perform better than a one-sport star… especially in terms of injury.
Epstein doesn’t argue that specialization is bad… instead he posits that you should try everything and then spend your time in dedicated practice on the things that interest/excite you. Success doesn’t have to be about a single-minded approach to one goal. It can be about exposing yourself to a myriad things and yes, even changing your mind mid-stream to chase a different goal. And before you poo-poo this as an excuse to quit… it is not about that at all.
Range tells the story of the benefit of failing – and learning from your mistakes. As I have said many times, Failure is a good thing.
As we silo ourselves further by specialization, people who open themselves up to diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive. The only way to do that is to develop a broader range of skills and experiences.
by Chris Doelle