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Episode 69- David Epstein on Why Generalists Thrive in a Specialized World

July 25, 2019 • Book Club
David Epstein

Our culture today is all about getting a head start. Start early, focus intensely and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as you can. But what if that’s actually not the best path to success? In his new book Range, author David Epstein argues going broad—not narrow—is the best route to success. On this episode, we talk about the dangers of early specialization, the value of breadth of experience, and how this all applies to the way you think about your career, your hobbies, and even the way you parent.

Follow David: Twitter | Website

Show Notes

  • Early specialization vs. generalist: what’s the most common pathway to success? (1:32)
  • The Tiger vs. Roger effect (3:38)
  • How David’s own generalist background led to a career as a sports science and investigative writer at Sports Illustrated (7:16)
  • The importance of match quality in navigating your career choices (9:26)
  • LinkedIn research: the best predictor of who will become an executive (12:20)
  • What we’re getting wrong about grit (14:42)
  • The dangers of early specialization (21:26)
  • The importance of breadth of experience (25:20)
  • Why generalists thrive in changing and uncertain environments (29:05)
  • Why leaders should drive accountability towards both outcome and process (34:23) 

Resources / People Mentioned

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