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Macmillan Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World Paperback – 1 October 2020
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'Fascinating . . . If you?re a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you' ? Bill Gates
The instant Sunday Times Top Ten and New York Times bestseller
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2019
A Financial Times Essential Reads of 2019 pick
A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize.
From the ?10,000 hours rule? to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many hours of deliberate practice. And, worse, that if you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up with those who got a head start.
This is completely wrong.
In this landmark book, David Epstein shows you that the way to succeed is by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests ? in other words, by developing range.
Studying the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors and scientists, Epstein demonstrates why in most fields ? especially those that are complex and unpredictable ? generalists, not specialists are primed to excel. No matter what you do, where you are in life, whether you are a teacher, student, scientist, business analyst, parent, job hunter, retiree, you will see the world differently after you've read Range. You'll understand better how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed. You'll see why failing a test is the best way to learn and why frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.
As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, Range shows how people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive and why spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to your success, and how to achieve it.
'I loved Range' ? Malcolm Gladwell
'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
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Fabulous . . .If you are interested in champions' journeys, this is for you -- Judy Murray on Twitter
It’s 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 -- Susan Cain, author of Quiet
An urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance -- Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
A captivating read that will leave you questioning the next steps in your career―and the way you raise your children -- Adam Grant, author of Originals and co-author of Option B
Extraordinary ― Guardian
A goldmine of surprising insights. Makes you smarter with every page -- James Clear, New York Times bestselling author of Atomic Habits
Brilliant, timely, and utterly impossible to put down. If you care about improving skill, innovation, and performance, you need to read this book -- Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
I want to give Range to . . . everyone who wants humans to thrive in an age of robots. Range is full of surprises and hope, a 21st century survival guide -- Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World.
The storytelling is so dramatic, the wielding of data so deft and the lessons so strikingly framed …[it’s] a pleasure to read . . . Range offers such a wealth of thought-provoking material ― New York Times Books Review
Range elevates Epstein to one of the very best science writers at work today. The scope of the book―and the implications―are breathtaking -- Sebastian Junger, filmmaker and author of The Perfect Storm
One of the most thought-provoking and enlightening books I’ve read -- Maria Konnikova, poker player and author of The Confidence Game
A fresh, brisk look at creativity, learning, and the meaning of achievement ― Kirkus Reviews
An assiduously researched and accessible argument for being a jack of all trades -- O Magazine, Best Nonfiction Books Coming in 2019
Range is a convincing, engaging survey of research and anecdotes that confirm a thoughtful, collaborative world is also a better and more innovative one -- NPR.org
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
A clear and unfussy writer . . . this book is likely to resonate strongly with most teachers -- tes.com
Anyone contemplating a change of career late in life will find Range immensely reassuring. If you calculate that you don't have 10,000 hours left in which you can reasonably practice, you can use your range to connect ideas and use your varied experience. ― Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
Masterful.Perfect holiday reading -- Dr Adam Rutherford
In this fascinating book, David Epstein 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. -- Bill Gates
About the Author
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1509843523
- ISBN-13 : 978-1509843527
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Best Sellers Rank: 8,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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It is important to do a sampling a range of related things in your field before you choose a specialisation. It helps to develop an overall competence so that the skills learnt in other fields act as an added advantage and boost your final skill in your chosen field. Also, you will know which field suits you the best and for which you have a passion which will help you in the long term to achieve excellence on par with the best in the world.
The age of sampling should be typically between 6 to 16. In these formative years you can experiment freely and as your body is flexible and ur brain plastic, you can learn many skills naturally.
Thirdly, not all specialisation needs sampling and range. For eg Golf, Chess and Coding need a lot of practice and pattern recognition rather than different set of skills. So, in such fields u can simply go for a specialisation without wasting time on sampling period.
Unfortunately at around 100 pages or so - Chapter 5 or thereabouts - the quality of writing deteriorated significantly with normal conventions on grammar and punctuation seemingly ignored. I gave up soon after that as the writing became so disjointed and irritating.
I tried dipping in to later chapters and the quality of writing had seemed to improve but there was so much rambling that by the time the point of each description had been reached I didn't care.
I was disappointed since I have long been a believer in what was said in the early pages but the book just didn't do it justice.
Naturally I was curious to read responses to their findings, to get a wider appreciation for the topic of learning.
Unfortunately 70% of 'Range' turned our to be annecdotal. If studies are used to inform statements, most aren't referenced. It feels like the author recieved some advice to couch his lessons within stories and took it to an almost satirical extreme.
Every chapter starts with a story more suited to a fiction or narrative-history novel than a scientific text. I bought the book to learn more about the contemporary scientific discoveries around generalisation vs specialisation as advertised in the book's marketing. If I wanted 8 pages of highly subjective descriptive writing for every actual insight I'd read a sci fi novel.
It's frustrating because I do believe there might be valuable insight here, but because most of it is packed within contextually-bare stories highly edited to fit a narrative, it's nigh impossible to weed fact from assumption.
I recommend just reading each chapter heading and then skipping straight to the last two pages of each, to get a brief summary of the argument without wasting your time on the fluff. Then use those topics as jumping-on points for futher study.
Still, it's well edited, the writing flows and there are some interesting points to chew on floating in a soup of pointless filler so two stars overall.
This book is about getting range, not depth – at least not too quickly. Citing the works of Daniel Kahneman, Philip Tetlock, and many others, Epstein proffered the view that it is better to be the fox that knows many things rather than the hedgehog who only knows one big thing.
In science, Epstein, citing James Flynn, noted that, ‘students learned the facts of their specific field without understanding how science should work in order to draw true conclusions’. ‘One good tool is rarely enough’ he writes, ‘in a complex, interconnected rapidly changing world’. Epstein, however, is not against specialization, but is voicing thoughts of a wider range.