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Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 “You have people walking around with all the knowledge of humanity on their phone, but they have no idea how to integrate it. We don’t train people in thinking or reasoning.” Range was an interesting and (mostly) engaging look at the different approaches to learning that we take in society today. I thought the author was clear and conversational, and he used good examples and stories that are relatable to real life. Epstein’s point is basically that today, people feel the need to specialize in something super early — starting kids at the violin as toddlers, choosing a hyper-specialization in a branch of science as a college freshman (or earlier), etc. But the problem with this approach is that there are important skills to be learned from adjacent fields (the piano, the guitar, singing; statistics, psychology, cross-functional science) that you miss if you specialize so soon. And so if you’re taken out of your specific vertical for any reason, you’re useless. What if the key to curing cancer requires someone to have knowledge about two different branches of science? The way things work now, those scientists’ work would never cross over. Epstein also applies this to everyday people’s real lives, talking about how people who change careers, even “late,” tend to be happier in them. He also gives advice about how to broaden your own horizons. This one definitely made me think about how I approach learning in my own job, plus how it’s never to late to learn a new skill or start a new hobby. I’m glad I read it.
What a great book! It tackles many assumptions about the need to choose early, focus, and practice the same tasks over and over, for success, whereas in reality success comes from different places, keeping the mind open, learning from outside the box, the value of learning versus memorizing, the value of gut feeling when data is inconclusive, the value of deviation from norm and conformity.