Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
“The most important business—and parenting—book of the year.” —Forbes
“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
“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
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.
“A well-supported and smoothly written case on behalf of breadth and late starts. . . . as David Epstein shows us, cultivating range prepares us for the wickedly unanticipated.” —Wall Street Journal
“The storytelling is so dramatic, the wielding of data so deft and the lessons so strikingly framed that it’s never less than a pleasure to read. . . . a wealth of thought-provoking material.” —New York Times Book Review
“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
“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.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point
“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
“For too long, we’ve believed in a single path to excellence. Start early, specialize soon, narrow your focus, aim for efficiency. But in this groundbreaking book, David Epstein shows that in most domains, the way to excel is something altogether different. Sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and experiment relentlessly. Epstein is a deft writer, equally nimble at telling a great story and unpacking complicated science. And Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” —Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
“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.” —Adam Grant, author of Give and Take and Originals
“Range is a blueprint for a more thoughtful, collaborative world – and it’s also really fun to read.” —NPR, Best Books of 2019
“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.” —Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World.
“An assiduously researched and accessible argument for being a jack of all trades.” —O Magazine, Best Nonfiction Books Coming in 2019
“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.” —Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe, War, and The Perfect Storm
“A goldmine of surprising insights. Makes you smarter with every page.” —James Clear, New York Times best-selling author of Atomic Habits
“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.” —Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game, professional poker player
“A fresh, brisk look at creativity, learning, and the meaning of achievement.” —Kirkus Reviews
“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 Culture Code and The Talent Code