Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” as Want to Read:
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

by
4.17  ·  Rating details ·  24,153 ratings  ·  2,574 reviews
What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

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 if
...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Riverhead Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Range, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,153 ratings  ·  2,574 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Mark
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I won this pre-release copy in a drawing from the publisher.

The book wasn't badly written, but for me it was something of a slog. I've enjoyed similar books in this genre more, the sort of pop-psychology-self-help mashup including books like "Willpower" (Baumeister/Tierney), "The Upside of Down" (McArdle), "The Power of Habit" (Duhigg), among others. There was nothing distracting in the style of "Range" that failed to work for me. But the presentation often left me wanting more, argu
...more
Randall Wallace
I’ve staked my entire adult life on following the generalist’s path instead of the specialist’s, so I hoped this book would answer my basic questions: What about the role Neuroplasticity plays with keeping the following people analytically extra-sharp: The Polymath, the Multi-Instrumentalist, and those like Noam Chomsky, composer Elliot Carter, Aristotle, Leonard da Vinci, or Bertrand Russell all deeply learned in multiple fields (range), yet known for changing how we understand, hear, or see th ...more
Kobe Bryant
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-ideas
This book looks at how an emphasis on specialization can actually hamper our ability to really excel at something. It aligns with what I try to do when I am coaching, in my stories, and what we’re doing with Mamba Sports Academy—create all-around athletes who can think critically and make assessments in real time to enhance their play rather than rely only on a narrow set of skills.
David Epstein
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Do I think it's a five-star book? It's very hard for me to say, as I wrote the thing. By the time I'm done working on a book, I have such a strong insider view of the project that it's difficult to be objective. I will say this: I worked extremely hard on it, and as a writer, researcher, and reader, I found it to be much more interesting than my first book. Most readers enjoyed that first book--at least according to Goodreads ratings--so I hope most readers will (as I have) enjoy this one even m ...more
Katie
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Compare yourself to yourself yesterday, not to younger people who aren’t you.”

An incredibly slow read for me but I enjoyed it a lot and felt like I was on information overload after finishing each chapter. Who knew that so many case studies and anecdotes could support having breadth vs. depth of knowledge? The author of course nods to the fact that it’s important to have both kinds of people (generalists and specialists), but his argument is against the prevalent thinking that we should pick an
...more
Michael Perkins
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of the new U.S. Open golf winner illustrates part of the thesis of this book. A range of experience is sometimes better than over-specialization. In the book, Roger Federer is another example.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/sp...

=======================

This passage describes a key finding that is central to the book....

James Flynn, is a professor of political studies in New Zealand

Flynn’s great disappointment is the degree to which society, and particularly higher education, has resp
...more
Bradley
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a lot of ways, this book is a vindication of everything I hold dear.

Why? Well, granted, it IS a vindication of a mindset that rebels against going down any single rabbit hole to the exclusion of everything else in this life, which is basically another way of saying that specialists are generally unable to see beyond their own field. Being widely read, having wide experiences, and knowing a ton of different fields lends the person in question a much greater chance to make creative connections
...more
Mehrsa
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a useful mythbuster--grit, 10,000 hours, deliberate practice, tiger moms--this book says forget all of that (*sort of). Try lots of things, read broadly, and fail lots of times. I agree with this formula for success. Specialization is boring.

*I think there is something to being obsessive once you are in the right track. Once you figure out the project or sport, you need to focus. This doesn't go against the thesis of the book, but he wasn't explicit about it
Trish
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now THIS is how you write a compelling non-fiction book! This has catapulted itself on my must-have shelf after the introduction alone!

The topic is nothing new: specialized thinking vs. broad thinking. We have it in evolution in Darwin’s famous fitness of surviving species. It has nothing to do with size or teeth or muscle strength. Rather, it’s about adaptability. It also applies to thinking processes.
Thus, the author examines the different psychological variations within the human population t
...more
Cindy Rollins
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
As a believer in Charlotte Mason's generous feast, I knew the minute I heard about this book that I had to read it. It did start slow but this book snowballed itself through my mind gathering momentum during a long, lonely car trip. After finishing the audio I immediately bought the Kindle version because I plan to use much of this information in a talk I have already done a few times. This book illustrates so well how important a wide and generous feast is. Beating out Atomic Habits, another gr ...more
Ryan
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After encountering the 10000 hours theory (Gladwell), the grit theory (Duckworth), and the Tiger Mom theory (Chua), it seemed obvious to many that we should specialize as much as possible and as early as possible. Because Tiger Woods was unusually athletic as an infant and his father had him golfing as a toddler, the thinking went, parents who didn't have their children excelling at playing chess or the obo at a soon-to-be-grandmaster level by kindergarten were failures. Range: Why Generalists T ...more
Douglas Wilson
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture-studies
Really enjoyable, really information, and jammed packed with confirmation bias.
Kimberly Dawn
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Candie
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this book a while ago but just never got around to writing a review for it. I though the book had some very interesting points and stories in it but I found that the book dragged on for me and I wasn't always very excited to read it. I think the stories were interesting but the writing itself could have used some editing. That said, this is one of those books that has actually really stuck with me. I have found that there have been many times, especially when dealing with my chil ...more
Numidica
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has lately become an article of faith among many people, especially certain type-A parents, that to do anything well, one must spend 10,000 hours (or some other arbitrarily chosen criteria) practicing the activity, from playing the violin to mastering a foreign language to becoming an outstanding soccer player. Single-minded focus is recommended by the "tiger-mother" school of thinking, and is unfortunately inflicted on many children by well-meaning parents. David Epstein has done extensive r ...more
Jin
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My general problem with this kind of non-fiction/self-help book is that they are just too long. Too generic and not significant enough. I mostly feel they lack depth or information when talking about a certain theme. I do prefer non-fiction books based on science and history because I feel they are based on better research.

Anyway, the book was an ok read; the writing style is easy to comprehend and the book gives us plenty of examples and famous people who succeeded through being a generalist. U
...more
A.G. Stranger
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's something to remember from this book:
"If you want it to stick, learning should be slow and hard, not quick and easy.
The professors who received positive feedback had a net negative effect on their students in the long run. In contrast, those professors who received worse feedback actually inspired better student performance later on."
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
A fantastic book and one that doesn't make me feel as badly for not specializing in librarianship straight out of the womb, but having life experiences first.

Full RTC.
Sugavanesh Balasubramanian
"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

reads the backcover of the book.

It started 5 years ago really, picking up Blink, and reading my first Malcolm Gladwell book talking about the power of intuition and what it actually is. The journey went through "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman questioning a lot of functional wisdom and how
...more
Lou
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some non-fiction can be boring and even useless, but this is a work of non-fiction that everyone should read; I certainly got a lot out of it and feel many others will too. Offering a wide-ranging wealth of information and research Epstein shares data, as well as his opinion, on how to become and stay successful in a constantly evolving world. What surprised me a lot was how compulsively readable it was and despite being a work of non-fiction Epstein can sure engage you in an almost mesmerising ...more
Annie
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book 3.5 stars. The point of this book is that specialists do well in a "kind" world, where rules are clear and feedback is immediate (like playing golf or chess). Generalists do well in a "wicked" world, where rules are unclear or unknown and feedback is not immediate (like practicing medicine). Therefore, a cardiologist with a wider range of knowledge (like nutrition and physiology) would make a better doctor than one who is focused only on acquiring more technical knowledge about ...more
Laura Noggle
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: improvement, 2019
One of my favorite reads of December 2019.

It also helped assuage my psyche regarding an underutilized MA in China Studies ...

“The challenge we all face is how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization. While it is undoubtedly true that there are areas that require individuals with…precocity and clarity of purpose, as complexity increases—as technology
...more
Josh
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein is, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein is about the latter half of that quote. Range introduces the concept of wicked domains (or as I like to them, reality) where you are faced with imperfect information and erratic feedback yet must somehow still devine a solution, preferably a successful one. Furthermore, learning occurs mostly ...more
Anmiryam
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone--butcher, baker, candlestick maker; teacher, student, scientist, business analyst; parent, job hunter, retiree--will get something motivating and useful from this book. No matter where you are in life, you will see the world a bit differently after you read this energetic and energizing look at how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed, regardless of what field we are working in. Seriously, I haven't stopped recommending this since I finished it several weeks ago. I don't t ...more
Katy
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways
R Nair
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best thing this book can teach you - practice does NOT make perfect.

Here's why-

Tons of books talk about how early specialization is the key to success in life and a majority of parents are seen pushing their kids into activities at an early age to give them that 'career advantage' later on in life. David Epstein trashes this idea so thoroughly in this book that I feel it should be mandatory reading for couples trying to have a baby.
Epstein starts off with the poster boy for early specializa
...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Covers the idea of having a wide range of knowledge outside one's specialty helps people succeed. Often new ideas come from thinking analogically about things unrelated to what one is looking at. Has lots of case studies that make the argument that having a wide range of experiences can help with one's endeavors.
Kaethe Douglas
I am learning how poorly most college students do at solving problems outside their domain, and I am eager to read Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.

***

So much cool detail about people and work I was utterly, unfamiliar with. And I want to learn more about most of it, because I am like this except for accomplishing anything of genius. Up until now I figured it was the ADHD. At the moment though I am feeling good about my liberal arts approach to life.

Highly recommend
...more
Avolyn Fisher
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I'm struggling with how to rate this book because I think for many, it will be a 4. However if you've read Thinking Fast and Slow, Superforecasting, and Grit...and various other pop-sci books, there isn't a lot of new content here. Although I was encouraged to see the discussion around Ducksworth's Grit, to be rightly critical of that book.

If I look at this book from a purely subjective standpoint, I'd have to give it a resounding, "hell yeah!" Because I was the kid who played tuba AND was a va
...more
Greta
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”

What is better: getting a head start and narrowing down early on a specific field or exploring different options, gathering informations in different fields ? This book teaches so much about performance, success, education and not being afraid to quit the path you‘re on, if it‘s not the best fit for you. It's perfect for all students, insecure about switching their subjects or struggling with which major to choose. David Epstein looked at the succ
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Praxent: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World 1 20 Oct 24, 2019 02:38PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
  • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
  • The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
  • Stillness Is the Key
  • The Infinite Game
  • Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
  • The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
  • Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell
  • What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
  • The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
  • Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen
  • Never Split the Difference
  • Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems
  • The Body: A Guide for Occupants
See similar books…
906 followers
David Epstein is the author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, which has been translated in 21 languages. He has master's degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He lives in Washington, DC.

Articles featuring this book

If you follow the world of food, chances are you’ve heard of David Chang. The founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, Chang is a chef, TV...
52 likes · 8 comments
“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.” 27 likes
“Modern work demands knowledge transfer: the ability to apply knowledge to new situations and different domains. Our most fundamental thought processes have changed to accommodate increasing complexity and the need to derive new patterns rather than rely only on familiar ones. Our conceptual classification schemes provide a scaffolding for connecting knowledge, making it accessible and flexible.” 20 likes
More quotes…