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Mustachian Community => Mustachian Book Club => Topic started by: rudged on September 22, 2019, 01:28:12 PM

Title: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (2019)
Post by: rudged on September 22, 2019, 01:28:12 PM
I decided to read Range because I was intrigued by the title and figured it might be of interest to members of the FIRE community. The basic thesis of the book is that as much as we tout the accomplishments of those who are highly specialized, as a strategy for succeeding it is, if anything, misguided. The book begins with multiple examples of individuals who started specializing at a very early age (e.g. Tiger Woods the professional golfer), and points out for most fields it is simply not the case that they are dominated by people who identify a passion early in life and spend the balance becoming ever more good at it. If you study great musicians, for instance, you find that the very best often trained for years on multiple instruments before they ultimately focused on one. While specializing might be a good approach to take to become, for instance, a chess master, the reason why has more to do with the relatively bounded nature of the set of problem tasks associated with becoming good at chess. Most of life's activities are much more open ended, and people who can think outside of the box are at a tremendous advantage.

The book is filled with largely anecdotal evidence and I have to share that if you come to the book relatively sympathetic to his overall thesis, you probably aren't going to get much out of reading it. Lots of examples with relatively little at the end in the way of drawing conclusions about how one should conduct one's life in light of the insights provided. I will say that the one point he makes that resonated with me was drawing attention to how, if you ask a person if he or she is the same person (in terms of interests and values) they were 20 years ago, 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, they will deny it. But these same people will nevertheless claim that their interests and personality in the near and even distant future will remain the same. We seem to have blinders on when it comes to thinking about our future selves. A central assumption of the FIRE community appears to be a conviction that it is a mistake to focus in on one career to the exclusion of pursuing other interests. Financial independence will allow you to not only explore other interests you have now, but also those that you will have that you may not even be aware of.   
Title: Re: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (2019)
Post by: Wrenchturner on October 18, 2019, 03:13:35 PM
This sounds relevant to me!  I'm high in openness so I get...distracted easily.  It has its perks but it does impact my career dynamics.  I'll have to check it out.