Tuesday, June 18, 2019
in conversation with Eric Barker
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$53 Reserved Section + book
$43 General Admission + Book
$20 General Admission
David Epstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. 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. In his new book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, he turns decades of self-help advice on its head. Self-styled performance gurus (and our parents!) have all told us to specialize early, stay the course, climb the ladder. But Epstein marshals a mountain of scientific research to argue that the most impactful inventors, athletes, artists, musicians and more are the ones who cross domains, rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area.
Eric Barker’s humorous, practical blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, presents science-based answers and expert insight on “how to be awesome at life.” Over 320,000 people subscribe to his weekly newsletter and his content is syndicated by Time magazine, The Week, and Business Insider. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, and the Financial Times. For more about Eric and his work visit: www.bakadesuyo.com
“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
“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
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.