Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Riverhead. May 2019. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9780735214484. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735214491. PSYCH
Epstein follows up The Sports Gene, which explored the roots of elite sport performance, with this intriguing analysis of successful artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, scientists, and athletes. The author's revelation is that generalists, not specialists, are more primed to excel, with generalists often finding their path late and participating in many interests. The author's refreshing viewpoint is based on deep research into what characterizes successful professional performance. Instead of intense specialization, Epstein suggests professionals strive to cultivate inefficiency, fail tests in order to learn, and explore various career scenarios, arguing that deep knowledge in a single area can limit a person's agility and creativity. This will likely stir controversy in the field of professional sports, but the push to focus early and narrowly extends well beyond sports, says the author, as evidenced in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and Matthew Syed's Bounce.
VERDICT All readers eager to look into the next trench over for innovative ideas to solve their problems will welcome this remarkable, densely packed work that will prove essential for all university libraries supporting AAA level athletics programs, colleges of business, and human resource development.

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