David Epstein is an investigative reporter at ProPublica. He is the author of two books: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (2019), and The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance (2013).
Journalist and bestselling author David Epstein talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his most recent book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. In it, he argues that the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists are more likely to be dabblers, rather than people who set out to do what they do best from a young age — and, in fact, the people who have highly specialized training from an early age tend to have lower lifetime earnings overall. He explains how the wrong mentality took hold, how its effects ripple into the professional world, and the challenges facing teachers and parents trying to set young people on the right track early. Plus: How to shift into the right mindset to become a successful generalist, and why you don't have to do that while you're in your 20s.Featuring:David Epstein (@DavidEpstein), author, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized WorldHost:Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-largeMore to explore:Subscribe for free to Reset, Recode's new podcast that explores why — and how — tech is changing everything.About Recode by Vox:Recode by Vox helps you understand how tech is changing the world — and changing us.Follow Us:Newsletter: Recode DailyTwitter: @Recode and @voxdotcom Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Episode 117 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with author David Epstein about what the world’s most successful people have in common. He discovers that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are the ones primed for success. “As computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans,” says David, “people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.” David’s conclusions run counter to the prevailing view among “experts” who 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,” they say “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, paints a very different picture. In fact, it shows that early specialization is actually the exception, not the rule. In his research, David Epstein discovers that while generalists often do find their path late—juggling many interests rather than focusing on one—they arrive at their destination with a higher degree of “fit” after undergoing a prolonged sampling period. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see. In their conversation, David Epstein makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. He explains why failing a test is the best way to learn and that frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. He gives example after example of how some of the most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. In a 21st century increasingly dominated by automation and the specter of artificial intelligence, David believes that people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive. You can access the rundown to this week’s episode, along with a transcript to Demetri’s conversation with David through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application, allowing you to listen in on the rest of Demetri and David’s conversation. Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod
David is a New York Times bestseller author (The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance) and volunteers his time at the Pat Tillman Foundation and Classroom Champions.His newest book is Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.David was previously a science and investigative reporter at ProPublica and a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he helped break the story that revealed Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had used steroids.David also has master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism.We discuss:Do you find that there are people that naturally want to change things up when it comes to their career?How do you solve for "Match quality" at a young age or early in your career?What advice do you have to help people "look to the long term"?Become a Patron!Help us grow and become a Patron today: https://www.patreon.com/smartpeoplepodcastSponsors:Audible - Start listening with a 30-day Audible trial. Choose 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals absolutely free. Visit audible.com/smart or text smart to 500-500.Outlier.org - Sign up for Calculus I or Intro to Psychology. Learn more or register today at Outlier.org.Donate:Donate here to support the show!
David Epstein is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, which focuses on re-establishing the game-plan for achieving excellence. The broadly accepted belief is that this path is one of focus, deliberate practice and early specialization, however David shows us that there is a better way which flips this on it’s head. Join us to find out how among the detours, experimentation and variety of experiences, we can triumph.Find out more about David Epstein and his work at www.DavidEpstein.comFollow David on Twitter as @DavidEpsteinListener TribeWe have our own private social network for listeners of the Unmistakable Creative podcast. You can meet other listeners, discuss episodes, and we even have the opportunity to run live Q&A’s. Just visit unmistakablecreative.com/tribe to sign up. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Dave sits down with ‘Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World’ author David Epstein to discuss the myth of early specialization, the virtues of interdisciplinary training, and how this can all apply to the culinary industry.