Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World

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Jordan Harbinger 342 with David Epstein


I have often wondered why I struggled at school and hated it so much. I put it down to my stutter making life unbearable as a child due to incessant name calling as children are prone to do. However it would seem there is more to it than that. I just didn’t enjoy focusing on specific subjects and could never keep my mind focused on subjects I had zero interest in.

Based on this experience, I have always encouraged young people to follow various paths until they find what they are interested in. To not necessarily make a decision at 18 years of age on a university path and locking themselves into a destination which they may not want or enjoy.

It seems this direction through intuition has some grounding in scientific research, as explained in yet another eye opening informative discussion from Jordan Harbinger. In this episode he interviews writer and investigative reporter David Epstein, author of the book in the title of this blog. In this podcast you will learn:

  • What are the pros and cons of specialisation vs generalisation?
  • Why sacrificing depth for breadth in the learning process is likely an advantage to most.
  • Why people who make creative contributions tend to have more hobbies and wider interests outside of their work.
  • The hazards of choosing to specialise between the ages of 18-29.
  • Why serial innovators have a need to learn across multiple domains and communicate with people who have expertise outside their comfort zone.
  • Why people with wide ranging interests contribute more ideas to businesses than people with specialised interests.
  • Why self taught people tend to experiment more and come to unique solutions for problems that specialists overlook.

Listen, learn and enjoy……….

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