I read Davis Epstein’s book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World last summer and I really liked it a lot. The book makes you rethink about the prevalent idea that specialization is the right way to build your career. Perhaps for some it actually is, but not necessarily for everybody. To be a generalist may be an initial disadvantage in a career or in life, but it may actually become a great source of strength over time, if properly handled.
The speech that David Epstein gave a few days ago ago at Brigham Young University, titled The Path of Most Resistance: How to Learn For a Changing World is based on the book, but it has its own specific focus.
I particularly appreciated his final comment, about the so-called “end of history illusion.”
“But there is something even more fundamental, it’s called “end of history illusion”. This is the psychological finding that at every point in life people agree that they changed a lot based on their experiences, and lessons, and everything else that happened in their lives: how they like to spend their time, what they think they are good and bad at, what they are interested in, what kind of world they want to live in. At every point in time we say ‘I changed a lot in the past, but not I am pretty much done’, and at every point we are wrong. We underestimate future change in ourselves at every time point in life.”
It has happened to me often and it happens to everybody. We cannot anticipate, or even imagine, future changes in ourselves and in the world around us, then we tend to minimize them, especially when we get older.
Quotes from Epstein’s book: