David Epstein is an investigative journalist and author who is fascinated by extraordinary people. Are they born this way? Is it their upbringing? A lot of “hard work?”
Modern thinking about this, spearheaded by Malcom Gladwell, points to “10,000 hours” of narrow, focused work. Yo-Yo Ma and Serena Williams have been practicing their craft since the womb.
But David discovered a different paradigm: That the most successful professionals and entrepreneurs were not narrowly focused on practice, but had spent long portions of childhood “sampling” and exploring. By combining skills from many arenas, they become far more adaptable in the long run than those who stay narrow – and ultimately burn out.
David’s latest book is called “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.” His thesis has huge ramifications for education and career training, and as you’ll hear, he even went toe-to-toe with Gladwell on the topic.