Range by David Epstein


“Urgent and important. . . an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” —Daniel H. Pink“So much crucial and revelatory information about performance, success, and education.” —Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize. Plenty of experts argue that...

Details Range

Release DateMay 28th, 2019
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreNonfiction, Business, Psychology, Education, Self Help

Reviews Range

  • Michael Perkins
    The story of the new U.S. Open golf winner illustrates part of the thesis of this book. A range of experience is sometimes better than over-specialization. In the book, Roger Federer is another example.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/sp...=======================This passage describes a key finding that is central to the book....James Flynn, is a professor of political studies in New ZealandFlynn’s great disappointment is the degree to which ...
  • Mark
    Disclosure: I won this pre-release copy in a drawing from the publisher.The book wasn't badly written, but for me it was something of a slog. I've enjoyed similar books in this genre more, the sort of pop-psychology-self-help mashup including books like "Willpower" (Baumeister/Tierney), "The Upside of Down" (McArdle), "The Power of Habit" (Duhigg), among others. There was nothing distracting in the style of "Range" that failed to work for me. But...
  • Katy
    I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways
  • Lou
    Some non-fiction can be boring and even useless, but this is a work of non-fiction that everyone should read; I certainly got a lot out of it and feel many others will too. Offering a wide-ranging wealth of information and research Epstein shares data, as well as his opinion, on how to become and stay successful in a constantly evolving world. What surprised me a lot was how compulsively readable it was and despite being a work of non-fiction Eps...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Covers the idea of having a wide range of knowledge outside one's specialty helps people succeed. Often new ideas come from thinking analogically about things unrelated to what one is looking at. Has lots of case studies that make the argument that having a wide range of experiences can help with one's endeavors.
  • Mehrsa
    This book is a useful mythbuster--grit, 10,000 hours, deliberate practice, tiger moms--this book says forget all of that (*sort of). Try lots of things, read broadly, and fail lots of times. I agree with this formula for success. Specialization is boring. *I think there is something to being obsessive once you are in the right track. Once you figure out the project or sport, you need to focus. This doesn't go against the thesis of the book, but h...
  • Anmiryam
    Everyone--butcher, baker, candlestick maker; teacher, student, scientist, business analyst; parent, job hunter, retiree--will get something motivating and useful from this book. No matter where you are in life, you will see the world a bit differently after you read this energetic and energizing look at how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed, regardless of what field we are working in. Seriously, I haven't stopped recommending thi...
  • Josh
    One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein is, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein is about the latter half of that quote. Range introduces the concept of wicked domains (or as I like to them, reality) where you are faced with imperfect information and erratic feedback yet must somehow still devine a solution, preferably ...
  • Bjoern Rochel
    A good read in the style of "Team of Teams" or "Barking up the wrong tree". Debunks the general applicability of the 10000h rule and deliberate practice for knowledge work (e.g. the wicked world) and shows with a lot of case studies that often top performers are the result of a larger broad experimentation phase, followed by late specialization. I pretty much enjoyed all of them from Roger Federer, Vincent Van Gogh, Gunpei Yokoi (the Gameboy inve...
  • Pete
    Range : Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (2019) by David Epstein is an interesting book about the value of not being overly specialised and focused on one thing.The book starts by pointing out how Tiger Woods took up golf at an early age and how this example is picked by many as an example of how mastery of a subject needs to be done. Epstein compares this to Roger Federer who played many sports before focusing on tennis. Epstein st...
  • Catriona
    Experience is never wastedI found this riveting in all the best ways non-fiction can be: extremely readable, endlessly fascinating, thought provoking, leaves a lasting impression and you see the world a little differently on the other side of it - things once in darkness are illuminated. Personally, Epstein made me feel comforted that all was not lost if i hadn't completed my 10,000 hours in a highly specified domain by now and that a gradual whi...
  • Jennie
    3.5 stars. This ended up being very interesting and engaging. It definitely gave me a lot to think about, more than the typical pop psychology book. The author weirdly inserts himself in a few places and it wasn't really seamless in those areas, but he did do a good job of telling engaging stories. I think this book will change how I go about learning things in the future.
  • Mart
    Specialization. Expected by bosses, parents and university faculties. But does it work? There seems to be good scientific evidence to the contrary. Dabble in everything. Follow your curiosity. Leads to discoveries and is antifragile. Much recommended book by a great science journalist.
  • Erik Germani
    Like a Gladwell book, Range has a bunch of scientific anecdotes that would do well at a cocktail party. Which is perfect, because the warmly parental thesis statement is one that anyone will drink to. To wit: "don't worry if you aren't hyperspecialized, there's value in being a generalist." I found that advice timely, but the self-improvement monster in me didn't find a lot of red meat in here. Once I came to grips with that, I enjoyed the anecdo...
  • Thomas
    An enjoyable book - plenty of fascinating stories/studies and Epstein demonstrates plenty of range of his own (I enjoyed his earlier Sports Gene, but this book goes far beyond the world of sports, even if it starts there). I think there are two different books packed in here - one provides examples of people who have developed breadth thriving in different fields and explores some of the contours of what that looks like, and the sorts of "wicked"...
  • Rhys
    I enjoyed this book, advocating for more generalism in education, science, and other bastions of silo-ism and reductionism. It is a good antidote to Nichol's The Death of Expertise."Beneath complexity, hedgehogs tend to see simple, deterministic rules of cause and effect framed by their area of expertise, like repeating patterns on a chessboard. Foxes see complexity in what others mistake for simple cause and effect. They understand that most cau...
  • Minwoo
    Often when I learn new things, I find myself hearing contradicting claims. Specialization vs generalization is one of those topics where I've heard a lot of contradicting arguments, both side supplied by facts and captivating anecdotes. What I appreciated about this book is that it provided under what context each side can hold true. The delineation of "Kind" and "Wicked" environment provided an aha moment as to when each wisdom/axiom/perspective...
  • Liz
    This may not have needed to be book-length, but it is kindly ego-assuaging for those of us who feel like meandering generalists (or at least generalists within a specialty). I also cheered on the findings that children do just fine if they aren't pushed into violin, ballet, or travel soccer at the age of four. We should all be willing to try new things, accept failure, and spend more time collaborating with people who aren't just like us.
  • Joseph
    Felt it was a easy read with some very entertaining examples. The authors storytelling definitely draws you in and makes it difficult to put down. Instead of arguing against specialization the author points out where depth still works. But provides cautionary tales and environments where being a specialist could go very wrong. In extreme cases specialization has lead to death or at least been a main contributor. If anything these cautionary tales...
  • Phil Simon
    Epstein checks all of my boxes for a compelling text. First, he clearly did a great deal of research. Second, he is a gifted storyteller. Third, he supports his claims with plenty of data. For a long time I've argued for an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. Unfortunately, many higher-ed institutions discourages this at many levels. To this end, I hope that decision makers in colleges and universities heed Epstein's timely and essenti...
  • Benjamin
    As eye and ear catching as a Malcolm Gladwell book, but better researched and far, far more conscientious than any Gladwell I've ever read. Epstein, who comes to this book from journalism, in particular sports journalism, writes a series of brilliant articles, loosely coupled into a book, with a common theme of the benefits of general knowledge, experimentation and persistence, and change.
  • Christian Sodergren
    Lots of great stories but unsatisfying when it comes to making a claim for the central thesis.
  • Ivan
    A slog of a book. Not what I originally envisioned; it’s less practical and the research seems vague. Still, several helpful tidbits throughout. I just wish the takeaways for how to be a generalist had been more developed.
  • Joel Wentz
    This is a quite enjoyable book in the vein of Gladwell-style journalism/self-help/pop-psychology (though I would put it slightly higher than much of Gladwell's work, who I also generally like). It's a breezy read, full of interesting anecdotes and well-synthesized research, that makes a good counter-argument to the currently fashionable 10,000 hours/grit/specialization line of thinking.As someone with a "generalist" personality type, and who has ...
  • Hariharan Gopalakrishnan
    2.5-3 stars.Moderately interesting, but light-weight and flawed read. Fails to consider some obvious counter-arguments to the thesis arguing for the conscious development of 'range' - for eg: the increased 'range' of a person's skillset could just be a signal of innate ability and not an easily tunable factor. Also, my understanding of the current state of research in educational psychology is that there is no consensus around a case of actual `f...
  • Randall Wallace
    I’ve staked my entire adult life on following the generalist’s path instead of the specialist’s, so I hoped this book would answer my basic questions: What about the role Neuroplasticity plays with keeping the following people analytically extra-sharp: The Polymath, the Multi-Instrumentalist, and those like Noam Chomsky, composer Elliot Carter, Aristotle, Leonard da Vinci, or Bertrand Russell all deeply learned in multiple fields (range), y...
  • Sudheendra Fadnis
    The book Range-Why generalists triumph in a specialized world is a book that questions the very foundations of specialization. As a society we are obsessed with specialization of skills. Our world is still living on the foundations of the Industrial model, and it has become outdated long ago. But, unfortunately we are unable to get rid of the cult of specialization because of the thinking that why be a generalist when you can be a purist? And, th...
  • Jim Robles
    Five stars! Read everything. It is all useful.One of the things I lived through, and benefited from, during my time at Boeing is the rise of the deep generalist. You cannot integrate disparate technologies unless you understand all of them.We also saw that innovative solutions come from disciplines purportedly far from aerospace."Introduction: Roger vs. Tiger" (1)"I dove into work showing that highly credentialed experts can become so narrow-mind...
  • Alison Jones
    Stories of child prodigies are compelling, as is the 10,000-hour Rule: enough practice, Malcolm Gladwell argued, and anyone can master any skill. There’s a glorious simplicity in them, and we applaud the focus and dedication of these superhuman achievers. It can leave those of who us can’t lay claim to such single-minded commitment feeling like under-achievers. If you’re more of a generalist, if you try out lots of different sports or even ...