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Range

How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Written by: David Epstein
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Range is the groundbreaking and exhilarating exploration into how to be successful in the 21st century, from David Epstein, the acclaimed author of The Sports Gene.

What if everything you have been taught about how to succeed in life was wrong?

From the ‘10,000 hours rule’ to the power of tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many hours of deliberate practice. And, worse, that if you dabble or delay, you'll never catch up with those who got a head start. 

This is completely wrong.

In this landmark audiobook, David Epstein shows that the way to excel is by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests - in other words, by developing range.

Studying the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors and scientists, Epstein discovered that in most fields - especially those that are complex and unpredictable - generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. They are also more creative, more agile and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see. Range proves that by spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to success rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area.

Provocative, rigorous and engrossing, Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience and interdisciplinary thinking in a world that increasingly demands hyperspecialization.

©2019 David Epstein (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

"David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong. I loved Range." (Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of Outliers)

What listeners say about Range

Average Customer Ratings
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IT changed the way I used to think.

loved the narrative and story, it changed the way I used to think. Last chapter encouraged me as well.

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Great book

I enjoyed listening to the book and found it to be very interesting with many detailed examples

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Everyone should read this.

Everyone should read this so that over time people who are starting late or have a “range” of skills, experiences or knowledge, are not scrutinised. This book perhaps validated my own path.

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federer over tiger any day.

loved the story, the connection to sport, the narration and the message for everyone, from parents to professionals, who are seeking answers to the questions around early specialization

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Headstarts are overarrated

One of the finest reads. Bursts a lot of myths about early specialization. Experiment as much as you can.

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Roger wins over Tiger

This book has further strengthened my belief that everything is possible with will power. To unlock the power within, one must not be fixated to someone else’s choice of career path. There could be only a few Tigers but millions of Rogers might go into oblivion if we follow tigers approach. It’s amazing to hear about Frances Hesselbein, Van Gogh, Darwin and how these personalities lived their dreams. Though I believe it’s not bad doing specialization. However, bringing specialized philosophy (so called experts who never trust an outsider might provide answers to his complex problem) harms more than the benefit’s one might achieve. I would recommend this book to those who believe that success can only be achieved by higher education, post graduate programs and a long spanned career in one domain. This book helps to come out of specialization linked conundrum for many who still follow specialization paradox. I myself see alignment with the principle underlined in this book. Sometimes It’s wise to be irrational and do experimentation, opening the boundaries to the unknown. This is what makes reading “Range” by David Epstein worth, as it pumps you to bring out the best in yourself and strive for what you always wanted to do.

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must read

I think all in leadership particularly in talent function should read this. busts lots of popular management myths. well researched. like most of academicians say people doesn't have interdisciplinary thinking which is a must for future challanges. parents force kids into established career s and they take double degrees and ultimately end up in unsatisfactory careers. nobody is allowed to meander . every age has a life goal in india.

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Life changing

Very relevant and thought provoking for a reading when you have just started your professional career.

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Malcolm Gladwell Outdone by Epstein!

𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠! - David Epstein 𝕄𝕒𝕝𝕔𝕠𝕝𝕞 𝔾𝕝𝕒𝕕𝕨𝕖𝕝𝕝 𝕆𝕦𝕥𝕕𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕓𝕪 𝔼𝕡𝕤𝕥𝕖𝕚𝕟! 𝕿𝖍𝖎𝖘 𝖎𝖘 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖒𝖔𝖘𝖙 𝖕𝖊𝖗𝖙𝖎𝖓𝖊𝖓𝖙 𝖇𝖔𝖔𝖐 𝖋𝖔𝖗 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖜𝖔𝖗𝖑𝖉 𝖜𝖍𝖎𝖈𝖍 𝖍𝖆𝖘 𝖆𝖑𝖗𝖊𝖆𝖉𝖞 𝖌𝖔𝖙 𝖎𝖓𝖙𝖔 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝕰𝖌𝖗𝖊𝖌𝖎𝖔𝖚𝖘𝖑𝖞 𝖂𝖎𝖈𝖐𝖊𝖉 𝕯𝖔𝖒𝖆𝖎𝖓 𝖔𝖋 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖜𝖔𝖗𝖘𝖙 𝖐𝖎𝖓𝖉!

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A valid topic but too stretched

The subject that David Epstein described is very relevant and he has brought in many real life examples to illustrate the point. However for me it was stretched too far. Could have been shorter. Overall the book is good. Narrator did a good job too.

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  • Panashe
  • 08-07-19

Hopeful message for the late bloomers

Great book with some fascinating insights about the benefits of experimenting with different fields. A lot of the content is covered in other books but it comes together nicely in Range.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sonali Correa
  • 19-07-20

Counter intuitive genius

There are many stories in the overarching theme of the book. The takeaway should not be narrow and simple as the narrative it debunks. 'Start early and specialize or you will be behind' is not supported by evidence. That is one take away. But there is much more. Breath of experience is important even in very specialized fields of knowledge like nobel science candidates. The common narrative in education institutions is go make yourself a specialist, needed and important, acomplish something and then you will feel good about yourself is terribly wrong. The advice should be changed for something like: experiment and test different things, let yourself time to really experience a variety before specializing in one thing. Even then, keep your interests broad and wide between no related disciplines you like. That will keep you from burnout and enrich you in ways no obvious even to you. That broader experience will make your contributions more original and impactful! A must re read. Doesn't exhausts it's content in one pass. Definetely will recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-20

Life changing

This is a book that everyone should read. Epstein’s advice, backed up with both data and anecdotes, are words which I wish I had understood when I was younger. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone

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  • Rodrigo Echeverri
  • 19-02-20

Fantastically counterintuitive

Epstein dares challenge the very principles of society’s revered academic system, which is built upon specialisation. He delightfully illustrates his point with several examples, in which achievements are reached only because of exposure to multi-disciplinary thinking. This book has made me reconsider my approach to the education of my child.

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  • Hari T
  • 30-06-19

One of the best books I have listened to

A very well composed tome which draws from different spheres of life into an impressive whole, this book should be compulsory reading at 2 points in life - before starting college and when you hit middle age. The 10 hours of listening that you invest in this will pay off in spades in later life.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-09-19

Fantastic - As a serial career changer, this has demolished my guilt and imposter syndrome that tends to accompany such a career

A tonic for those interested in everything not just something. Thank you David Epstein - Genius and timely

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rob B
  • 02-10-19

this book could be half the length

interesting concept but I had to give up reading as it just providing multiple examples to make the same point as the intro - stay broad to start with and then specialise later

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tyler
  • 16-08-19

Thought provoking

Great deal of detail and anecdotes to back up hypothesis. Personally came away with a changed view on specialisation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • R.
  • 04-07-19

Should have been a blog post

Another book that should have been a blog post with links to the examples used. Sadly, I can see this book being used by average performers to reassure themselves that it’s ok not to try because then they’d specialise, and that’s somehow bad.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Alessio Malizia
  • 16-12-19

Very interesting but high repetitive

Nice piece of work but too repetitive. Basically the whole book makes a case for a multidisciplinary approach to life and it all makes sense but after a couple of chapters it is basically repeating the same concept on and on again

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tommi Jokela
  • 05-10-19

Well written argument for broad knowledge

Intriguing perspective on how it might be better to broaden your knowledge rather than deepen it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marc
  • 28-09-19

The Wide World of Why to Wander

Epstein delivers a resonant and robust case for exploring the world as a Jack of All Trades rather than (it at least before) becoming a master of one. This book will challenge you and release you from rigid overspecialised assumptions. Tremendously fascinating.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-20

Incredible insight

Fascinating take on what defines success, going against the grain and accepted wisdom to uncover brilliant stories of range, and why breadth is such a vital ingredient in success (however you define it). Highly recommended

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  • Matthew Dashper-Hughes
  • 30-08-20

Smart and Insightful

The concept the book propounds is that hyper specialisation is, counter intuitively, unhelpful for productuvity and innovation in anything other than relatively 'kind' systems where there is relatively little change and there are a finite number of variables, so consistent patterns emerge. Generalists, polymaths, and late specialisers tend to produce better, more effective, and more innovative results where conceptual, unpredictable, and ambiguous challenges abound. This idea is relatively easy to get your head around, and some may find the content gets repetitive towards the back end of the book, but stick with it... The well researched stories that illustrate the underlying tenet are universally well told and compelling.

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  • David
  • 13-07-20

A compelling fantasy novel

I think my issue with this book is an issue I have with most books of this genre. There is a compelling question, drawing me in, with thoughtful arguments. But as soon as I leave Epstein’s world of ultra intelligent / effective / successful / perfect human case studies, and I try to fit his conclusions to the actual world that exists before me, it becomes apparent how vapid and meaningless his thesis is. Focusing exclusively on the 0.00001% of people who achieve greatness is a textbook example of confirmation bias. It doesn’t examine whether similar people who made similar decisions achieve abject failure or silent mediocrity. The longer the book went on, the less I was confident in his assertions, because even if he isn’t cherry-picking examples to fit what he wants to say, he’s certainly cherry-picking by focussing on people who have really made a name for themselves. And the longer the book went on, the less I was able to identify with his points, because his examples of stand-out people are by definition not most people, and surely not me. This book is a fantasy novel. Sure, it’s written in the style of pop psychology / sociology / business, but don’t be fooled, it’s still a fantasy novel. I enjoyed the main character, because I tend to be the sort of person that exhibits range in my life. Does that make me more likely to be successful? Probably not! Are you not that sort of person? It probably doesn’t matter! If you’re looking to get absorbed into an amazing world where everyone is Somebody Important And Amazing, this book is a real page-turner. And it does explore interesting questions in a digestible way. Who says fantasy novels can’t deal with real-world issues? I only advise against reading this under the impression it’s non-fiction. This book doesn’t tell us how the world, or humans, or you really work. It would be refreshing if authors like Epstein could be honest about this, but that’s not how this cottage industry works. When you close the pages of Range, no matter how enthralling a story, you must face the fact that your broom is certainly just a broom, and you are not Harry Potter.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-05-20

Too long for a simple idea

Go on youtube and listen to his talk. That should be enough to understand the point of the book. No need to read this

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  • Mr Ben HA Ramsden
  • 12-08-19

Best book that I have read in a while

Very readable, thoroughly researched and well argued. The one key theme is explored across multiple dimensions. Despite its length and single theme there is no fluff. Case studies are very engaging. I plan to re-listen immediately.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-20

Essential!

This book is an incredible asset, especially for high school and university graduates, and those who want a fulfilling life!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-06-20

Range is worth the listen

An approach to expanding your skill base and experiences that will help identify your purpose

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-20

Very uninspiring

This book sounds like it was narrated by a robot. Couldn’t the author narrate it? Aweful !

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  • Sam
  • 15-04-20

Great collection of anecdotes and discoveries

Great collection of anecdotes and discoveries all strung together by the thread of a diversifying what one does

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-20

Was the perfect audiobook to start a new semester

I listened to Range about a chapter a day for two weeks. For most of those days it was the most thoughful part. I found the ideas in this book to be immensely comforting, it made me want to push myself to explore .

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-02-20

Must read for any doctor or medical student

One of the best books I've read. Resonate with it highly. For any future medic, this is on par with House of God.

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  • danny
  • 04-01-20

great book especially if your a ranger

really enjoyed this, narrator is great. information well put together and wide ranging! highly recommend for people with varied interests or who have kids