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Publisher's Summary

The instant Sunday Times top 10 and New York Times best seller.

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/Mckinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2019.

A Financial Times Essential Reads of 2019 pick.

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize. From the ‘10,000 hours rule’ to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialisation 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 book, David Epstein shows you that the way to succeed 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 demonstrates why in most fields - especially those that are complex and unpredictable - generalists, not specialists are primed to excel. No matter what you do, where you are in life, whether you are a teacher, student, scientist, business analyst, parent, job hunter, retiree, you will see the world differently after you've listened to Range. You'll understand better how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed. You'll see why failing a test is the best way to learn and why frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, Range shows how people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive and why spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to your success and how to achieve it.

©2019 David Epstein (P)2019 Penguin Random House LLC

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)

"It’s a joy to spend hours in the company of a writer as gifted as David Epstein." (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet."

"Urgent and important...an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance." (Daniel H. Pink)

What listeners say about Range

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All life is an experiment!

The examples and phenomenons discussed the book ensure you remain perpetually engrossed. I guess those of us who had circuitous careers will definately love this book.

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Thought provoking narrative

I was found that the research and the references to other sources very convincing and laid on in a very interesting flow. I found at several places feeling I agreed and could relate to what he was saying but always dismissed them as anomalies. It was quite gratifying to hear him convince you otherwise. Lot of interesting points for people interested in teaching or the aspects of learning. I felt at first the title doesn’t tell you that it’s as much about skill building as it is about application is much wider range of fields that I had expected.

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Very pertinent perspective for today's world

Every Generalist will feel good about reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the various arguments made across different contexts to urge people to take a systems view instead of a specific view.

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Fascinating book!

I believe I am the quintessential generalist...and I can relate to this so much!! Loved the examples....

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Something that reframes your thinking

This is a great book. it really reframed my thinking about specialization and experimentation, in career. A must read for everyone.

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  • RJ
  • 04-10-20

a very important counter intuitive book

it's a brilliant book. gives you hope if you are, like me, believe in intellectual meandering. you have time and probably better positioned for breakthrough if you keep exploring your intellectual curiosity. it also ends with great advice: don't feel behind. it's akin to what I believe that life is a single person game.

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eye opener

I always believed in early specialization and improving efficiencies. this book has given a fresh perspective of exploring diverse areas of interests and develop the ability to connect far off dots. thanks David Epstein!

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Do NOT miss at any cost

One of the most insightful books ever. Makes a very pertinent point. A must read.

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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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  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Roseygirl13
  • 18-01-21

Wide ranging examples, easy listen

Great tone and speed, examples were well founded, researched and personalised to appeal to a wide range of listeners

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-01-21

Always intersting and insightful

Especially since being an expert may soon be detrimental to a career and leads many to slog through a life they never wanted experiencing societal createyths of life crises time after time generation after generation

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  • Saleha
  • 23-12-20

Awesome insight!

Absolutely loved it! This is an amazing book and most encouraging! The real life examples and stories provide a great insight to what I thought was 'taboo' in the current world.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-09-20

one of my most valuable and enjoyable

excellent. well done David. Thank you for the extra range that you have given my brain.

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  • Emmanuel Tarfa
  • 27-09-20

Amazing book

A great Recommendation for all ...The ideas discussed should be applied in education and government.

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  • Sagar
  • 27-09-20

Waste of time

The entire book could have been just one line - there are benefits to being a generalist rather than a specialist - and you would get it. The book stretched this way too much through unnecessary examples and stories that are hard to buy into or empathize with.

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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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  • HM
  • 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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-01-21

Great book

Everyone should read this book. I believe it can change how we see education, business and self development.

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  • Alexander Pettit
  • 05-01-21

Excellent narration. Concepts well explained.

Range provides evidence that specialising is not the only way to succeed. Valuable and timely.

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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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  • Mark Greenmantle
  • 15-12-20

Should be required reading for any students.

Loved this. Range put into context much of what some of my favourite mentors recommended with diversification of skills, experience and studies, with superb lessons for any readers keen to succeed in any complex field.

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  • MICHAEL COLLINS
  • 14-12-20

Insightful

Range provided insights into the benefits of broad experience versus narrow focus in a number of fields specifically its applicability in the areas of ‘wicked’ domains. I found it particularly helpful when applied to my own life’s journey and the diverse career path I’ve undertaken,. A very poignant quote was to compare your own progress to where you were yesterday and not to where someone else is today.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-11-20

Utterly life changing

sincerely one of the best books I have ever read. as someone who already has a broad range of interests, and has never been entirely comfortable with that fact, the book served to reassure me that maybe it isn't such a bad thing after all. give it a read if you're the sort of person who wants to have their world view shattered by a book in the first 30 minutes of reading, only to have it pieced together a little better than it was before by the end of the book.

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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