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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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Informational , read with patience !

Good read on examples from different walks of life , but could have done better on synthesising implications to bring the argument in a clearer way .

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  • Dk
  • 23-03-21

A well researched book that makes a clear point

This book is a balanced one that argues for broader experience but does not go fully against specialization. Epstein convincingly argues that the most wicked problems or most novel solutions will emerge not from hyper specialists (I-shaped learners) but generalists with feisty in one or two fields (T-shaped learners). A must read for students and faculty, as well as parents.

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wonderful fresh perspective.

Made me realise there is place for everyone in this world. some of the best pathbreaking changes were brought about not by niche players but inter-disciplinary wanderers like me

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great book with amazing anecdotes

a very different perspective to other self help / productivity books. could relate to some of the stories.

could have been a tad shorter. the last few chapters just repeated the same message with additional case studies.

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A very useful book

loved it... its an eye opener. the examples provided aboit various achievers are very interesting... Thanks.

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I am already a jack of all trade.

This book was for self validation because of my inability to specialise and did good job for what I was seeking.

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Wonderful book

A fanstastic book ! Dispels the myth that an early headstart in a domain is quintessential for success. Enchanting read which illumines and broadens your perspective.

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Great book

Enjoyed listening over audible. Great examples to showcase the differences between Specialists and Generalists. thanks.

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  • Km
  • 23-02-21

More people need to read this

Disclaimer: I’ve been a generalist all my life so there’s definitely some confirmation bias here.

I wonder why all the case studies mentioned in this book aren’t more popular. Its an understatement to say that the world is moving towards hyper specialization despite that being necessary only in a fraction of those fields. I’ve personally seen how in financial services, people enter with a degree in economics or finance (for the most part) and a huge majority of people only move within that industry, if at all. This is despite some of the greatest investors emphasizing on Range (Charlie Munger and the latticework of mental models). I’ve also seen this apply in many areas of engineering and design. Yet routinely we want to hire people with the SAME kind of experience as they would need in the role they’re getting hired for. It’s high time we change this and open our minds and world because the problems of tomorrow aren’t going to be solved by habits from yesterday. And David makes this point very clear. Some sections might be a bit too much detail and wordy but it is bearable. Bill Gates on his review has said this book undermines specialists which is somewhat true but he addresses that well both in the beginning and at various points later. A good read, a bit wordy but great perspective and very informative.

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This is a book I'll cherish and revisit time and again

It's an understatement to say that I loved this book. There were moments where I teared up.

I have always been a generalist and although I studied engineering and I work as an engineer, within the field, I'm a generalist. I've always felt the urge to expand my breadth and not the depth, unlike everyone around me. It made me wonder if the path that I'm heading on is meant to leave me behind everyone else.

That was when I picked up this book. Thanks to Bill Gates suggestion on his YouTube channel. It made me realize the path that I was on wasn't anything to be ashamed of. This book would be something I'd recommend to anyone.

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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.

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  • Satria S.
  • 07-03-21

Brilliant!

I highly recommend this book. It is now in my top 10 recommended books of all time!

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  • Ashlea
  • 16-02-21

Fantastic...

just read it... it will expand narrow views on what it takes to be successful!

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  • RMR
  • 10-02-21

Necessary for anyone with ambition or self doubt

I loved the variety of case studies and was surprised by the number of people I thought were specialists who I now know we're generalists.

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  • Wayne Phillips
  • 31-01-21

Life changing and life affirming

This books helped me at a period in life where I left my career comfort zone and decided to Explore a carrier in a new domain. Ive been successful as a Special but at peace with adding Range so late in life, so keep growing and be more diverse and hopefully innovate

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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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  • 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

6 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

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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.

9 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

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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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  • 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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  • Craig Caffrey
  • 09-04-21

Made me feel a lot better about myself

This is the perfect book for those of us with no clearly defined career path and/or no idea what we want to do with our lives.

I do feel that, as many others have said, this book could have been much shorter, and some of the examples are perhaps a bit drawn out to bump up the word count. But the overall message that is conveyed makes it all worth it. It has given me a whole new outlook on who I am as a person, and a renewed confidence for my working life moving forward.

I would recommend this book to anyone of any age and/or background, but particularly young people coming out of high school or college. Specialisation is great, but by no means necessary.

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  • Maria Fernandez
  • 08-04-21

It should have been 3 hours long instead of 10

The core idea is good, but the anecdotes/examples go on for far too long and in excruciating detail.

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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
  • 20-03-21

Fascinatingly thought provoking

An exceptional listen, full of information and examples to make your mind wonder off on a path beating to a different kind of drum than the every day world. The main premise, being more of a generalist then a specialist is an intriguing idea and one that is slowly fading in the world where specialists are sought after the most. While the book dives into detail of incredibly successful individuals, groups and companies that utilise range, it does also show examples of every day workers, such as a plumber, solving complex medical questions. It is all about seeing the world from as many perspectives as possible. While no one is expected to just float around doing random things for 20 years, I personally believe this is quite applicable in every day life as simple tasks and challenges you attempt (as simple as fixing a broken door, cooking, taking a different path to work and observing the world) can broaden your horizons immensely.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-02-21

loved it

Great book. i would have liked to see more business examples and less science examples.

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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