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Publisher's Summary

The number one New York Times best seller that has all America talking: as seen/heard on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Morning Joe, CBS This Morning, The Bill Simmons Podcast, Rich Roll, and more.

“If you’re a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you.” (Bill Gates)

“The most important business - and parenting - book of the year.” (Forbes)

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

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

“So much crucial and revelatory information about performance, success, and education.” (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet)

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. 

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, and scientists. He discovered that in most fields - especially those that are complex and unpredictable - generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.

©2019 David Epstein (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Will Damron narrates this fast-paced and highly engaging work of nonfiction - essentially a love letter to liberal education.... Damron connects well with listeners.... Teachers, students, parents, managers, and CEOs will all benefit from listening." (AudioFile Magazine)

“For reasons I cannot explain, 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, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

Range is a convincing, engaging survey of research and anecdotes that confirm a thoughtful, collaborative world is also a better and more innovative one.” (NPR)

“An assiduously researched and accessible argument for being a jack of all trades.” (O Magazine, Best Nonfiction Books Coming in 2019) 

Featured Article: 20 Best Psychology Audiobooks


Everyone is affected by human psychology and learning about the field is not only interesting; it can also impact our development. Comprehending psychology is a way for us to gain greater understanding of ourselves and others—whether it’s through basic connection or a deeper dive into our psyche. We’ve put together the 20 best psychology audiobooks to help you master the workings of the human mind and keep your thinking sharp, insightful, and aware.

What listeners say about Range

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If you're highly curious, read this

Who will like this book
* If your friends would describe you as highly curious, you’ll like this book
* If you’re an investor, a business owner, a researcher, a scientist, a musician, a writer, a director, an athlete, or really anyone dealing with complex questions or seeking world-class achievement, you’ll like this book
* If you care about doing the most good for the world and maximizing your positive impact on the world, you’ll like this book
* If you’ve thought about how to increase innovation and problem solving in the world, you’ll like this book
* If you’ve thought about what makes great inventors or innovators great, and how to identify and encourage world-class talent, you’ll like this book
* If you like books like “Sapiens,” “Poor Charlie’s Almanack,” “Elephant in the Brain,” “Principles,” you’ll like this book
* If you have ADHD, you’ll like this book
* If your job or passion involves trying to accurately forecast the future, you’ll like this book

The benefits you’ll get from this book
* You’ll see how to achieve more, professionally
* You’ll understand the ways your understanding of the 10,000 Hour rule has been wrong
* You’ll better understand the path to world-class achievement
* You’ll better understand how to spot potential world-class achievers
* You’ll better understand how to forecast the future
* You’ll better understand how to solve complex challenges where the answers aren’t obvious, both in your work and personal life

Conclusion
If you think that you'll benefit from it based on my above notes, I recommend buying it. If you're on the fence, listen to interviews with the author either on the "Invest Like The Best" or the "Econtalk" podcasts to get a better sense.

After you read it
Search YouTube and watch the talk called “Greatness Cannot Be Planned.” It extends the ideas from this book in a brilliant way.
If you like the Greatness Cannot Be Planned, then you’ll also enjoy the following books: “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” “Where Good Ideas Come From,” and the chapter on the evolution of technology from “The Evolution of Everything.”
Also search google for the blog post “Focus May Be Your Worst Enemy in Biotech R&D” — it also resonates with the ideas from this book.

P.S. If you’re a curious person, and you probably are because you’re looking at books and reading the reviews, definitely get this book!
P.P.S. This book is the next “Sapiens.”

129 people found this helpful

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Anecdotes Around an Assertion

Apologies about alliteration, but this is one of those books that uses a mess of examples to drive home a general point. The narrator does an acceptable job delivering a sometimes interesting series of accounts that essentially state that specialists get bogged in their field while generalists drive real change. It will make you feel good if you’re the latter and it will offend you if that the former. As a former NPS ranger who has applied a natural history degree to the tech world, I enjoyed it, but I’m exactly the type who this book should please.

18 people found this helpful

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Excellent read for 50 somethings like myself who has peaked in one field but is far from done in contributing to this world.

I am 50 something and her and CEO and people keep asking me what do I do now that I’ve peaked. I am nowhere close to being done and my contributing to my country, people of Guam or family. This book is in inspiration to all of us who have meandered our way through our lives to relative success but still feel like Caesar that our life has just begun!!

14 people found this helpful

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Recommended to overbearing parents who think a head start in everything is the answer

Great book, especially today with so many soon-to-be parents and new parents planning, waiting on long lists and paying exorbitant $ on day care, with the hopes of giving their child a “head start.” Same is true for the parents putting young children in camps and paying professional coaches to teach them sports. This author debunks these approaches to instead focus on getting a broad array of experiences and allowing uncoached play first before specializing and formal training. After all, he says, you don’t know what your natural skills and interests will be until much later in life. The author does a great job of explaining that skills you’ve gathered in areas unrelated to the field you ultimately focus on is never wasted. It adds to your understanding and gives you a breadth of tools to utilize. It gives you Range.

Lastly, I don’t understand reviews that say “it could have been shorter” because the authors point was made much earlier. The stories he shared were so fascinating that I couldn’t care less if his thesis was clear in the first chapter. If you enjoy books and learning stop trying to hack knowledge. If you read through the entire book he made this point as well. It’s a lifelong journey. Slow down and enjoy!

7 people found this helpful

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Generally Speaking…

As someone who has a vast amount of hobbies and interests I found Range to be a very well informed look at the idealized nature of success based on having a wealth of experience to draw upon. Epstein is a wonderful writer whom I have enjoyed since his time at Sports Illustrated and Will Damron did a great job narrating the book. If you are someone in a field where innovation is the order of the day this book is for you. If you work in HR, Management, or College admissions, this is the book for you. Understanding how to look at all the salient data points to see the full story of a problem, product, or most importantly a person is broken down in Range to help you find the most successful teams in the last place you'd think to look.

11 people found this helpful

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Gladwell-Esque Supplement to Fuzzy and the Techie

3.5 — I can't help but think of this in relation to The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World. Both address a similar idea, but with with slightly different focuses. Range was more personal, sharing case studies of individuals who got late starts or hopped across industries/careers/specializations. Stylistically, it's one of those Gladwell-esque books that follows the case-study-illustrating-a-broader-lesson formula. What has stuck with me from The Fuzzy and the Techie, in contrast, was the more societal stuff: how some of the jobs we think of as most secure (STEM, coding, etc.) may actually be vulnerable as AI and automation advance, whereas cross-disciplinary, expansive, critical thinking-oriented skill sets will be in demand (because those functions simply can't be replicated by computers). On that front, I thought Fuzzy was stronger, but Range was a great supplement, particularly in its explanation of "kind" vs. "wicked" learning environments and those implications. The case studies were interesting, too, running the gamut from Roger Federer to musically virtuousic brothel orphans.

10 people found this helpful

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Eye opening for all ADD & folks with multiple interests

Interested in more than one thing? Here’s the book to save your self image, give you avenues to get better and learn how to produce breakthroughs through diversity of interests.
I enjoyed every chapter on its own and all together as a book. Highly recommended and very easy to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ST
  • 06-05-19

I wish I had this book 10 years ago

Having been raised, and currently living, in an environment dominated by the philosophy of “Grit” and the “10,000 hour rule”, this book is a refreshing look at those who have thrived on the other end of that spectrum. I wish this book was written 10 years ago; it would have saved me a lot of time and grief.

14 people found this helpful

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A gem worth 6 out of 5 stars

Wow. The book description does not come close to justifying the depth, importance, knowledge value, quality of writing AND narration, breadth of life and career applicability, insight, credibility, and even the level of entertainment contained herein. Epstein did a stellar job of painting a complete picture of how we think, problem solve, interact, learn, grow, and progress in life. Showing the necessity of continuous analytical curiosity and critical thinking development.

This book contains mountains of important lessons, perfectly curated to provide a complete, deep understanding of our skill sets in the world. I have a top five reading list in psychology, critical thinking, statistics, and philosophy.. this book thoroughly competes with the entire combination of my essential reads.

I could go on and on. But I’ll end with this, if you have any interest in deep learning and critical thinking, this book is my #1 recommendation for most important work of the decade.

6 people found this helpful

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  • KE
  • 06-21-19

Interesting

Interesting content, but falls short of proving the case that one is better off embracing being a generalist today to "triumph" (present tense) as the subtitle suggests. It rather makes an interesting case as to why generalists should be more valued than they currently are.

6 people found this helpful