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Range

How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (605 ratings)

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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)

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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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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

4 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

7 people found this helpful

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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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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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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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For Every Late Bloomer, Generalist & Academic

As an intelligent 51 year old generalist who has yet to bloom, I cannot recommend this book enough. It should be required reading for ALL parents, teachers and anyone involved with the development of people under 30.

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Brilliant - Essential for Study or Career Guidance

This book changed some of my lifelong attitudes to education and career. Every teenager (and parent) should read it, but it has value for all ages.

It dispels the myth of conventional views that education and careers need to specialise to obtain the best results. Quite the opposite, in fact. Each chapter exposes the deep flaws of specialisation, and presents a compelling case that generalisation is of far more value - to the world and to individuals.

In fact, generalisation is shown to be the key behind the majority of innovations and success stories throughout history - despite popular myth believing otherwise. The argument is demonstrated by convincing informative data as well as engaging anecdotal evidence to keep the reader interested.

I marked it down one star because the first 3 or 4 chapters really dragged, and almost caused me to quit through boredom. They were repetitive and contained more detail than was necessary to make their point. The narrator is excellent in diction but his voice is not the warmest or most engaging.

I'm so glad I stuck with it, becwuse the rest was brilliant. Please don't be put off by the first few chapters because this book is brilliant, fascinating, and essential for the wider world to take note of.

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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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  • 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.