If you haven’t read Range, by David Epstein (affiliate), you need to. It will change the way you think about thinking.
Most of the world holds the notion that experts are what we need, people who are hyper specialized. Ten thousand hours are what it takes to succeed, is the belief (it’s what I believed). They are the authorities; they are the ones who will change the world, cure cancer, untangle the perplexing complexities of the universe, push us into the future. But that often isn’t true.
Range delves into that. It is an amazing exploration and explanation of how you can become great at something, and it’s surprising.
The anecdotes he uses are compelling. Some of the most accomplished people in the world became great in unexpected ways. They started their craft, sport, education, much later than you think was possible to rise to the level they did. They will inspire you.
For those of you who are in midlife like me, life isn’t over. Some have recreated themselves, learned a musical instrument well enough to play professionally, started high growth businesses, lived a whole new life later in life. It’s possible. It’s in the book.
When I read it, I felt like I had new life breathed into me, allowing me to see my potential, abilities, and future anew. It gave me hope.
You see, I’ve had a windy and strange career. I hopped and bopped around: ministry, data-entry, banking, business, entrepreneur, creative strategist are the positions I’ve held. Now I blog, too. Yes, strange, I know.
And I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I was insufficient because I was the farthest thing from a specialist. If I had ten thousand hours in anything, it was changing course, which I believed couldn’t be valuable.
But Epstein helped me see that I was wrong. He made me realize that my disparate experiences are a virtue, not a vice.
They are what help me add value because I can borrow from one experience and provide a fresh view in a completely different area. That’s what has helped me survive, even thrive. It’s what helps me ideate for my clients, start a business, think.
However, Range isn’t just for generalists. If you are a specialist who wants to find new, fresh ways of thinking, read this book.
Or if you are a person who wants to make a change or has changed a lot and wonder what good you can create in the world, Range will open your eyes.
Parents, if you’re wondering how to help your children succeed, this is incredibly insightful. It’s helping me reframe how I deal with my kids.
If nothing else, this book (affiliate) will stretch the way you think.
It will give you range.