Range

WHY GENERALISTS TRIUMPH IN A SPECIALIZED WORLD

ABOUT THE BOOK

What's the most effective path to success in any domain? It's not what you think.

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.

Reviews

...the storytelling is so dramatic, the wielding of data so deft and the lessons so strikingly framed that it’s never less than a pleasure to read.

New York Times 

Mr. Epstein makes a well-supported and smoothly written case on behalf of breadth and late starts.

Wall Street Journal 

Epstein is meticulous and spends a great deal of time giving credit to dissenters where credit is due....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

[Range] upends conventional wisdom about what it takes to succeed in postmodernity.

Quartz

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, bestselling author of Blink and Outliers

It’s a joy to spend hours in the company of a writer as gifted as David Epstein. And the joy is all the greater when that writer shares so much crucial and revelatory information about performance, success, and education.

Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet 

A goldmine of surprising insights. Makes you smarter with every page.

James Clear, bestselling author of Atomic Habits

In a world that’s increasingly obsessed with specialization, star science writer David Epstein is here to convince you that the future may belong to generalists. It’s a captivating read that will leave you questioning the next steps in your career—and the way you raise your children.

Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Range elevates Epstein to one of the very best science writers at work today. The scope of the book — and the implications — are breathtaking. I find myself applying what I've learned to almost every aspect of my life.

Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of Tribe, War, and The Perfect Storm

I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons—but really wants to learn the drums; to any programmer who secretly dreams of becoming a psychologist; to everyone who wants humans to thrive in an age of robots. Range is full of surprises and hope, a 21st century survival guide.

— Amanda Ripley, bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World

Range will force you to rethink the nature of learning, thinking, and being, and reconsider what you thought you knew about optimal education and career paths—and how and why the most successful people in the world do what they do. It's one of the most thought-provoking and enlightening books I've read.

Maria Konnikova, bestselling author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game, professional poker player

For too long, we’ve believed in a single path to excellence. Start early, specialize soon, narrow your focus, aim for efficiency. But in this groundbreaking book, David Epstein shows that in most domains, the way to excel is something altogether different. Sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and experiment relentlessly. Epstein is a deft writer, equally nimble at telling a great story and unpacking complicated science. And Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.

Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of When and Drive

Brilliant, timely, and utterly impossible to put down. If you care about improving skill, innovation, and performance, you need to read this book.

— Daniel Coyle, bestselling author of The Culture Code

An assiduously researched and accessible argument for being a jack of all trades.

O Magazine - Best Nonfiction Books Coming in 2019

Epstein analyzes athletes, artists, musicians and more to demonstrate his belief in the power of learning from a diverse set of experiences in order to become stronger in an individualized area.

Time Magazine's 10 New Books You Should Read in May

A fresh, brisk look at creativity, learning, and the meaning of achievement.

Kirkus Reviews

Epstein offers an exhilarating vision of how smart, curious people can more skillfully apply their best thinking to change and improve the world.

Shelf Awareness

Equally entertaining and enlightening, this will appeal to readers with an eye on the future.

Booklist

All readers eager to look into the next trench over for innovative ideas to solve their problems will welcome this remarkable, densely packed work.

Library Journal

Events

A Cappella Books

Manuel's Tavern 602 North Highland Ave. Atlanta, GA 30307

Live Talks LA

In conversation with Eric Barker (Tickets, with books included, here.) Ann and Jerry Moss Theater New Roads School Herb Alpert Educational Village 3131 Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404

Events

A Cappella Books

Manuel's Tavern 602 North Highland Ave. Atlanta, GA 30307

Live Talks LA

In conversation with Eric Barker (Tickets, with books included, here.) Ann and Jerry Moss Theater New Roads School Herb Alpert Educational Village 3131 Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404