Book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

In his new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David J. Epstein investigates the significant advantages of generalized cognitive skills for success in a complex world. We’ve heard and read many praises for narrow expertise in both humans and AIs (Watson, Alpha Go, etc.). In both humans and AIs, however, narrow+deep expertise does not translate to adaptiveness when reality presents novel challenges, as it does constantly. 

As you ingest this highly readable, non-technical book, please add your observations to the comments below. 

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Natalie Adolphi
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Natalie Adolphi

I’ll have to admit that I was a little skeptical about this book initially, due to all of the sports analogies. (Not that I don’t like sports, but they aren’t a source of deep thinking for me!) Having stuck with it, I have appreciated the wide range of examples. I have often felt that Life is like a big Monte Carlo Random Walk, and the important thing is to keep sampling phase space and to enjoy the local minima when you find them. In the spirit of the text, that is my analogical (and ultra-geeky) thought for the day! So… Read more »