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Publisher's Summary

The instant Sunday Times top 10 and New York Times best seller.

Shortlisted for the Financial Times/Mckinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2019.

A Financial Times Essential Reads of 2019 pick.

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize. From the ‘10,000 hours rule’ to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialisation 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 book, David Epstein shows you that the way to succeed 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 demonstrates why in most fields - especially those that are complex and unpredictable - generalists, not specialists are primed to excel. No matter what you do, where you are in life, whether you are a teacher, student, scientist, business analyst, parent, job hunter, retiree, you will see the world differently after you've listened to Range. You'll understand better how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed. You'll see why failing a test is the best way to learn and why frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, Range shows how people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive and why spreading your knowledge across multiple domains is the key to your success and how to achieve it.

©2019 David Epstein (P)2019 Penguin Random House LLC

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)

"It’s a joy to spend hours in the company of a writer as gifted as David Epstein." (Susan Cain, best-selling author of Quiet."

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

What listeners say about Range

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A compelling fantasy novel

I think my issue with this book is an issue I have with most books of this genre. There is a compelling question, drawing me in, with thoughtful arguments. But as soon as I leave Epstein’s world of ultra intelligent / effective / successful / perfect human case studies, and I try to fit his conclusions to the actual world that exists before me, it becomes apparent how vapid and meaningless his thesis is. Focusing exclusively on the 0.00001% of people who achieve greatness is a textbook example of confirmation bias. It doesn’t examine whether similar people who made similar decisions achieve abject failure or silent mediocrity. The longer the book went on, the less I was confident in his assertions, because even if he isn’t cherry-picking examples to fit what he wants to say, he’s certainly cherry-picking by focussing on people who have really made a name for themselves. And the longer the book went on, the less I was able to identify with his points, because his examples of stand-out people are by definition not most people, and surely not me.
This book is a fantasy novel. Sure, it’s written in the style of pop psychology / sociology / business, but don’t be fooled, it’s still a fantasy novel. I enjoyed the main character, because I tend to be the sort of person that exhibits range in my life. Does that make me more likely to be successful? Probably not! Are you not that sort of person? It probably doesn’t matter!
If you’re looking to get absorbed into an amazing world where everyone is Somebody Important And Amazing, this book is a real page-turner. And it does explore interesting questions in a digestible way. Who says fantasy novels can’t deal with real-world issues? I only advise against reading this under the impression it’s non-fiction. This book doesn’t tell us how the world, or humans, or you really work. It would be refreshing if authors like Epstein could be honest about this, but that’s not how this cottage industry works. When you close the pages of Range, no matter how enthralling a story, you must face the fact that your broom is certainly just a broom, and you are not Harry Potter.

8 people found this helpful

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Too long for a simple idea

Go on youtube and listen to his talk. That should be enough to understand the point of the book. No need to read this

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Was the perfect audiobook to start a new semester

I listened to Range about a chapter a day for two weeks. For most of those days it was the most thoughful part. I found the ideas in this book to be immensely comforting, it made me want to push myself to explore .

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Best book that I have read in a while

Very readable, thoroughly researched and well argued. The one key theme is explored across multiple dimensions. Despite its length and single theme there is no fluff. Case studies are very engaging. I plan to re-listen immediately.

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  • Tim
  • 04-06-2021

perfect timing for a world of wicked problems

I have a serious case of confirmation bias as I write this. The need to foster range, not only hyper specialisation, to allow scientists to experiment and not necessarily know the outcome, to allow people to not have their path well defined from early adulthood are all points well made. The most critical part though is to foster an ecosystem on niches with a range from specialist to generalist and develop the network for them to interact.

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Brilliant book

the author digs into the subject from multiple angles. well researched and cohesive narrative. something I felt to be true by instinct but couldn't find support in popular narrative. glad I listened to this book

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Insightful, well worth listening to.

Well researched book. Will buy hard copy for referral. Enjoyed the in-depth examples that are shared.

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Fascinatingly thought provoking

An exceptional listen, full of information and examples to make your mind wonder off on a path beating to a different kind of drum than the every day world. The main premise, being more of a generalist then a specialist is an intriguing idea and one that is slowly fading in the world where specialists are sought after the most. While the book dives into detail of incredibly successful individuals, groups and companies that utilise range, it does also show examples of every day workers, such as a plumber, solving complex medical questions. It is all about seeing the world from as many perspectives as possible. While no one is expected to just float around doing random things for 20 years, I personally believe this is quite applicable in every day life as simple tasks and challenges you attempt (as simple as fixing a broken door, cooking, taking a different path to work and observing the world) can broaden your horizons immensely.

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loved it

Great book. i would have liked to see more business examples and less science examples.

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Should be required reading for any students.

Loved this. Range put into context much of what some of my favourite mentors recommended with diversification of skills, experience and studies, with superb lessons for any readers keen to succeed in any complex field.

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  • Panashe
  • 08-07-2019

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alette Liz Williams
  • 13-06-2021

Everyone should experience this book

I loved this. I'm relieved because of it. I would share this with everyone I know.

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  • Sam Dakum
  • 02-06-2021

Great Book

This is a book that is packed with lessons and many life examples. As a generalist myself, I found the lessons quite eye opening. I would love to listen to it again as I am sure I missed some parts of it. One thing I've learnt is that we over hype specialization without looking at what it took the person to be successful and that people that have Range tend bring to the table what specialists fail to see. There should not be an overbearing concentration on specialization or getting a head start. People can get to their peak and have impact without having an early start.

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  • Satria S.
  • 07-03-2021

Brilliant!

I highly recommend this book. It is now in my top 10 recommended books of all time!

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  • Ashlea
  • 16-02-2021

Fantastic...

just read it... it will expand narrow views on what it takes to be successful!

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  • RMR
  • 10-02-2021

Necessary for anyone with ambition or self doubt

I loved the variety of case studies and was surprised by the number of people I thought were specialists who I now know we're generalists.

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  • Wayne Phillips
  • 31-01-2021

Life changing and life affirming

This books helped me at a period in life where I left my career comfort zone and decided to Explore a carrier in a new domain. Ive been successful as a Special but at peace with adding Range so late in life, so keep growing and be more diverse and hopefully innovate

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  • Roseygirl13
  • 18-01-2021

Wide ranging examples, easy listen

Great tone and speed, examples were well founded, researched and personalised to appeal to a wide range of listeners

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-01-2021

Always intersting and insightful

Especially since being an expert may soon be detrimental to a career and leads many to slog through a life they never wanted

experiencing societal createyths of life crises
time after time generation after generation

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  • Saleha
  • 23-12-2020

Awesome insight!

Absolutely loved it! This is an amazing book and most encouraging! The real life examples and stories provide a great insight to what I thought was 'taboo' in the current world.

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  • HM
  • 30-06-2019

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-09-2019

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Rob B
  • 02-10-2019

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • R.
  • 04-07-2019

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Alessio Malizia
  • 16-12-2019

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tyler
  • 16-08-2019

Thought provoking

Great deal of detail and anecdotes to back up hypothesis. Personally came away with a changed view on specialisation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tommi Jokela
  • 05-10-2019

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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  • Marc
  • 28-09-2019

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-05-2021

Generally,breadth will benefit you more than depth

Don't refine your skillset too early.Try things, take risks while you can. Participate in various hobbies and pursue different avenues until you discover what suits you best.

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  • Yoda
  • 26-05-2021

Brilliant

Fantastic, a must read/listen! 10 out of 5 stars! Should be on every curriculum in every school & college!

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