Range Summary – June 2022

Author: David Epstein

Short Summary
Range (2019) emphasizes that humans in the modern world are faced with a new trial every other second. Such problems cannot be solved solely based on the experiences we have earned over time. New problems require new solutions on the spot.
range summary
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Detailed Summary

David Epstein supports his main argument through the career of famous sportsman Roger Federer who turned towards tennis quite late. Then he compares him with the famous golfer Tiger woods who had been training hard through his early years. Epstein claims that most people are like Federer. Their earlier experiences have little to do with their future and their success.

As the modern world is changing humans are subjected to tough situations. So how can you succeed when your experience or early training does not help much? According to Epstein: By developing ‘range’. This means you need to form strong conceptual and reasoning skills through your thorough analysis of multiple fields. Only reading and bookish knowledge would not help. You need to cross-examine the knowledge from different fields and develop your understanding. In the words of Epstein, Knowledge from different fields, cross-examination of this knowledge, conceptual building, and later training is far better than training earlier.

Range Summary Key Points

The Benefit of Exploration

Epstein says that it is not only beneficial but crucial to explore different perspectives and different fields. What happens after you graduate from high school? You chose one field and then you probably did not think about what other fields can be related to or influenced by the one you chose. You ‘specialized’ in your field forgetting the rest. This is not the way to ensure success in the modern world that can demand anything from you at any moment. According to Epstein Exploration should not be a whimsical luxury rather it should be treated as the central benefit of education. If you want to learn things perfectly you need to explore all the perspectives. You will need to explore different fields and look at how certain things have evolved.

Information that Sticks is Harder to Learn

You know that if you want certain things to stick in your brain you have to learn them. What you probably did not know before was this well-researched idea put forth by Epstein. If you want something to stay in your mind for a longer period of time, you should learn it the hard way!  When you use a harder way of learning something it becomes a desirable difficulty. For example, As you implement the harder method instead of a simpler one while solving a mathematical equation you will exercise your mind and learn a variety of concepts that you wouldn’t have learned with the simpler method. By learning to solve something the harder way you struggle and this makes the information you learn ultimately to stick longer.

A Narrower Perspective is Not Always Helpful

If you are studying the history of the colonial era, it will be extremely helpful for you to consider the land, the language of the colonizers, their culture, economy, and politics. So for analyzing something kike this you will form a deeper understanding by looking at different fields of study such as politics, geography, history, economy, and languages. Now you might present a counterargument to this by saying that if you are having a heart attack you will want only a top-notch cardiologist around and not someone who has a variety of knowledge related to the fields of medicine and surgery.

However, a study by Harvard medical by Dr. Anupam proves this wrong. It showed that many people dying of heart failure and heart attack are less likely to die if the top cardiologist is not around because cardiologists are inclined to use stunts, metal tubes that hold blood vessels open even in a situation where they might not be urgently needed or may be dangerous in the longer run.

Overspecialization Can Be a Collective Tragedy

Overspecialization leads to narrower perspectives. As humans, the more we study or experience something the more certain we feel about it. This makes us staunch, we tend to stick to a point, and our judgments become extreme. As we have experienced it or read about it many times how can it go the other way? How can a different perspective different from the one we believe in be right? So many times overspecialization leads us to turn a blind eye toward diversity and the possibility of different perspectives. The remedy is to think outside the box. Next time when you are presented with a situation that you are sure about due to your experience ask yourself can this happen differently? Are there any other possibilities? Is there a chance that I might be forgetting about a different aspect? Challenging yourself to think outside the box will broaden your mind.

People Who Do Not Fit Into A category Can be the Next Best Thing for Your Company

Until now we have established that experience in a particular field only and specialization are not everything. Research conducted on successfully comic makers proves this point. What makes a comic writer successful was a common question in the 1970s. You might be thinking that the answer will be the more they wrote the better they would become better? Or finances? But the research proved that the more genres the writers had tried their hand at the more successful artists they became.

It did not matter if a comic writer had written forty comic books. What mattered was if they had tried writing different types of comical books like tragic comedy or fantasy comedy. Of the 22 genres of comics the more they had tried the better and more successful their writing became. So it is about time we employ people who have a broad experience in different fields rather than only those who have experience and specialization but it only pertaining to a specific field or subject. People with a breadth of experience in different fields and interests can bring innovation.

Range Quotes:

“In a wicked world, relying upon experience from a single domain is not only limiting, but it can also be disastrous.” –David Epstein

“The more confident a learner is of their wrong answer, the better the information sticks when they subsequently learn the right answer. Tolerating big mistakes can create the best learning opportunities.” –David Epstein

Range Summary Review

Range is an exceptional read with a fresher perspective that suits the demands of the modern, ever-changing, and chaotic world. The storyline is skilfully embedded with well-researched data that makes it authentic and enjoyable to read at the same time.

To Whom I Would Recommend Range Summary

  • To the thirty-two-year-old who has trouble accepting new ideas.
  • The forty-four-year-old business manager who thinks experience is everything in business.
  • And to anyone who thinks that early specialization is the way to succeed.

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