Range by David Epstein

Book Notes and Takeaways via Duncan Kelm

“And he refused to specialize in anything, preferring to keep an eye on the overall estate rather than any of its parts…And Nikolay’s management produced the most brilliant results.” – Leo Tolstoy

“No tool is Omni competent. There is no such thing as a master-key that will unlock all doors. – Arnold Toynbee

The average age of the founder for the fastest growing startups is 45 years old

Overspecialization can lead to collective tragedy when individuals separately take the most reasonable course of action and the mother ship fails

The challenge we all face is how to maintain the benefits of broad and diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed gratification in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyper specialization and immediate results

When patterns do not clearly repeat, repetition does not enable learning

The more thinking shifts to a wide open world of possibilities and thus a big picture strategy, the more humans can add because they can connect dots and create broad inferences that a computer cannot

A study found that experienced accountants asked to use a new tax deduction that replaced a previous one did worse integrating the new deduction than novice CPAs

Creative achievers tend to have broad interests

Modern work demands knowledge transfer: the ability to apply knowledge to new situations and different domains, an extreme example:

In a study it was found that the correlation between broad conceptual thinking and GPA was about zero

Everyone needs habits of the mind to dance across disciplines

 75 percent of college graduates go on to careers unrelated to their major

One good tool is rarely enough in a complex, interconnected, rapidly changing world

When it comes to musical instruments, nearly all of the most accomplished musicians had played at least three or more instruments

The more broad context required to learn something, the more the learner creates abstract models and the less they rely on any particular example or method

When you are self-taught you experiment more, trying to find different solutions to a single problem, thus giving you a broad range of knowledge while you learn

Struggling to retrieve information primes the brain for subsequent learning, even when the retrieval is unsuccessful

Repetition is far less important than struggle

Best way to expand knowledge is to allow deep learning to occur with short term struggles yielding long term gains

For knowledge to be valuable, it should be learned under varied conditions, an approach known as “carried or mixed” learning 

Desirable difficulties like hard testing and spacing out the learning timeline were activities that made knowledge “stick”

Deep analogical thinking is the practice of recognizing conceptual similarities in multiple domains or scenarios that seem to have little in common at first glance

It was found that teachers are more effective at improving student performance after they switch to a new school and the effect is not explained by switching to higher-achieving schools

Striving to accomplish a single overarching goal every day means you have grit, determination, and resilience

Always keep your mind open regardless of the scenario, then you will take something from every new experience

Career goals that at one time were desired can appear ludicrous in hindsight when shone in the light of future self-knowledge

Adults tend to become more agreeable, content, emotionally stable, and less neurotic with age, but also less open to new experiences

Often good things in life can be traced back to misfortune

InnoCentive is company that seeks solutions from far outside traditional training and inquiry

The more specialists create the need for input and answers to questions, the more opportunity exists for curious outsiders to make valuable contributions by connecting widely available but disparate information to solving the problem at han

The average “expert” is a terrible forecaster

The best collaborators and predictors talk through their ideas to find out where their assumptions may be weak, thus their conclusions wrong

Experienced groups become rigid under pressure and “regress to what they know best”

To come up with the best solution to a problem, one needs to let the brain think about something different from the daily grind

It is best to think laterally across a multitude of disciplines and experiences to find a new path to the best answers

Progress generally evolves from the free play of  intellects, working on subjects of their own choosing on their own timeline

People usually feel that lunch is an inefficient use of time in the middle of the day, but actually it can be the most productive part of the work day

Original people who create new things/ideas tend to strike out a lot, but they are also the ones who hit grand slams

Compare yourself to yourself yesterday and no one else

When you move on to a new area of work, that experience is not wasted, everything that you have learned you will apply it in what you do next even if only subconsciously


The financial consultants at Arrow Point Wealth Management are registered representatives with and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.