In an interview with Daily Stoic, David Epstein talked about the negative aspects of becoming a specialist with too narrow a view.
“We miss out on wisdom if we’re too narrow,” he said.
He added that one’s ability to “take knowledge and skills and apply them to a problem or situation you have not seen before” is highly dependent on one’s exposure to a variety of situations.
“As you get more variety, you’re forced to form these broader conceptual models… which you can then wield flexibly in new situations,” he said.
He says that specialists can sometimes become “so narrow that they actually start developing worse judgment about the world as they accumulate knowledge”.
The key to being a generalist is staying curious and pursuing those curiosities. To learn to accept the pain that comes with being outside your comfort zone.
“The more things we open ourselves up to, the more we experience, the better philosophers we’ll be, the better leaders, employees, individuals we’ll be,” goes the Daily Stoic newsletter.
“Read philosophy. Read subjects outside your field.” it says.
And that’s why I’m looking for new books to read again. Lately I’ve been reading mostly books on marketing, publishing and food.
Do you have any books to recommend?