Forget 10,000 hours on one skill. According to David Epstein, range is the key to success
It’s likely you’ve heard of the 10,000-hour rule. Popularised by Malcom Gladwell in his bestseller book Outliers, the rule states that anyone who engages in deliberate practice of any skill or specialty for a total of 10,000 hours will become an expert in that field. It’s the rule that taught us that the key to success is specialising as early as possible and dedicating thousands of hours to one field.
But this is completely wrong.
It’s this rule that David Epstein aims to demystify and argue against in his latest book Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. In Range, Epstein explains why it’s more valuable to be a generalist who possesses a wealth of experiences in most fields, as opposed to a specialist who narrows their thinking by specialising early.
It’s not a book that devalues specialisation; rather, it identifies the limitations of early specialisation, explaining why it shouldn’t be the defining factor of success that is glorified by our society.