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Name of the Book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Author: David Epstein
Year of Publishing: 2019
“The question I set out to explore was how to capture and cultivate the power of breadth, diverse experience, and interdisciplinary exploration, within systems that increasingly demand hyper-specialization, and would have you decide what you should be before first figuring out who you are.” David Epstein examined the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't see. Epstein's basic argument is that focus on early specialization is unwarranted. Starting in the world of sports he contrasts Tiger Woods (who specialized early as a golfer) with Roger Federer (who was much later to focus on tennis) and argues that when he looks more broadly at successful people, they "seemed to have more Roger than Tiger in their development stories". He then argues that while specialization is useful for the kinds of problems in closed predictable environments like a chess game or playing music, the modern world is characterized by wicked problems which requires us to deal with a new situation where we can't rely on perfecting from known experience. As he puts it: "And that is what a rapidly changing, wicked world demands – conceptual reasoning skill that can connect new ideas and work across contexts". He then expands on this general idea to argue that range, combining knowledge and experience from multiple fields and late specialization is a better focus than early specialization.
Name of the Book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Year of Publishing: 2012
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School and from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Batch of 2024
B.A. (Hons.) Journalism
Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi