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10 more things I learned from Range by David Epstein

10 more things I learned from Range by David Epstein

    1. Match qualities

    This is the authors term for finding an occupation that matches your goals and interests. There was a long time in the 1980s when the military (US) was having retention problems. When they realized people were leaving because of choice the military offered more choices in jobs.

    2. Career advice: choose the option that will give you the most options in the future

    3. Michael Chriton was educated in medical school

    And then became a writer, including the stories of Jurassic Park, and the television show ER, which I didn't realize he was involved in.

    4. 2 general types of people solve problems: those with deep knowledge and those with broad knowledge

    People with deep knowledge are able to do things like come up with variations on extremely specific technical issues. People with broader perspectives, come up with leapfrog inventions , like sticky notes or toaster strudel.

    5. For repetitive jobs like sports or surgery you want a team that has worked well together for a long time

    6. People have a hard time dropping their tools even when it could save their life

    The author uses the example of wild fire firefighters that were ordered to drop their tools and run. Those that dropped the tools were able to run fast enough to get away but those that held their tools would frequently perish. He also gave the example of military people on ships that were told to remove their steel toed shoes before getting into life rafts and they would subsequently put holes in life rafts with their steel toed shoes. He wasn't bringing up the examples to shame people, but to point out that even extremely highly trained professionals desperately want to hold onto their tools. He was also making an analogy to people who hold onto their beliefs, the decision making in the same way.

    7. Many people that have some phenomenal successes also have many failures

    The author used Thomas Edison as an example: a dozen truly remarkable inventions and thousands of failures.

    8. Academics especially have a problem with over specialization

    Since writing papers and getting published involves approval from a narrow peer group it is difficult for novel ideas to get recognized or funded.

    9. over specialization was one of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis

    Because complex derivatives were being created on mortgages people either understood the mortgage risk or the financial instrument risk but most people were not able to take the 2 together at once. 

    10. A diverse background can lead to success later in life

    Many people are "late bloomers" that synthesize something new out of long periods of time where not much may have happened on the surface. Then they come out with a novel approach and achieve something new and successful.

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