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Synopsis 360° – Range, How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

– Book Author David Epstein

Welcome to Synopsis 360° “Where Content and Community Connect.” Every month we examine a topic or theme via a book, article(s), podcast, video, or poem and engage in lively conversation. Our upcoming November 2nd event will focus on the above titled Book by David Epstein. Please see more about this gathering below and your opportunity to register!

Context

It has for a long time been dogma that specialists are more successful than generalists. It has also been assumed that the younger one starts specializing, the better. Music and sports stars are typical showcases for this mindset.

The author discusses grit vs. fit: Should we stick with a subject even if it is not the right subject for us, or should we accept the loss, switch to another field, and see if it matches our interests and personality better?

In a stable environment where practice makes perfect, many years of practice wins, but in wicked environments where change is the norm, what you have practiced for may no longer be relevant. AI is better than us in stable pattern recognition; perpetual learning and curiosity are musts.

Whether in our educational institutions, in our organizations, or in government, the ability to collaborate to gain wisdom from diverse backgrounds becomes ever more paramount.

To prepare…and if your time is limited

If you find this topic fascinating, read Range by David Epstein.  If you want to gain a little insight before the session on November 2nd, but don’t have time to read the book, here are two different summary articles, a TEDTalk on liminal people spanning different fields, and a/(my) short supplementary article on how specialization may have become a thing and the impact on creativity.

For the impact of a late start, Richard Karlgaard’s Late Bloomers can be supplemental reading.

Questions:

  1. Do you consider yourself a specialist or a generalist?
  2. How do you see this subject applying to what you do?
  3. Where and how do you seek inspiration outside of your own field?

Join us NOVEMBER 2ND at NOON Eastern for a discussion of
“Range, How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”

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Charlotte Wittenkamp
Charlotte Wittenkamphttp://www.usdkexpats.org/
Charlotte Wittenkamp is an organizational psychologist who counsels international transfers, immigrants, and foreign students in overcoming culture shock. Originating from Denmark, where she worked in organizational development primarily in the finance industry, Charlotte has lived in California since 1998. Her own experiences relocating lead down a path of research into value systems and communication patterns. She shares this knowledge and experience through speaking and writing and on her website USDKExpats.org. Many of these “learning experiences” along with a context to put them in can be found in her book Building Bridges Across Cultural Differences, Why Don’t I Follow Your Norms?. On the side, she leads a multinational and multigenerational communication training group.

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