#1 NYT Best-Selling Author of Range & The Sports Gene, Expert on the Science of High Performance
“Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” –Daniel Pink
“David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong.” –Malcolm Gladwell
“I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons — but really wants to learn the drums.” –Amanda Ripley, Author of The Smartest Kids in the World
New York Times best-selling author and science writer David Epstein has made it his mission to uncover the keys to achieving high performance in any domain, and to debunk popular myths along the way. His New York Times best-seller, The Sports Gene, took readers inside the surprising science of extraordinary athletic performance. (It has been translated in 21 languages, and was read by both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.) In his latest book, on the top ten New York Times bestsellers list and named one of Amazon's best business books of 2019, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, Epstein examines the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and Nobel laureates. Named as one of Wharton professor Adam Grant’s “New Leadership Books to Read in 2019,” the Washington Post’s “10 Leadership Books to Watch For,” and selected for the JP Morgan Summer Reading List, Range has received rave reviews from the likes of Daniel Pink and Malcolm Gladwell, and best-selling author Susan Cain as well as praise from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and NPR. Read More >
CLSA Investors' Forum 2014
Epstein and Gladwell discuss “Range” at MIT
TEDTalk: Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Better, Stronger?
Lateral Thinking: The Reason You’ve Heard of Nintendo and Marvel
CBS This Morning: "Range" Generalization Over Specialization
Juggling Through Implicit Learning
Keep Experimenting (Education K-12)
What’s the most effective path to success in any domain? It’s not what you think. Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. Best-selling author on the science of performance David Epstein has examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex, unpredictable, and difficult to automate—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. Read More >
Drawing from his new book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, which has attracted praise from thought leaders like Adam Grant, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Susan Cain; Epstein shares how individuals, teams and organizations of all kinds can harness this under-recognized superpower. As Gladwell put it: “For reasons I cannot explain, David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong.”
David Epstein customizes his content for specific audiences, including:
Business: No matter the industry, every business thrives or dies on educated guessing about what the future holds. In a tour of fascinatingly counterintuitive research, David explains how specialists often develop worse judgment about the future as they gain knowledge and credentials in a particular domain, and how interdisciplinary thinkers can reverse that troubling trend.
Human Resources/Management: Employing studies of “serial innovators,” David explains how HR policies at mature companies often accidentally screen out employees with the highest potential for creative contributions, and what recruiters and hiring managers can do to counter that. But the power of range doesn't stop with recruiting; David shares research on how employees with diverse work experience can make an organization more competitive, more agile, and better prepared for the unexpected.
Healthcare: Increasing specialization in healthcare has been necessary, but also means that individual providers now see a smaller piece of the total health puzzle than ever before—a trend that has led to some eyebrow-raising outcomes. David discusses how generalists can enhance specialized environments, and how healthcare organizations can hire, develop, and cross-train to improve performance and the patient experience.
Investment/Financial Services: As information becomes more rapidly disseminated, it is increasingly difficult (read: expensive, in time and money) to gain an information advantage. However, more information means more opportunity to take advantage of analytical inefficiencies in a market. Who is best suited to analyze the same information that everyone else has? People with range. David shares surprising research on the habits of mind that can lead to an analytical competitive advantage in an information-rich market.
Educators: Drawing on the latest research, David shares how learners of all ages, and their educators, can thrive in an increasingly complex world — not by picking a single specialty and mastering it, but by sampling many areas, changing (and failing) often, and focusing on the kind of analytical thinking skills that transfer between domains. His talk explains how to learn, teach, and create educational institutions primed for the 21st century.
Technology Innovators: In an age of rapid technological change, it can feel like hyperspecialization is a necessity for reaching the cutting edge, never mind pushing it. But in fact, there has never been more opportunity for “lateral thinking” generalists to drive technological progress. David discusses the habits of mind that lead generalists to make connections that their more specialized peers miss, and how organizations can be structured so that specialists and generalists enhance one another's performance.
Students & Parents: As any graduation speech will tell you, the key to success is knowing where you want to be years from now and determining the steps to get there. Except, research shows that’s precisely the opposite of how most successful and fulfilled people develop their lives and careers. David discusses work showing that top performers assiduously avoid rigid long-term planning and premature specialization. Along the way, he shares how anyone can adopt habits that will help them work toward an optimal fit between who they are and what they do. Read Less ^
In his new top ten New York Times best-seller, Range, performance expert David Epstein shares insights that changed the mindset of Malcolm Gladwell and garnered high praise from Daniel Pink and Adam Grant. This deeper dive into Range reveals how generalists not only triumph as individuals, but are essential to high performance teams. In this game-changing talk, which can be adapted to a variety of industries, audiences and applications, Epstein examines what it takes to create teams with the diverse skills and experience to drive success in any field. Read More >
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In today’s fast-changing world, organizations are looking to do more with less people—supplementing and even replacing narrow specialists with skilled generalists that can work easily across multiple disciplines. What is the secret to finding, cultivating and retaining an agile workforce with this mindset and potential? And once you find them, how do you match generalists, experts and, increasingly, AI to form optimal teams hardwired for impact and innovation? In this essential talk, David Epstein expands on his #1 best-seller, Range to reveal what it takes to recruit, build and retain the workforce of the future. Read More >
David’s customized presentations provide research-based strategies to: Read Less ^
The curse of expertise is the cognitive bias that comes from knowing too much about a particular project or investment. In the financial world, it can bedevil those making decisions or predictions. In this essential talk, #1 New York Times best-selling author David Epstein reveals how to use full range thinking to avoid this common pitfall and triumph in a fast-changing world. Read More >
David also reveals: Read Less ^
As sports have become high stakes, global competitions, the performance margins that differentiate good, great and legendary have shrunk dramatically. Fortunately, cutting edge science has shone a light on the best path to peak performance, and it contradicts the most popular notions about skill acquisition, like the famed “10,000-hours Rule.” That argument says that only accumulated hours of practice matter to success. In fact, though, future experts start off practicing less in their eventual discipline than their peers. David Epstein explains just what it is that future elites are doing during that time that primes them for later (and greater) success. He also dissects how — once at the top competitive level — athletes are using “small data” to find what factors most matters for performance, and which of those they can change in the pursuit of the final 0.5% of performance. The conclusions from elite sports can guide any individual or team in the search to find their personal 0.5%.
"David was terrific! He was engaging, and spent lots of time with guests, and we loved the interactive nature of his presentation."
"His speech was well received by the audience at the forum…everything worked perfectly. Many of the participants were impressed by the amount of preparation he put into his presentations and visual/audio aids. It made the speech more engaging for the non-English speaking audience."
"David's keynote speech was very well received! His comments hit the mark and resonated very well with the audience. He gave an engaging message, and I am quite impressed with him. Thank you very much for your support through the whole selection process. I will certainly be using your service again!"
"We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on David Epstein and several people listed it as their favorite part of the event. When we surveyed staff about it, 80% of the responders said that they enjoyed (strongly) hearing from our keynote speaker. Anecdotally, our staff said it was very informative and interesting. Personally, I thought he really did well at the Ted Talk style presentation. It worked really well with the Prezi and was some fascinating storytelling that people could walk away remembering (Roger vs. Tiger). The fireside chat worked well too – they dug into some questions and it was thoughtful and thought provoking, while also light hearted."
"We were fortunate to have David Epstein, our presidential keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine. He was phenomenal. He was very accommodating and gave an outstanding, informed and entertaining lecture. A few examples of the overwhelmingly positive comments from the audience follow: 'One of the best speakers we've ever had;' 'Best session of the day;' 'Certainly enjoyed this discussion.' 'Best talk of the conference, hands down;' 'One of the best lectures I have ever heard. Fascinating, well researched, and funny.'"
"Your message was perfect. Interestingly, the feedback has been as overwhelmingly positive about the science that you provided in addition to the message. Our group thought you had hand designed the presentation for us as sports scientists, and it resonated deeply. The way you approached the book as well as how you presented what you found, combines imagination with well-grounded data and makes your message beyond entertaining...exactly what we were looking for. Thanks again, and look forward to seeing what you get us into next!"
"What an awakening and powerful commencement address to the UPJ class of 2019...I raised my children on the Gallup Philosophy and not only did you expand on it as it relates to today, you confirmed to them I’m an awesome mother!"
"David Epstein's keynote address was a huge hit with the Strata audience. Through the combination of humor and skillful storytelling, David was able to make sports science come alive for our diverse crowd of data enthusiasts. The most successful keynotes require excellent pacing, great content, and the ability to draw people in and keep them engaged. David did all three successfully at Strata Santa Clara. Based on the comments we've received, his presentations were definitely crowd favorites at this year's conference."
"David's presentation made a huge impact at our annual leadership summit. His flawless, enthralling presentation on late specialization was a complete package of fascinating data and illustrations. Speaking to an audience of elite military veterans studying medicine, business, public policy, mental health, law, and the arts, his message was universally applicable to those with unique skill sets who may feel momentarily 'behind' in a new career. He was the highest rated speaker for the second year in a row by our attendees!"
"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your presentation. Not only were you engaging and the presentation itself visually appealing, but your conclusions and your passion fit seamlessly into the theme of our program. I think our participants were very receptive to your message. Thanks for joining us. You were a highlight of the conference."
“It was a wonderful event, and we have gotten such great feedback from parents, faculty, and student on David's visit and presentations. We were especially impressed by the degree to which David tailored his presentation to Fay, and even modified his talk to make it age-appropriate for the middle schoolers. We felt that everything went beautifully, and both you and David have been a pleasure to work with.”
"Everyone LOVED David Epstein! We are so looking forward to having him back some day. I can’t tell you how many times I heard 'this was the best talk ever.' Thank you again for you and your team helping with the organization and being so patient with my response time. You all are wonderful. I hope we work together again soon."
"It was great to meet you today. You gave an outstanding presentation. Your talk was extremely generative, not only in terms of understanding sports performance, but also pure science. I found your storytelling and science communication skills to be off the charts. I have worked with a lot of scientists, many among the top in their fields, and while I know you identify yourself as a journalist, your talk was the best science presentation I have ever seen. You are at the top of your game."
"The event went great! Everything went very smoothly and his presentation was amazing. Everyone had a great time at the event and so many people were extremely engaged."