#1 NYT Best-Selling Author of Range, Host of “How To” Podcast & Expert on the Science of High Performance
“David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong.” –Malcolm Gladwell
“Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.” –Daniel Pink
“Range is a goldmine of surprising insights. Makes you smarter with every page.” –James Clear, Best-selling author of Atomic Habits
“I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons — but really wants to learn the drums. Range is full of surprises and hope, a 21st century survival guide.” –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 profession or fast-changing environment — knowledge that has become essential to educating, developing and retaining the workforce of the future. His New York Times best-seller, The Sports Gene, took readers inside the surprising science of extraordinary athletic performance. His latest book, #1 New York Times best-seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, examines the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and Nobel laureates. Only one of five titles to make Bill Gates' "Holiday Books 2020" list, Range was also named one of Wharton professor Adam Grant's "New Leadership Books to Read in 2019" and a finalist for the 2019 Financial Times/McKinsey business book of the year. Range has also been named one of Amazon's best business books of 2019, Inc.’s 2019 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs and #1 out of 100 of the "Best Social Psychology Books of All Time" by Book Authority. The Washington Post named Range one of its “10 Leadership Books to Watch For,” and it was selected by Apple for its" Best Audiobooks of 2019" list. In Range, Epstein brings bold new insights to business, education, technological innovation, healthcare and other industries on the best approach to career development, hiring and retention. amid rapid technological change. His conclusion: In most fields, especially those that are complex, unpredictable, and difficult to automate, generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Epstein shares fascinating research and examples from career trajectories as varied as Roger Federer’s to that of the man who saved Nintendo, to a woman who took her first job around the age her peers were retiring — and who Peter Drucker called the greatest CEO in America. He shows that at every stage of life, from the development of children in math, music and sports, to young professionals trying to adapt to a changing work world, all the way to executives who urgently need to broaden their thinking and their skills — generalists triumph as the world around them becomes increasingly specialized. Read More >
TED: Why specializing early doesn't always mean career success
Virtual Keynote| Lessons from Range: Developing High Performance Teams
Bill Gates’s Holiday Book 2020: Range
Epstein and Gladwell discuss “Range” at MIT
Lateral Thinking With Withered Technology
CLSA Investors' Forum 2014
An Introduction to “Range”
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
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 #1 New York Times best-seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, which has attracted praise from thought leaders like Bill Gates, Adam Grant, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, James Clear 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 hyper-specialization 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 today’s fast-changing world, organizations should be looking for nimble thinkers and skilled generalists –those who can see around corners and adapt their skills in response to disruption and change. 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 ^
Why is it so important to differentiate the chain of communication from the chain of command? When information travels at the same path as the chain of command, it doesn’t move fast enough to keep up with rapid change or support impactful decisions. Even before COVID and remote work, leaders often found themselves in a proverbial “bubble,” with a slow-moving feedback loop to all levels of their organization. In many cases, this phenomenon has been intensified by remote work, which can reduce the flow of information and collaboration within an organization’s network of teams. Also gone are the serendipitous creativity and unplanned “water cooler moments” that occur in an in-person workplace. In this timely and popular talk, bestselling author and expert on the science of high performance, David Epstein comes to the rescue. He shares fascinating research and timeless case studies that address current challenges and will remain relevant, given that remote work is here to stay. Read More >
You’ll learn how to: Read Less ^
There may not be an “I” in “team,” as the aphorism goes, but the “I” in I.T. has traditionally been both literal and figurative. I.T. departments have long been led by so-called “I-shaped” professionals — decision makers with deep expertise in current technology, but little incentive to broaden their skills or build bridges to other departments. That was efficient in a work world where IT departments tended to be slow-changing cost centers that could function just fine as silos inside of organizations. But that work world is long gone. IT executives can no longer stay in the proverbial server room and expect to succeed. The IT leader of the future is a “T-shaped” professional who can connect their work to all levels of business strategy, from hiring and organizational culture development, all the way to change management and crafting how automation is implemented in order to liberate humans to do their best work. In this talk, David Epstein grounds fascinating research in gripping stories that will help leaders identify, develop, and retain the T-shaped IT professionals who can lead their teams into the fast-changing future.
"David Epstein came highly recommended through various colleagues who were familiar with his research and had enjoyed his bestselling book, Range. Although we originally intended for David to speak to a group of our talent development executive members in-person, we switched to a virtual meeting last-minute due to new realities of a COVID-19 world. David was completely flexible and willing to work with us and this new virtual environment. He was enthusiastic and responsive as we planned the content and format of the 90-minute session. He asked excellent questions about the audience and tailored his presentation to best suit their interests and challenges, even accepting individual questions from attendees ahead of the meeting. The content was exceptional and the visuals – using Prezi video – unlike anything I’ve seen virtually. David was overprepared, which I loved. He had enough material to present for hours and allowed attendees to choose which information they were most interested in discussing. Working with David was an A+ experience from beginning to end!"
"We had a fantastic event! Our cohort loved David and walked away with a new perspective on their careers, which is what we were hoping to achieve. Thank you for your support in enabling this success and a big thank you to David for his amazing energy and his generosity with his time and effort. He’s a great person and we’d love to have him in-person someday."
"I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from our CEO’s and other executives. It’s clear to me that the audience learned a lot during the presentation and that is exactly what we were hoping for. We sincerely appreciate all of the prep work you put into this event, the Prezi slides worked great and your delivery was perfect."
"You tied with the Harvard Business School Professor as best speaker at the conference. What’s more, the survey results all featured lines like, 'more speakers like Epstein."
"The audience loved him! David was so wonderful to work with. He took time to really talk to every attendee who approached him and attended his book signing. I watched him interact with them and he really took the time to listen and ask questions. I know those connections are what the attendees go home and tell their co-workers about. Very entertaining and engaging session. Fantastic and fascinating subject."
"I thought David was great! Really interesting and informative presentation and he also tried something new (he said was the first time) by having the audience pick different topics on this “map” he had created to discuss or show examples about. He also joined us for our Friday night dinner at the St. Regis which featured a political fireside chat so that was great. Would definitely be interested in using him at another event where there is no audience cross over!"
"David is extraordinary, everyone loves his presentation because they found it interesting and useful. His presentation format and style was extremely interactive. We treasured David."
"David was terrific! He was engaging, and spent lots of time with guests, and we loved the interactive nature of his presentation."
"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."
"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!"
"His presentation was enlightening, entertaining and well received by a large audience. David combines a science based background with an engaging delivery, keeping the entire audience focused on his presentation. He is personable and does a very nice job answering questions and communicating with the attendees. His book is excellent and addresses the question of greatness: created or developed. His presentation is even better and I highly recommend David for your upcoming events. He is a special speaker who can combine honesty and observation with a diverse background from his sports medical journal experience."
"We just had David Epstein and he was so wonderful. One of our longtime members thought he was the smartest person we have ever had. He was just so interesting, charming, and great, and just a huge, huge, huge hit. What a perfect match he was for our group, and what a great success he was."
"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."
"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."
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