Auto Ads by Adsense

Monday, May 24, 2021

Re-read: Range

 My reading of Anders Ericsson's Peak made be go back and revisit Range. Lazlo Polgar and his chess playing daughters make an appearance in both books, but obviously the two books go in completely opposite directions. I rarely re-read books, but this rereading highlighted 2 big items that I did not emphasize the first time around.

The first one is that you might think that bringing together a group of specialists in diverse subjects would get you most of the benefits of having a single generalist, but the book claims that that's not true --- he cites the comic book industry, where a single creator who's worked in multiple genres turns out to be more predictive of longer term success than the team that produced the book having come from multiple genres.

The other thing that came through this time is the need to get information from a diverse array of sources. This particularly comes through in executive management, where one leader told his organization:

there is a difference between the chain of command and the chain of communication, and that the difference represents a healthy cross-pressure. “I warned them, I’m going to communicate with all levels of the organization down to the shop floor, and you can’t feel suspicious or paranoid about that,” he said. “I told them I will not intercept your decisions that belong in your chain of command, but I will give and receive information anywhere in the organization, at any time. I just can’t get enough understanding of the organization from listening to the voices at the top.” (Kindle Loc 3943)

 Epstein calls people who bridge multiple disciplines integrators, and one point he brings up is that as information technology improves and it's easier to get access to specialized knowledge, the need for integrators increases:

“Do we really need to go through courses with very specialized knowledge that often provides a huge amount of stuff that is very detailed, very specialized, very arcane, and will be totally forgotten in a couple of weeks? Especially now, when all the information is on your phone. You have people walking around with all the knowledge of humanity on their phone, but they have no idea how to integrate it. We don’t train people in thinking or reasoning.” (Kindle Loc 4123)

 I came away from this re-read much more convinced than my previous reading of the book, and more cognizant of what the book is really saying. Recommended.

No comments: