Why Generalists Will Triumph Over Specialists in The Future of Work

Why Generalists Will Triumph Over Specialists in The Future of Work

Jacob Morgan, 2019

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In an age where experts contend that specialization and hours of practice make one successful, David Epstein, author of Range, argues that generalists who have a diverse background prosper due to their ability to apply broad knowledge to rapidly changing environments. In the Future of Work podcast, host Jacob Morgan and Epstein explore examples of depth versus breadth, and the fit of the specialist and generalist in today’s modern economy. Epstein asserts that generalists make stronger leaders, and provides a path for developing personal range at any age.


Society values specialists; however, modern work demands knowledge transfer across domains.

Specialization grew out of industrialization, when workers needed to perform repetitive tasks to create efficiencies. In today’s knowledge economy, artificial intelligence (AI) and technology solutions automate many of these tasks. Generalists excel in this environment by extrapolating and interpreting siloed data to create high-level solutions. In banking, for example, ATMs and online banking handle routine banking transactions – the teller, once thought to be obsolete, now focuses on enhancing...

About the Podcast

Jacob Morgan, host of The Future of Work podcast, interviews David Epstein, author of two best-selling books, Range and The Sports Gene.