We live in an age where deep-specialization is highly encouraged — the era of what tech analyst Vinnie Mirchandani calls the ‘monomath.’ Doctors specialize, lawyers specialize, academics specialize, mechanics specialize … just about everyone professionally specializes. The more deeply you specialize, the more money you’re likely to make. And that’s fine. Except when it’s not. The problem with deep specialization is that specialists tend to get stuck in their own points of view. They’ve been taught to focus so narrowly that they can’t look at a problem from different angles. And in the modern workscape we desperately need people with the ability to see big picture solutions. That’s where being a polymath has certain advantages. Was Steve Jobs a better product designer than Apple’s lead designer Jonathan Ive? ‘No,’ says author, entrepreneur, and popular blogger Tim Ferriss. ‘But [Jobs] has a broad range of skills and sees the unseen interconnectedness. As technology becomes a commodity with the democratization of information, it’s the big-picture generalists who will predict, innovate, and rise to power fastest.’

From In Defense of Polymaths

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