Sunday, October 31, 2021



Which of these is better- being a specialist or a generalist ? This one seem like an untiring debate, the one for ages.

A while back (thanks to a post by Tanmay Vora), i came across the book- "The Neo-Generalist" by Richard Martin and Kenneth Mikkelsen, which added a new dimension to this perennial debate.

What is a Neo-Generalist ?

According to the authors, “the neo-generalist defies easy classification. They are tricksters who traverse multiple domains, living between categories and labels. A restless multidisciplinarian who is forever learning. They bring together diverse people, synthesising ideas and practice, addressing the big issues that confront us in order to shape a better future.”

So, a neo-generalist is both specialist and generalist, often able to master multiple disciplines. We all carry within us the potential to specialise and generalise.
The authors argue that the time for learning one single skill and relying on it for rest of our lives is over. The world is not linear. Complex problems do not exist in isolation. They always touch other problems. To be relevant in an automated world, we need to be adaptive and constantly learn newer paradigms. In short, Eclectic outlook of life is the way forward (you cannot connect the dots with just one dot!!) and the ability to traverse between being a specialist and a generalist as the situation demand will become table stakes in the time to come.

No matter which side of the debate you are on, one thing is for sure that there is no better time to emphasize the importance of lifelong learning habits (something that is at a core of being a neo-generalist). Learn how to lean is super power that one must endeavor to weild.

What are the lifelong learning habits that one must look to embrace ?
Here's my sketchnote summary of some of the ideas shared by Sahil Bloom in his remarkable twitter thread

Few of my favorite points:
1. Watch out for your Information diet (majorly social media use). You become what you consume. Consume less, but consume intelligently. Aim for more signal, less noise.

2. Teaching is often the most powerful path to learning. If you want to learn, teach.

What are your favorite lifelong learning habits ? Please share.
#learning #specialists #generalist

My Sketchnote:

My LinkedIn Post:

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