Ecologist turned Sports Illustrated reporter explains why generalists succeed in a specialist world

"Jack of all trades and master of none" is often used as an insult in New Zealand, but in America the phrase ends: "is often times better than master of one".

American author David Epstein has just released a new book called Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World.

He told TVNZ1's Breakfast today that having a broad range of skills is a really positive thing to bring into a modern workplace.

"I'd call myself a generalist," he said. "I was living in a tent in the Arctic Circle as an ecology researcher when I decided to become a writer. Then I went to Sports Illustrated as a temp fact checker. Pretty soon I realised that my ordinary science skills made me totally extraordinary when they were in the context of a sports magazine.

"I zoomed past being a temp fact checker to being a senior writer because I brought a background that nobody else there had."

Now he encourages parents to teach their children to try a number of different things growing up to learn different skills to bring into jobs later in life.

Your playlist will load after this ad

David Epstein talks to Breakfast about his book written about why generalists succeed in a specialist world. Source: Breakfast

More From