Recommended Reading: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Range
I just finished reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World the book has got a lot of great information on being well rounded over specialization. The author is not disrespecting specialization but he certainly turns the past research on the topic, on its head. Although there is no clean split the author identifies, between "generalist and specialist" his argument is that the evidence shows, the more well rounded a person is the more they are willing to step outside their comfort zones, explore and experiment.

"He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't spy from deep in their hyper focused trenches. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive."

I tend to agree with him based on my own observations specifically in organizations that deal with adaptive challenges (conflict, crisis, combat, use of force decision making) versus those professions that deal with technical challenges. A couple great chapters on forecasting and pattern recognition as well. He also references Gary Klein’s , Philip Tetlock, Daniel Kahneman and more.

A very good book with thought provoking ideas I think are very relevant to policing and police officer development, where sense-making, framing and solving adaptive challenges, adaptability, meta cognition and attention control are or should be a big part of our focus of effort. It should get us police trainers to think about how we teach and develop our people.

Stay Oriented!

Fred