“Epstein promotes concepts. He urges individuals—and parents especially—to abandon the desire for instant gratification and easy answers as early performance on tests isn’t an indicator of professional success. He emphasizes traits over particular skills—be curious, flexible, open-minded, adventurous, experimental, and playful. Try and fail and try again. Explore. Read outside your field. Supply your mind with lots of ideas so that you can make the connections that specialists miss, helping you thrive.

Never decide you are too old or too late to the game to try something new. “The tidy specialization narrative cannot easily fit even [the] relatively kind domains that have most successfully marketed it,” Epstein concludes. “So, about that, one sentence of advice: Don’t feel behind…research in myriad areas suggests that mental meandering and personal experimentation are sources of power, and head starts are overrated.”


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