It had to happen eventually–I’ve had so many of Max’s friends and family on the podcast that he was bound to make an appearance sooner or later. He even brought a set of cards for me to read, but that’s next week. Here’s part one of our double-header.
I listened to this a few days ago, so my memory is a bit foggy. But it kind of rubbed me the wrong way . It sounded as if (Generalists) were somehow superior because you had these friends/acquaintances who were specialists and so a bit boring because incapable of talking about anything outside their sphere of expertise. Did I get that much right ?
Well, there are probably people like that, but I’ve only read about them, (usually in the context of Asperger’s). No, in my experience most Phds/”specialists” have a good knowledge of areas outiside their focus. Off the top of my head: I know a neurosurgeon who has a degree in literature and is an avid “birder”, another is an anesthetist who knows a great deal about economics, and a phd research psychologist who has quit a university job to work on high-end bicycles.
In my experience, specialists are almost always intelligent/curious/quick and so good fun and widely conversant. “Generalists” don’t really exist outside the 4 years that Americans spend doing a BA. It’s not as though we have a set of people devoting their lives to the pursuit of general knowledge, right ? Let’s just call them (us) what they/we/you are: curious, but unfocused. I don’t think they have any real advantage, except perhaps in very specific cases: philosophical musings, human resources, undergraduate interdisciplinary program advisors and jeopardy tournaments.
I do love the show. Especially when I disagree.