66: Generalist & Specialist with Max Miller

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.

One thought on “66: Generalist & Specialist with Max Miller

  1. 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.

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