I’m a generalist. I love life. I love people. I love technology. I love sports. I love games. I love philosophy (religion, politics, physics, etc.). I love food. I love music. I love love. I love lists ;–)
Growing up I heard a lot of conventional wisdom that being well-rounded is good. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve felt a shocking lack of suggestions to be broad. Perhaps my senses are more keen at only finding differences, but I have found numerous proponents of specialization. However, I’m a damn good generalist so I’ll have to content myself with hopes of being a polymath.
Watching Nathan Myhrvold’s TED talk (embedded below) gave me hope that it is okay to be broad. From archeology to penguin poop to barbeque, he does it all with nary a thread to tie the activities together. Rather than try to define himself as a computer scientist or a researcher, he simply does what he enjoys.
What do you think? Are you broad or specific? Is it working for you? Is there a winning formula for either (specializing or generalizing)? Myhrvold is one example of a generalist who succeeded, are there others?