Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vikram Mansharamani - The Power of Foxy Thinking

Great presentation regarding generalist thinking along with uncommon predictors of bubbles and busts. I also recommend this accompanying short post by Mansharamani on the HBR Blog Network, All Hail the Generalist. Here’s a quick sample:
Approximately 2,700 years ago, the Greek poet Archilochus wrote that "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Isaiah Berlin's 1953 essay "The Fox and the Hedgehog" contrasts hedgehogs that "relate everything to a single, central vision" with foxes who "pursue many ends connected...if at all, only in some de facto way." It's really a story of specialists vs. generalists.
In the six decades since Berlin's essay was published, hedgehogs have come to dominate academia, medicine, finance, law, and many other professional domains. Specialists with deep expertise have ruled the roost, climbing to higher and higher positions. To advance in one's career, it was most efficient to specialize.
For various reasons, though, the specialist era is waning. The future may belong to the generalist.
As someone who aspires to being a fox in academia, I’m rooting for a foxy future.

Related posts:
Hedgehogs Respond to Jobs Report
Good Judgment Project: A Political-Economic Forecasting Tournament

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