Invest Like the Best — David Epstein

On: Wide or Deep?

Episode: 133

Date: May 2019

Background; Journalist, author of “The Sports Gene” and “Range“.

Key Subjects:

  • Learning/education:
    • Making connections (conceptual) versus using procedures.
    • Abstract ability to match “solving strategy” and “problems”.
    • For information to stick and be flexible, helps to apply knowledge to new situations.
  • Learning hacks – making information maximally “sticky” – making learning hard (not easy):
    • Testing: before you are ready.
    • Spacing: deliberate not-practicing, leave time between practices.
    • Interleaving: mixing up the things you want to learn (match solving strategy and problem).
    • When learning feels too easy, make it harder.
  • Issues with grit (combined score of personal resilience and consistency of interest).
    • Weak impact: typically fairly low predictive value (1-5%).
    • Contained: usually researched inside a tight type range (high similarity of subjects).
    • Short-term: grit not necessarily stable over time.
    • “Failure” of grit may indicate lack of match; if there is a fit, people display grit.
    • If-then descriptions are better signatures of someone’s personality.
  • Innovation and creativity:
    • Discovery versus replication.
    • Many more ways to recombine existing knowledge.

Key Takeaways: 

Worth Listening:

Highlights more limited set of subjects than EconTalk podcast, but interesting discussion on learning and grit.


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