The power of foxy thinking

I recently read this article and saw this video by Vikram Mansharamani, a Yale professor, and decided I needed to write a blog post about its awesomeness.

Vikram (I’ll use his first name for obvious practical reasons) makes a brilliant case for why society and business need more generalists in addition to the many specialists.

“Corporations around the world have come to value expertise, and in so doing, have created a collection of individuals studying bark. There are many who have deeply studied its nooks, grooves, coloration, and texture. Few have developed the understanding that the bark is merely the outermost layer of a tree. Fewer still understand the tree is embedded in a forest.”

The classic description of broad knowledge vs. deep knowledge is the saying from an ancient Greek poet that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. The fox is a generalist and the hedgehog is a specialist.

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