Commerce

Why inquisitiveness matters as much as IQ


Tiger Woods and Roger Federer took very different paths to the pinnacle of success in their sports. Woods was a golf prodigy who was beating adults at the game at age five and who broke 70 on a regulation golf course before he was a teenager.

In contrast, Federer experimented with soccer, basketball, and various racquet sports before becoming serious about tennis in his early teens. He was winning national junior tournaments at 15.

David Epstein contrasts the two superstars in the introduction to his book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in A Specialized World. He notes that while early starters tend to advance more quickly, they are also more prone to burnout and emotional problems related to the intense pressure they experience at an early age. They can also become so invested in a defined skill that they fail to notice when the market has moved on.

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