Monday, January 14, 2008

Going Beyond Our Specialty

This observation from science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein has always interested me:

A human being should be able to: change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, pitch manure, solve equations, analyze a new problem, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects!

I confess that I can do only a few of those.

But that raises some questions:

  • What types of things outside of our "insect" specialties are not a waste of time but actually add to our ability to perform the narrower tasks?

  • Does a wide range of experiences and skills make us better or more confident decision makers?


At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Wally Bock said...

I wonder how many Heinlein could do? But that aside, it seems like we're more creative people when we have lots of sources of knowledge and experience to draw on.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...


I have the same curiosity about Heinlein!


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