Episode Date August 26, 2021
Featured Guest Tom Vanderbilt
Featured Book "Range" by David Epstein

Episode Summary

Tom Vanderbuilt reading from David Epstein’s Range and discussing the art of beginning and learning new skills.

There’s a New Yorker story called The Dolt by Donald Bartheleme. The final sentence reads thus: ‘Endings are elusive, middles are nowhere to be found, but worst of all is to begin, to begin, to begin.

Tom Vanderbilt, journalist and author, calls himself a perpetual beginner. He has written a little about a lot of things and has repeatedly been put in interesting positions. This has enabled him to write his most recent book: Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, and share the ideal thinking we should adopt when facing those ‘beginner’s challenges’ that arise when learning new things.

Tom reads two pages from ‘Range’ by David Epstein. [reading begins at 8:45]

Hear us talk about:

  • How the exploration of various skills influences a writer. [13:04]
  • The art of beginning and learning: “We’re all beginners in our unique ways, and also in the same way.” [14:55]
  • Surviving conscious incompetence: “Progress is not always a linear process upwards.” [18:40]
  • Does it help to wallow in your mistakes? [22:34]
  • Productive mistakes. [25:07]
  • “Skill learning is mainly unconscious.” [27:57]
  • How to become an improved teacher. [32:25]

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Tom Vanderbilt | Website | Twitter

Tom Vanderbilt’s book | Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning. 

David Epstein | Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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