Journalist, New York Times Best-selling Author, Expert on the Science of High Performance
New York Times best-selling author and science writer David Epstein has made it his mission to uncover the keys to achieving high performance in any profession or fast-changing environment — knowledge that has become essential to educating, developing and retaining the workforce of the future. His New York Times best-seller, The Sports Gene, took readers inside the surprising science of extraordinary athletic performance. His latest book, #1 New York Times best-seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, examines the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and Nobel laureates. Only one of five titles to make Bill Gates’ “Holiday Books 2020” list, Range was also named one of Wharton professor Adam Grant’s “New Leadership Books to Read in 2019” and a finalist for the 2019 Financial Times/McKinsey business book of the year. Range has also been named one of Amazon’s best business books of 2019, Inc.’s 2019 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs and #1 out of 100 of the “Best Social Psychology Books of All Time” by Book Authority. The Washington Post named Range one of its “10 Leadership Books to Watch For,” and it was selected by Apple for its “Best Audiobooks of 2019” list. In Range, Epstein brings bold new insights to business, education, technological innovation, healthcare and other industries on the best approach to career development, hiring and retention. amid rapid technological change. His conclusion: In most fields, especially those that are complex, unpredictable, and difficult to automate, generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Epstein shares fascinating research and examples from career trajectories as varied as Roger Federer’s to that of the man who saved Nintendo, to a woman who took her first job around the age her peers were retiring — and who Peter Drucker called the greatest CEO in America. He shows that at every stage of life, from the development of children in math, music and sports, to young professionals trying to adapt to a changing work world, all the way to executives who urgently need to broaden their thinking and their skills — generalists triumph as the world around them becomes increasingly specialized.
Epstein recently took over the widely popular podcast, How To!, previously hosted by Charles Duhigg (author of the acclaimed book, The Power of Habit). Described as a Dear Abby but through the lens of an investigative reporter, the podcast takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask, but couldn’t.
Epstein’s two TED Talks have amassed more than 11 million views. He has spoken around the world on the science of high performance and novel uses (and misuses) of data, to organizations from X (Alphabet’s “moonshot factory”), to NASA (humanity’s original moonshot factory), to Cisco and the Association for Talent Development, and at a diverse array of events from the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul to the open-source software community’s Hadoop Summit.
Epstein’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, from The New York Times and The Atlantic to National Geographic. He was previously an investigative reporter at ProPublica, where his work ranged from an investigation into the DEA’s complicated pursuit of Chapo Guzman’s rivals, to a This American Life episode about a woman with muscular dystrophy who discovered that she shares a mutated gene with an Olympic medalist.
A former Sports Illustrated senior writer, Epstein authored or co-authored several of the magazine’s most high-profile investigative pieces, including the 2009 revelation of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s steroid use. He has master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism from Columbia University, and was twice NCAA All-East as an 800-meter runner.
Merging stories from the worlds of sports, business, medicine, and education, Epstein sheds light on the paths to peak performance. From how to best prepare for our specialized world to how to optimally incorporate AI into our workplaces, Epstein unpacks the science of success — leaving audiences with actionable takeaways to improve how they live, work, teach, parent, and prepare for the future.