Movers and shakers have shaped the world we live in today. Throughout the millennia, many of these revered individuals have been polymaths – people distinguished by their ability to solve problems by drawing on a wide base of knowledge, spanning a broad range of subjects. It’s therefore ironic that our modern hyper-specialized society has labeled many of these innovators ‘geniuses’, while ignoring the main quality that made their extraordinary contributions possible in the first place – their versatility.
Since the industrial revolution, the idea of polymathy has been frowned upon. Children today are told to choose one area of specialization and stick to it, whilst anyone knowledgeable and skilled in several areas is ‘lacking direction’. The diverse CVs of modern polymaths are often seen as a weakness, rather than a strength, by employers who cannot see beyond a narrow set of preconceived qualities and experience. Once employed, polymaths may feel the need to play it safe and only produce what is expected of them, even if it’s not their full potential.
However, the rapidly increasing complexity of life over the past decade has called polymaths back into the limelight once more, as multidisciplinary understanding is key to solving most of the complicated problems facing humanity today. The strength of polymaths is their ability to see interconnectedness, to cross-pollinate, and to innovate in areas where disciplines intersect. All of these abilities are in high demand in the 21st century.
This book offers a panoramic look at polymathy in three areas:
History – across cultures and ages.
Science – from the perspective of psychology, genetics, and neuroscience.
Modern Life – polymathic education and career paths, interviews with modern polymaths.
Discover how adopting a polymathic outlook can revolutionize the way we learn, work, and live.
Meet the Amazing Modern Polymaths featured in the Book
Pablo A. Ruz Salmones
Jonathan Otter Kochmer
THIS BOOK AT A GLANCE
Why Polymaths Played A Role in History
The first part of this book is historical. Not everyone is fond of history, I know, but I strongly recommend that you explore this section; you will find gems and jewels of extraordinary interest, and maybe even some revelations. While reading about the contributions polymaths have made to society, pay close attention to how they were raised, there are some fascinating observations to be made. There are also some examples of modern polymaths that you might not have realized walk the earth today.
Why Be A Polymath?
What makes a person a polymath, and how can they be defined? Across a review of all related research in psychology, genetics, and neuroscience, I expand upon the theory that polymaths be considered as a three-dimensional profile based on the following knowledge characteristics:
Breadth: Showing interest in an eclectic mix of subjects.
Depth: The level of detailed investigation made of each subject.
Integration: The ability of polymaths to make connections between disparate knowledge, and therefore innovate new paradigms.
I explore these characteristics by breaking them down into constituent factors.
Polymaths in the World of Work
The top 10 most important skills for the next few years according to the World Economic Forum resemble a polymathic profile, so why do many companies’ hiring practices discriminate against polymaths? This section touches upon multi-specialists in the world of work, and also examines how some companies buck the trend by looking for polymaths and efficiently utilizing these unusual individuals in their workforces.
If you have strong polymathic traits, here you will find answers to many questions about your work life, as well as a list of professions that are best suited to polymaths.
If you are an employer, discover why and how to involve polymaths in the most crucial and innovative areas of your organization’s work.
Education: The Polymathic Future
See how a polymathic approach to learning can be applied to schooling/home education and higher education, how its philosophy and practice differs from others, and what makes it so powerful and effective.
Everyday Polymathic Heroes
Real-life stories of modern polymaths; the people next door who live their versatility. Read 12 fascinating interviews with multi-specialized individuals from across the world, and learn what impact polymathy has had on their well-being and professional lives. Be inspired!