Wednesday Widsom: Generalist vs. Specialist: Why To Develop Multiple Talents in the World of Entrepreneurship

generalist, noun

1. a person whose knowledge, aptitudes, and skills are applied to a field as a whole or to a variety of different fields.


specialist, noun

1. a person who devotes himself or herself to one subject or to one particular branch of a subject or pursuit.

*Definitions from


The author of this article posits that specialists survive only when circumstances are perfect, while generalists are able to adapt to various circumstances. There is no doubt that specialization in a certain field–say, medicine or the law–can command a lucrative salary, however, in the volatile world of entrepreneurship, highly effective generalists can often be more buoyant in uncertain times than business specialists. As the article discusses, effective generalists leverage the 80/20 rule (the Pareto Principle), which provides that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects derive from 20% of the causes. Accordingly, the most powerful generalists focus their energies on that 20%, and delegate many of the tasks that fall within the remaining 80%.

Check out the article here to learn more.

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