5

Specialization

I am a huge fan of polymathy: the ability to master several subjects and use strengths in one to further understand and master another. But within our society it’s all about specialization. Despite my championing a polymathic approach, I do see the benefits of being a specialist, at least for breaking in. Turn on the BBC World news after a crisis and they will have some obscure professor or expert from a think tank sitting on a chair, spouting his ideas on how the crisis is going to play itself out. Why’s he there? – because he’s the one guy who’s perceived to be the expert. It’s all baloney of course. He’s really there because the TV producer needed a bum on a seat attached to a mouth that was capable of filling five minutes of silence with what sounds like shrewd analysis. Watch the media and the world of publishing, especially in the light of the internet and the growth it’s allowed in niche culture, and you see that specialization is on the up. Again, look at cycles and areas that are going to come to the fore, and throw yourself into that. The one thing to avoid, of course, is getting painted into a corner. Always be ready to sidestep into another related niche when the time comes.



TS