An argument for being a generalist

Read enough Fast Company and the high school girls who write for it will have you convinced that being a generalist is bad.

This advice is counter to their previous prognostication that you should strive to know a little bit of everything, be a master of none. Lately, the trendy thing is to specialize.

As my English friends would say, bollocks.

Creativity isn’t about narrowing your focus, it’s about being broad and open to as many new things as possible. That’s where the magic happens.

I’ve seen too many designers fall in love with a look or style and it gets applied to everything, no matter the specified function.

Being a generalist, knowing a little bit about a lot of stuff allows you the opportunity to see connections that previously did not exist. A prime example:

This hippy from northern California falls in love with calligraphy, but also has a passion for technology and personal computers. These totally disparate things became the Macintosh.

The lesson for today kids: Learn as much as possible. Explore everything. If you plan to master anything in life, master yourself.