The Medici Effect (2004) by Frans Johansson

From the book publisher

Why do so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who finally explained what happened to the dinosaurs. Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect shows how breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into a new, unfamiliar territory, and offers examples how we can turn the ideas we discover into path-breaking innovations.

From the book, Chapter 8

Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate in both chemistry and peace, once said, “The best way to get a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”

How then, can you seize the myriad opportunities at the Intersection?

There are at least three ways to proceed:

  • Strike a balance between depth and breadth
  • Actively generate many ideas
  • Allow time for evaluation

One way to handle the need for broad but deep knowledge is to team up with someone who has a different knowledge base from yours.

[Within an individual] one should gain knowledge in one specific area before striking out to other fields. I am not talking about world-leading expertise here, but enough to call it a core competence. Mijail Serruya at Brown’s Brain Science Program says that no matter how broadly other view him, he can “at least teach a second year course in neurology.”

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