top of page

Here and Now - We need to range . . .

"Unprecedented times" is the refrain which has dominated much of the past two years or so.

In some ways that's fair - Covid was a new phenomenon when it hit us in late 2019.

We adapted to it through extreme measures - lockdowns and such like - and major public relief and vaccination programmes. The State owned 'solutions' and salvation.

However, the general implication of 'unprecedented times' is that we face unique change, stress or challenge. I'm not so sure.

Look way back and Mankind has faced plague, famine and massive social/technological change.

The first people who adapted by leaving behind their hunter gatherer lifestyle would have, if they could have, argued that they also faced 'unprecedented times'. They would have been right.

The folks who faced the Black Death might think that we, their ancestors, face times much easier than theirs.

More recently, Germans who lived through the Weimar Republic and all the horror which followed might say that our problems are lesser. Likewise, the famine-struck farmers of India in the 1940's. Likewise many others.

Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, War, Industrial Revolution - the list goes on and on. Perhaps we've just been feather-bedded over the past two or three decades, assuming ever easier life?

David Epstein wrote a great book called Range. It was published before Covid. Epstein opens by describing Kind and Unkind learning environments.

Kind environments are predictable - even if complex - like Chess. By contrast, other environments - not predictable - are 'unkind'. As you might guess - most of the rest of life is unkind. Now it is even more so - because we've forgotten how unkind life usually has been.

Epstein peppers the book with great anecdotes to show how 'foxes' (those who range wide) are better suited to unkind times than 'hedgehogs' (those who go deep - technocrats, for example) but he also suggests our political and business life is dominated by the latter.

Of course, he's also writing about us and how we can change and 'be' individually. In my humble opinion, that is vital - whether in business, personal lives or our engagement with society our future will depend upon how we all adapt. I believe we need to range.

I was convinced by Epstein's book (as I understand it) and want DWC to nudge discussion a bit in that direction.

Consequently, we're going to publish a wide range of blogs from friends and contacts - economists, politicians, crypto lawyers, journalists, CEOs, academics, Charity workers, kids and even the odd recruiter like me.

There will be no set ideology. There will be no tight editing. All I want is for our blogs to give you a bit of stimulation, show you a different viewpoint. Let's range!

bottom of page