Specialist? Generalist? or Specialised Generalist?

Tom McCallum
2 min readMay 28, 2020
Specialist, Generalist, or Specialised Generalist
Specialist? Generalist? Or.. Specialised Generalist

Are you a specialist or a generalist? Simple enough question, yes? Also a common one posed to Tim Ferris, and today I share his five minute Youtube video where he talks about this. I love how he makes it simple:

  1. Unless you are truly brilliant at one thing, don’t be a specialist
  2. Instead, combine two or three skill areas
  3. When choosing those skill areas, focus on them being as rare and valuable as you can.
  4. Do this and you can be a “Specialised Generalist”

I love how this brings focus! Instead of being a generalist who is good at a lot of things but doesn’t stand out in any particular field, by combining a particular few rare and valuable sets of skills and experiences, one can create a space of value.

Now, in looking at this concept, Tim talks about adding a meta skills that can be applied across your “specialised generalist” focussed space.

In my writing and conversations of late I’ve been encouraging individuals and businesses to add new skills, new assets that they can invest in now and that will pay back later in the future. For example, what “meta” skill (eg writing, public speaking, coding, presentation online (relevant now more than ever!) may allow you to then link up your existing skills.

I felt inspired to think about myself and what skills could I add, so, using myself as an example:

  1. Chartered Accountant with two decades in finance and investment
  2. Started/bought/built/restructured/sold 29 companies
  3. Worked in 38 countries

All of these were in place by my early 40s. I then leapt with passion and purpose into Coaching. Out of all of this, my “specialised generalist” area has evolved into s being a Sounding Board, bringing those skills together.

At the moment, am thinking what I could do to add to this. My answer right now has the name “What

Here’s Tim to inspire you further ! :

Originally published at Tom McCallum.



Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Visionary Leaders ready to make a Massive Impact. Daily posts here, or https://tommccallum.com/newsletter-sign-up/