The Neo-Generalist

The Neo-Generalist book cover

Title: The Neo-Generalist
Subtitle: Where you go is who you are
Authors: Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin
Publisher: LID Publishing
First published: September 2016
ISBN paperback [2016]: 9781910649558
ISBN paperback [2019]: 9781912555390
ISBN ebook: 9781911498063

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Have you encountered difficulties describing what you do to other people? Have you ever labelled yourself in order to be understood? Is there a difference in the way that a generalist and a specialist can stay relevant? If you had to design an approach to education fit for the twenty-first century, what would it look like? How do you live a life of meaning if you live in more than one world?

During an era still dominated by hyperspecialism and experts with ‘the one right answer’, the neo-generalist defies easy classification. They are tricksters who traverse multiple domains, living between categories and labels. Encompassing rather than rejecting, the neo-generalist is both specialist and generalist; a restless multidisciplinarian, who is forever learning. The neo-generalist brings together diverse people, synthesising ideas and practice, addressing the big issues that confront us in order to shape a better future. They are curious, responsive, connective.

In The Neo-Generalist, we examine what it is like to be in frequent motion on the specialist–generalist continuum. To illustrate our idea, we draw on stories from numerous disciplines and cultures; from business, art, science, education, activism and sport. In so doing, we explore the characteristics and behaviours of individuals who give expression to their neo-generalism, highlighting the social and organisational benefits they enable. These are border-crossing leaders, innovators, creators and explorers who respect the past, act in the present and serve tomorrow’s world.



Part I
1. Generalise to specialise
2. The infinite loop
3. A tale of two wanderers

Part II
4. White noise
5. Picaresque tales
6. Provincial punk
7. Shoring fragments
8. Diving bell
9. Lot 49
10. No. 10

Part III
11. Shadows
12. Fade out

Artwork by Caroline Li.