The Neo-Generalist


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

About the book

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.


Magazine E-180 [27 July 2016] KM & RM
Marginalia [7 October 2016] RM
WOLWeek [8 November 2016] KM & RM
Scenario Magazine [5 January 2017] KM & RM
Idries Shah Foundation [6 December 2017] RM
Chief Wellbeing Officer Podcast [20 July 2018] KM
Liminal Coaching [21 September 2018] KM

The Neo-Generalist poster
[Picture credit: 2016 poster designed by Caroline Li]

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