Jan. 10, 2022

#12 On Books and The Importance of Range with Adam Ashton

Adam Ashton is an account manager by day and a co-host of the What You Will Learn podcast. With 5M+ downloads, the podcast is all about summarising the best lessons from books and interviewing some of the best authors in the world. In 2021 both hosts released their book, “The Shit They Never Taught You”, compiling the lessons the hosts have learnt from their reading.

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🤝 Connect With Adam

Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamashton1/

What You Will Learn (Podcast) - https://www.whatyouwilllearn.com/

The Shit They Never Taught You (Book) - https://www.whatyouwilllearn.com/theshit/

👇 Episode Takeaways

The Importance of Range

A key concept from our chat was the best way to maximise your chance of career success. We looked at the two main schools of thought, 10,000 hours and Range.

The 10,000 hours camp is one that is most popular. It's the idea that to get world class at something, you need to spend 10,000 hours doing it.

The contrasting idea is one of "Range". This theory suggests that the way to success is by trying many different, unrelated fields. Over time, the connections between these unrelated fields will lead to extraordinary results.

Adam and I are both fans of Range, and see it as a great way to grow your career. Get experience in many areas, and try to find where the crossovers lie so you can add you unique pieces of insight.

The 3 C's

Most of us spend a lot of our day consuming content, whether it's something like Netflix or even something like a book or a course.

While learning in this way is good and sometimes necessary, it's an age-old notion that learning comes not from watching, but from doing. With this in mind, it's clear that becoming a creator would actually help you to learn a lot more.

Adam shared a great tip on becoming a creator. He says there are 3 levels,

  1. Consumer

  2. Curator

  3. Creator

What I took from this is that you don't necessarily need to go straight from consuming something to creating your own, you can first become a curator.

This is what Adam has done with his podcast, "What You Will Learn". They first started reading (Consuming) books, then sharing their thoughts and lessons (Curating) and now after 5 years of podcasting, they've released their own book (Creating).

The Worst-Case Scenario

Adam shared a great tip on deciding if a project or side-hustle is worthwhile.

"If this project went nowhere, would it still be valuable?"

The example Adam gave was when he was starting to podcast. Even though no one was listening, he was gaining valuable skills in public speaking and communication. Even if it remained that way, it was a win.  

💭 Things Discussed


Tony Robbins

Range - David Epstein

Originals - Adam Grant

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Peak - Anders Ericson

The Sunny Nihilist - by Wendy Syfret

Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

📝 Show Notes

00:00 Intro

01:46 Adam's Graduate Experience

04:41 Comparing Yourself at the 10 Year Reunion

10:38 Leaving a Graduate Role

12:37 Tony Robbins and Career Exploration

14:26 The Learning and Doing Balance

16:59 Consumption, Curation and Creation

18:45 The Start of What You Will Learn

25:22 Cautions on Working on Side Projects While at Work

35:05 Favourite lessons from The Shit They Never Taught You

36:24 Range and Mastery

42:37 What Drives Adam to be Successful

48:49 How To Start Reading

51:40 Adam's Advice for Graduates

55:51 Outro