What’s A Polymath And Why Should I Care?


The current trend in today’s world is towards specialization: you focus on a single field and become an expert in it.

You could have a PhD in cosmology but don’t know how to tie your own shoe laces.

But there’s a problem with this approach to learning. (Actually, there’s more than one problem, but I’m trying to be polite)

With specialization you can easily identify with only one area of expertise and limit your capacity to learn about others.

When you see yourself as a “psychologist” or a “biologist” or a “chemist” you can easily overlook your ability to learn about many other fields simply because they don’t form part of your identity.

Not only will this undermine the breadth of your knowledge but can even limit the depth you are able to go to in your own specialization!


Knowledge rests on forming concepts that represent real-world phenomena. Scientists and intellectuals are constantly coming up with new concepts that help them better understand the world around them. “Borrowing” concepts from other fields can greatly enhance your ability to make sense of your own field, allowing you to break out of conceptual barriers to learning.

And what has all this got to do with this “polymath” thing?

Well, a polymath is one who masters a number of different disciplines. He (or she) doesn’t identify with a single field but has the desire to learn about many facets of the world and develop a wide range of skills.

If you feel choked up by specialization and yearn to explore subjects beyond your (presumed) reach, then this site might be of interest to you.

I’m chronicling my own journey of trying to become a polymath and I would love to share my thoughts with you and to learn from your own experiences and observations.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the site to receive the latests posts delivered to your RSS feed or your email inbox.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 18:00:33


    Just wanted to invite you, a like-minded individual, to come check out our Aspiring Polymath blog at http://www.aspiringpolymath.org.

    I recently started the blog and am looking to slowly expand things. Your project sounds really interesting and I wish you the best – let me know if you’d be interested in doing some guest posts!



    • Haider
      Nov 09, 2011 @ 19:27:36

      Hi Ellen,

      Thanks for sharing a link to your blog, and for encouraging me to get writing again!

      Wish you all the best with your blogging project, your aspirations to polymathy, and I look forward to learning from you! 😀


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