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The Polymath: Unlocking the Power of Human Versatility




The Polymath: Unlocking the Power of Human Versatility

Waqas Ahmed

ISBN: 978-1-119-50851-9 January 2019 352 Pages


Every human is born with multifarious potential. Why, then, do parents, schools and employers insist that we restrict our many talents and interests; that we 'specialise' in just one?

We've been sold a myth, that to 'specialise' is the only way to pursue truth, identity, or even a livelihood. Yet specialisation is nothing but an outdated system that fosters ignorance, exploitation and disillusionment and thwarts creativity, opportunity and progress.

Following a series of exchanges with the world’s greatest historians, futurists, philosophers and scientists, Waqas Ahmed has weaved together a narrative of history and a vision for the future that seeks to disrupt this prevailing system of unwarranted ‘hyper-specialisation.’

In The Polymath, Waqas shows us that there is another way of thinking and being. Through an approach that is both philosophical and practical, he sets out a cognitive journey towards reclaiming your innate polymathic state. Going further, he proposes nothing less than a cultural revolution in our education and professional structures, whereby everyone is encouraged to express themselves in multiple ways and fulfil their many-sided potential.

Not only does this enhance individual fulfilment, but in doing so, facilitates a conscious and creative society that is both highly motivated and well equipped to address the complexity of 21st century challenges.

Prologue ix

Preface xiii

1. Introduction 1

2. A Timeless People 7

3. Shapers of Our World 27

4. The Cult of Specialisation 87

5. Reconditioning the Mind 115

6. An Alternative System 199

7. Twenty-First-Century Polymaths 245

8. Owners of Our Future 281

Polymathy through Time and Space 285

Select Bibliography 295

About the Author 299

Acknowledgments 301

Index 303

An erudite, masterful and entertaining study by a great writer and thinker… essential reading for the coming decade - Daniel Levitin, Neuroscientist, Musician and Bestselling Author of The Organised Mind

I am too stunned to comment on this book… I am transformed and transcended; I will never be the same - Story Musgrave, NASA astronaut and 'World's top-ranked Renaissance Man'

This revolutionary book has filled one of the great voids in the history of knowledge - Nasser D. Khalili, Scholar, Philanthropist and Founder of the Khalili Collections

Erudite and most enlightening - an indispensable addition to every educational institution worldwide - Ashok Jahnavi Prasad, the world's most academically qualified intellectual

Vastly educational…refreshingly inspirational - Edward de Bono, Bestselling Author of Six Thinking Hats andcoiner of ‘Lateral Thinking’