Phil Tetlock in his book Superforecasting
divides decision makers into Foxes and Hedgehogs. The concept comes from The Greek poet Archilochus who wrote, “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Foxes have different strategies for different problems. They are comfortable with nuance, they can live with contradictions. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, focus on the big picture. They reduce every problem to one organizing principle.
In Tetlock’s analysis, the foxes—attuned to a wide range of potential sources, willing to admit uncertainty, not devoted to an overarching theory—turned out to be significantly better at predicting future events than the more single-minded experts. The foxes were full spectrum; the hedgehogs were narrowband. When trying to make sense of a complex, shifting situation—a national economy, or technological developments like the invention of a computer—the unified perspective of a single field of expertise or worldview actually appears to make you less able to project future changes. For the long view, you need to draw on multiple sources for clues; dabblers and hobbyists outperform the unified thinkers.
A bad combination to be is a hedgehog suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect…
The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.