The Polymath is an exceptionally versatile human who excels in multiple, seemingly unrelated fields. Over history and across the world this fascinating breed has rejected ‘specialisation’ and shown us a more complete way of thinking and being. In doing so, they have shaped our past and will own the future. This book shows how.




AJ Jacobs, Editor-at-large

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 Yet specialisation is nothing but an outdated system that fosters ignorance, exploitation and disillusionment and thwarts creativity, opportunity and progress.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, Waqās 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’. It reveals that the true specialist is actually a Polymath.

In The Polymath, Waqās 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 rediscovering and unlocking 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.


Waqās Ahmed is an internationally acclaimed writer whose work spans several professional fields and academic disciplines including art, science and international affairs. Full Bio.

With Contributions From

Noam Chomsky

World authority on language, cognitive science and geopolitics

Ken Robinson

Educationalist and TED’s most viewed speaker

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia

Douglas Hofstadter

Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gödel Escher Bach

Ray Kurzweil

Futurist, bestselling author of The Singularity is Near and Director of Engineering, Google

Fritjof Capra

Bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and a world expert on Leonardo da Vinci

Marilyn vos Savant

Guinness Hall of Fame as the world’s highest IQ

Nathan Myhrvold

CEO, Intellectual Ventures and former Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft