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Monday, August 6, 2018

Experts and Expertise

                                     Experts and Expertise
I believe I have mentioned several times that I do not trust experts.

Experts have opinions based on knowledge above that of the average person.  These opinions often are the basis of decisions that have great consequences.  I don’t trust experts because often their opinions are biased. 

Often the knowledge above the average person that their opinion is based on, is not really sufficient to be blindly followed. There are subjects where expert’s knowledge is mostly terminology and theory.  Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong.  They know stuff, but the stuff they know is not enough to hang your hat on with impunity.  Experts are not always right.

Think politics, think economics, think unproven science.

Then there is expertise.  Expertise is based not simply on knowledge, but also on experience.  I have a great admiration for expertise.

A post by Uncle Skip reminded me of this.

Years ago I had to install and hang a heavy chandelier over my dining room table.  It was a hot day, I was home from work and tired.  It seemed like a simple job.  I knew what wires to connect correctly, but that process with hanging such a heavy object by myself was difficult. Difficult is an understatement. I spent about an hour and made zero progress, I was sweating profusely and was more than a little frustrated.  I may have voiced my frustration in language that was not acceptable in polite company.

“Ding Dong”

It was the front door.  My brother-in-law stopped by from his work to pick something up.  He saw me sweating and saw I was frustrated.  My B-I-L was an electrician.

“I wonder if you could give me a hand.”

B-I-L surveyed the project.

“Sure. Can you get me a beer?”


I went down to the basement, grabbed two beers and came back upstairs.

B-I-L was just finishing the final step to hanging the heavy chandelier.

“How the hell did you do that?”

“When you do this a few times a week for twenty years, you get pretty good at it.”

I love expertise.

Best beer I ever had.


  1. It also sounds like the best beer you ever gave away as payment for a honey-do job.

  2. Practice makes perfect...both in hanging chandeliers and brewing beer.

  3. I agree, expertise is a wonderful thing and I wish I had more of it. I have vague ideas on how to do a lot of things, but little true expertise. I also don't trust those who are experts in theory only. Theory needs to be backed up by practicality and this means those 'experts' need to get out and do actual field work on their chosen subject to get the expertise that proves their theories.

  4. That is a as satisfying a story as what I imagine the beer to be.

  5. Experts don't get their hands dirty.

    I really wish my son Genius had dropped by for a beer the day my laptop died. He might have had some CPR tricks up his sleeve. He's been taking computers apart since he was 8.

  6. Could I borrow your son-in-law, please? I guess there are some things I am good at but if not, well, there are always experts I can call on.

  7. I had inside frames from two windows warping and pulling out from the wall and a door that kept sticking at the top. (I had sanded the door several times before!) I called in a "handyman" and ran out for a few minutes to get milk. By the time I got back everything was done and he was putting away tools and I was very impressed.

  8. Agree....I know how to build homes very well. I also know there are many (most) other things I know nothing at all about, but I know people who have expertise there and I willingly delegate. "Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions."

  9. It is amazing isn't it. They make is so simple, but when you do it all the time you know how. Best beer indeed.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. My best to the Mrs. ☺

  10. All those who have expertise are experts but not all experts have expertise! Great post.

  11. Only trust the expert who gets his/her hands dirty.

  12. The experts have those little secrets(expertise) that make a difficult job doable. Too bad you didn't know how quick he would be, you could have watched and learned the secret. But then if he willingly works for a beer, no need for you to know how it's done.

  13. Can I borrow your brother-in-law?

  14. I'm a few posts behind so I'm going to send out a Happy Birthday to that wonderful fix-it gal called Mrs. C..Hope it was great! (Big "atta boy!" on the drum set gift!) Glad you found someone up to the task of the light fixture..I always say it's not what you know, but who you know that matters in life.

  15. Expert vs expertise — yes-siree!