Quotations about   expertise

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Experts are never right or wrong; they win or lose. Right and wrong are decided by proof; winning and losing are decided by who is doing the talking or talks the loudest, has the last, latest, or only word, and is quoted by reporters.

Other Authors and Sources
M. A. Zeidner, “Experts: A Definition” Quarterly Review of Doublespeak (Oct 1988)
Added on 2-Jul-21 | Last updated 2-Jul-21
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An expert is a man who has stopped thinking. Why? He knows.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) American architect, interior designer, writer, educator [b. Frank Lincoln Wright]
In Geoffrey T Hellman, “Wright Revisited,” The New Yorker (8 Jun 1956)
    (Source)

Wright used variations on this quotation throughout his life, e.g.:

The expert is usually a man who has stopped thinking and so is perfectly able to be utterly wrong for at least the rest of his lifetime. He has made up his mind, not upon principle, but upon expedient practice.
[Source, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography, Book 5 "Form" (1943)]

An expert? Generally a man who has stopped thinking because he knows!
[Source]

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking -- he knows.
[Source, in Earl Nesbit, Taliesin Reflections (2006)]

To me an expert is a man who has stopped thinking. He thinks he knows everything.
[Source, in Patrick J. Meehan, Truth Against the World (1987)]

Now, an "expert" is a man who has stopped thinking. He has had to stop thinking or he would be no expert. You can't call a man an "authority" who is growing and so changing his mind about things, can you? No, the expert has got to know or profess he knows. He's got to stand there and be knowledgeable! Well, too bad, because there's no such human except he be somewhat a phoney.
[Source, in Patrick J. Meehan, Truth Against the World (1987)]

An expert is a man who has stopped thinking because he knows and you can do nothing with him if you got a good idea.
[Source, in Patrick J. Meehan, The Master Architect (1984)

Added on 25-Jun-21 | Last updated 25-Jun-21
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But don’t you know, there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do: and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ch. 34 (1889)
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Origin of more simplified versions of the phrase. More discussion: The Best Swordsman in the World Doesn’t Need To Fear the Second Best Swordsman – Quote Investigator.
Added on 28-Apr-21 | Last updated 28-Apr-21
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Teaching takes skill and education and dedication. Home schooling as an idea is on a par with home dentistry.

Dick Cavett (b. 1936) American writer and critic
“Schooling Santorum,”New York Times (24 Feb 2012)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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I guess, when you get down to it, a loving touch compensates for an unskilled hand about everywhere except in an airplane cockpit.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
Added on 25-Aug-20 | Last updated 25-Aug-20
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In art as in lovemaking, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and so does heartless skill, but what you want is passionate virtuosity.

John Barth (b. 1930) American writer
Quoted in Charles B. Harris, Passionate Virtuosity: The Fiction of John Barth (1983)
    (Source)

Quoted as such in the introductory materials, without specific citation. Barth used the phrase on multiple occasions, including:
  • "My feeling about technique in art is that it has about the same value as technique in love-making. That is to say, on the one hand, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and, on the other hand, so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity." [first used, in Alan Prince, "An Interview with John Barth," Prism (Spring 1968)]
  • "Heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal, Dunyazade; so does heartless skill. But what you want is passionate virtuosity." [Barth, Chimera (1972)]
Added on 12-Mar-20 | Last updated 12-Mar-20
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Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
“What Is Science?” address, National Science Teachers Association, New York (1966)
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Added on 4-Mar-20 | Last updated 4-Mar-20
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If I want to stop a research program I can always do it by getting a few experts to sit in on the subject, because they know right away that it was a fool thing to try in the first place.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 25-Sep-15 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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A Prince who will not undergo the Difficulty of Understanding must undergo the Danger of Trusting.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Princes,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
    (Source)

Full text.

Added on 16-Jul-09 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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Where facts are few, experts are many.

Other Authors and Sources
Donald Gannon
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Mar-14
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The function of the expert is not to be more right than other people, but to be wrong for more sophisticated reasons.

David Butler (b. 1924) British social scientist, psephologist
The Observer (1969)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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