- Capa dura: 272 páginas
- Editora: OUP USA (27 de abril de 2017)
- Idioma: Inglês
- ISBN-10: 0190469412
- ISBN-13: 978-0190469412
- Dimensões do produto: 21,1 x 1,5 x 14,7 cm
- Peso de envio: 381 g
- Avaliação média: 1 avaliação de cliente
- Lista de mais vendidos da Amazon: no. 76,314 em Livros (Conheça o Top 100 na categoria Livros)
The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters (Inglês) Capa dura – 27 abr 2017
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A few years ago, I read Daniel Kahneman's remarkable book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow." While many of the studies in the book have now been called into question (an excellent illustration of one of Tom Nichols' sections about when experts are wrong), I still found it fascinating how I, a person with a graduate-level degree and extensive self-education through extensive reading, knew so very little about so much. I became aware of how easy it is to think that I know more than I do. It was quite humbling, which I need to remember more frequently in discussions on many topics.
At least I am aware of how little I know, though. Sometimes. And I know that, even as an expert in my own field, I can make mistakes. How much do we see today, though, of people without any education or training or experience, claiming that their opinion is as valid as any expert, or dismissing experts as nothing more than "elites," as if that allows them to be ignored?
In a time when our entire world is built around technology and knowledge and the experts who understand them, Americans are forgetting how that all happened. They are so ignorant of the knowledge and experience and understanding that exists, that they don't have a clue that they don't have a clue. Dunning-Kruger writ large. And it is slowly destroying democracy and our republic.
Tom Nichols can only recommend what is key, and what even our Founding Fathers understood: the electorate must be an INFORMED electorate. The populace must understand enough to make the decisions to choose both smart experts (Knowers) and policymakers (Deciders) and understand the limits of each.
The conclusion of Tom's book, if anything, offers little hope. Sadly, I agree. We both do hold out some hope, of course, but it will take a massive effort on the part of all sides. If it will happen, no one can predict, not even the experts. But without experts and policy makers who listen, and an educated, informed populace that helps choose and respect them.....I worry for the world of my children.
The book’s central thesis is that the cause of society’s rejection of experts is multifactorial, and the willful ignorance of some portends adverse consequences for society as a whole. The book begins by clarifying what an expert is and then details (“How the Conversation Became Exhausting”) the psychological forces at play that animate and maintain misinformation. Here, the author makes his most unsettling revelation, based on former research: that those who are the least informed are actually the most confident that they are not ill-informed. In essence, this upgrades ‘being incompetent' to a ‘being incompetent with a zealous passion and a lack of self-scrutiny to curb your own fervor.’ Next, each chapter tackles a different factor that has contributed to the demise of expertise: higher education, instant access to information on the Internet and the explosion of niche-focused journalism. The book devotes one chapter to detail what to do and what happens when the experts are wrong. In its final pages, The Death of Expertise guides readers to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?”
As an expert (M.D.) I frequently found myself nodding in agreement as the author makes a clear case for why people trust themselves, however misinformed they may be. I would go as far to say that any expert would derive the most benefit from The Death of Expertise because it so neatly clarifies why your expertise is often minimized or overlooked. Sadly, the book ends without a clear resolve and instead predicts an exacerbation of the current dilemma.
I gave this book 3.75 stars for two reasons. (And yes, after reading this book I must first admit that I am a not a book review expert and am critiquing a published author). (1) At times, the book sneaks into a style of writing that reads like a frustrated man going on a rant. This is particularly evident in chapter titled, “Higher Education” that describes the many institutional variables that encourage over-protected and entitled college students to treat their professors more like a McDonalds drive-thru teller than a distinguished professor. In such digressions, the book reads like one man’s subjective commentary on society-at-large and thus carries less objective weight. (2) The book has solid points which are surrounded by lots of “fluff.” Indeed, this book began as an essay and a lot of material within the chapters is repetitive and draws out the point.
Ultimately this is a book worth reading because it encourages everyone to take responsibility for themselves, what they think, and why they think that way. After all, an engaged, well-informed population is integral to the functioning of a democracy. The Death of Expertise also compels people to gain an education on what matters most to them. Certainly, this is something experts and laypeople alike can agree on.
However, I have some major problems with this book. Mr. Nichols comes off as a bit of a poster-child for the elitist intellectual set, at times coming across as condescending, and even arrogant. He freely admits that experts themselves are part of the problem, and that they sometimes get things wrong. But shockingly absent from his analysis is the possibility that experts might be corrupt, or have their own agenda - that a scientist might deny climate change while working for the Trump Administration, or take home a fat paycheck from Coca Cola for insisting that sugar-water doesn’t make people fat. This corruption angle is by far the biggest reason I personally have for not trusting what experts tell me.
In one chapter he rails against expert activists like Noam Chomsky for taking stands on issues beyond their expertise (Chomsky is a linguist). In the next Mr. Nichols, an expert on Russia-American relations, ridicules anybody who’s against GMO. Apparently Political Science degrees now include PhD-level courses on Botany, Ecology, and Medicine – who knew?
The problems the author describes are real, and are serious. But I would suggest that his book, and his attitude, present their own problems.