Not a single polymath

File this under “Duh”:

A study at Loyola University suggests that people who believe themselves experts in a field are fairly close-minded towards new ideas. That’s a problem, but another one is often a bigger headache: The number of people who become experts in a field who then think that makes them authorities in unrelated fields. That problem is why we have people asking celebrities about politics and politicians about how to save money.

Shorter version: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Noam frigging Chomsky what the Check Engine Light means?”

Not to humblebrag or anything, but the subjects on which I can claim even marginal expertise can be counted on the fingers of one hand and still leave one finger to raise at anyone who dares question me. (Which, as you’d know if you’d read this site for more than a couple of days, is pretty much everyone.)


  1. JT »

    3 November 2015 · 9:01 pm

    I should have business cards printed up with the title of JOATMON – Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

  2. McGehee »

    4 November 2015 · 7:39 am

    I’m an expert in adding HTML>/i> tags to comments.

  3. fillyjonk »

    4 November 2015 · 7:53 am

    Essentially the Peter Principle in slightly different clothing?

    I know enough to be dangerous in a few specific areas but I’m also fairly aware of what I don’t know.

  4. Lynn »

    4 November 2015 · 5:19 pm

    I’m an expert in how people should behave and dress in public. Shut up and pull up your pants.

  5. CGHill »

    4 November 2015 · 5:25 pm

    Yes, ma’am.

  6. Brett »

    4 November 2015 · 6:01 pm

    Of course, the problem with your suggestion, Charles, is that Chomsky would voice an opinion whether he had any knowledge of the light’s cause or not. He has done so too long to stop.

    And thanks for the link!

  7. Jay »

    5 November 2015 · 11:32 am

    I’ve been calling people like that WGEE’s: World’s Greatest Expert in Everything.

    Also had to remind myself several times not to become on.

  8. jsallison »

    5 November 2015 · 9:27 pm

    “A man must know his limitations” said some guy named Clint.

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