An expert is someone who knows a lot about the past.
—Tom Hopkins (b.1911) English Sportsperson
We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts.
—Harold Macmillan (1894–1986) British Head of State
An ordinary man away from home giving advice.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
What is an expert? Someone who is twenty miles from home.
Only by strict specialization can the scientific worker become fully conscious, for once and perhaps never again in his lifetime, that he has achieved something that will endure. A really definitive and good accomplishment is today always a specialized act.
—Max Weber (1864–1920) German Sociologist
Make three correct guesses consecutively and you will establish a reputation as an expert.
—Laurence J. Peter (1919–90) Canadian-born American Educator, Author
An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field.
—Niels Bohr (1885–1962) Danish Physicist
What’s an expert? I read somewhere, that the more a man knows, the more he knows, he doesn’t know. So I suppose one definition of an expert would be someone who doesn’t admit out loud that he knows enough about a subject to know he doesn’t really know how much.
—Malcolm S. Forbes (1919–1990) American Publisher, Businessperson
It is surely a matter of common observation that a man who knows no one thing intimately has no views worth hearing on things in general. The farmer philosophizes in terms of crops, soils, markets, and implements, the mechanic generalizes his experiences of wood and iron, the seaman reaches similar conclusions by his own special road; and if the scholar keeps pace with these it must be by an equally virile productivity.
—Charles Cooley (1864–1929) American Sociologist
There is nothing so stupid as the educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an elite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
Experts often possess more data than judgment.
—Colin Powell (b.1937) American Military Leader
Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hall-mark of true science.
—Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) English Humanist, Pacifist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Satirist
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
—Steven Weinberg (1933–2021) American Physicist
Good counselors lack no clients.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
Consultants are people who borrow your watch and tell you what time it is, and then walk off with the watch.
—Robert C. Townsend (1920–98) American Businessman
What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it’s charming.
—Edgar Degas (1834–1917) French Painter, Sculpture, Printer maker, Artist
We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit, and just as little have we any need to be professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest.
—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) German Philosopher
How much a dunce that has been sent to roam, excels a dunce that has been kept at home.
—William Cowper (1731–1800) English Anglican Poet, Hymn writer
A specialist is someone who does everything else worse.
—Ruggiero Ricci (1918–2012) American Violinist
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.
—Nicholas Murray Butler (1862–1947) American Philosopher, Diplomat, Educator
Expert: One who limits himself to his chosen mode of ignorance.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
The more the world is specialized the more it will be run by generalists.
—Marcel Masse (b.1940) Canadian Politician, Bureaucrat
Always listen to the experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.
—Robert A. Heinlein (1907–88) American Science Fiction Writer
Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.
—Alistair Cooke (1908–2004) British-American Journalist, Broadcaster
A specialist is a person who fears the other subjects.
—Martin H. Fischer
It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.
—Henry Kissinger (b.1923) American Diplomat, Academician
This world is run by people who know how to do things. They know how things work. They are equipped. Up there, there’s a layer of people who run everything. But we—we’re just peasants. We don’t understand what’s going on, and we can’t do anything.
—Doris Lessing (1919–2013) British Novelist, Poet
The public do not know enough to be experts, but know enough to decide between them.