The Death of Expertise Book Summary - The Death of Expertise Book explained in key points
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The Death of Expertise summary

Tom Nichols

The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters

4.2 (66 ratings)
15 mins

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The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols explores the consequences of the current distrust in experts and the rise of anti-intellectualism in society. Nichols argues for the importance of expertise and knowledge in decision-making. A thought-provoking read.

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    The Death of Expertise
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    Although disagreements about expertise are nothing new, they have been increasing in the internet age.

    In the past, you could expect some misinformation coming from the tobacco or sugar industries, who were always ready to tell you how harmless their products were. But these days, it’s becoming harder to keep track of what’s real and what’s bogus.

    Generally speaking, being able to challenge a government’s official message has always been a sign of a healthy democracy. In the cradle of democracy, ancient Athens around the fifth century BC, the general populace was heavily involved in discussions about social and political developments.

    And even back then, there were the same two opposing sides we continue to see today: the intellectuals who believe most people are buffoons, and the laypeople who have a distrust for anyone claiming to be an expert.

    But things changed dramatically once the internet arrived in our homes, and the conflict between experts and laypeople has gotten wildly out of hand.

    The internet makes it possible to find a source to support any opinion under the sun, no matter how outrageously unscientific it might be, and it also has people feeling more empowered than ever to voice their opinions.

    Once people start ganging up and attacking established knowledge, years of scientific progress are endangered and people’s lives can be put at risk.

    This is certainly the case with the anti-vaccine movement. Despite consistent research and an overwhelming majority of doctors and scientists insisting that vaccines are safe and essential for protecting children against disease, a dangerous myth caught on with the public. Now, many people truly believe vaccines are harmful and can even cause autism.

    What’s worse is that these movements can pick up celebrity endorsements, as was the case with Jim Carrey, who used his celebrity status to promote this misinformation. Thousands of parents are now putting their children and others at risk by refusing to vaccinate their children.

    People who reject expert advice often use the logic that experts have been proven wrong in the past and can be wrong again. This is true, but it’s also true that science has gotten more exact and experienced experts are less likely to be wrong than ordinary citizens and movie stars, especially when it comes to their area of expertise.

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    What is The Death of Expertise about?

    The Death of Expertise (2017) examines the current attacks on science and knowledge that seem to be on the rise in our current technological and political environment. What has happened to objective truths being the truth and facts being indisputable? Why is science now a matter of political partisanship? Find out what’s really going on and why this is one of the most important issues of our day.

    The Death of Expertise Review

    The Death of Expertise (2017) explores the alarming decline of trust in experts and the consequences for our society. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through thorough research and analysis, the author reveals the dangers of dismissing expertise and the impact on public discourse and decision-making.
    • The book provides compelling examples from various fields, highlighting the complex issues and challenges faced by experts in today's information age.
    • By examining the underlying causes of this trend, the book prompts reflection and encourages readers to consider the importance of expertise in a democratic society.

    Who should read The Death of Expertise?

    • Citizens looking for facts rather than political rhetoric
    • Readers concerned about fake news and misinformation
    • Students of political science and communications

    About the Author

    Tom Nichols is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, as well as an adjunct professor at the Harvard Extension School. He is a respected authority on foreign policy issues and international security, and is the author of many books on these subjects including Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War and The Russian Presidency.

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    The Death of Expertise FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Death of Expertise?

    The main message of The Death of Expertise is that society is losing respect for experts and the consequences are significant.

    How long does it take to read The Death of Expertise?

    The reading time for The Death of Expertise varies, but it generally takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Death of Expertise a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Death of Expertise is worth reading as it sheds light on the erosion of expertise and its impact on society. It offers valuable insights and food for thought.

    Who is the author of The Death of Expertise?

    The author of The Death of Expertise is Tom Nichols.

    What to read after The Death of Expertise?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Death of Expertise, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Deepfakes and the Infocalypse by Nina Schick
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    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • The Intelligence Trap by David Robson
    • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Not the End of the World by Hannah Ritchie
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl