Tag: Google

Tom Nichols – The Death of Expertise | Review

Title: The Death of Expertise

Author: Tom Nichols

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 254

Rating: 4.5/5

This is easily one of the best non-fiction books that I’ve picked up this year and so I was a very happy bunny. It’s also pretty cool because it was recommended to me by one of my clients, to the point at which he paid for me to purchase a copy of it.

It’s basically all about the way in which everyone thinks they’re an expert today. We overrule doctors because we can Google our symptoms, but we also overrule experts in their different fields instead of taking their hard earned advice.

This is a huge problem, of course, but it’s even more of a problem in the midst of a global pandemic when people are convincing themselves that there’s some sort of secret conspiracy to deprive us all of our liberty by getting us to wear masks in shops. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I found this book more enjoyable than I normally would have because of the time in which I read it.

Arguably my favourite example in the whole book was that of American attitudes towards military action in Ukraine. It turns out that the less people knew about the Ukraine, the more likely they were to demand military action. Those who thought it was in Australia or South America were those who were most likely to support military involvement. What a world, man.

Learn more about The Death of Expertise.

 


Malcolm Gladwell – David & Goliath | Review

Title: David & Goliath

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 308

Rating: 3/5

I usually enjoy reading Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff, but this one was a little bit of a disappointment. I think the problem was that it was just far too basic – it basically shares a simple idea in a couple of pages and then spends the remaining 300 pages to give a bunch of examples. By about halfway through, I was thinking about DNFing it, but I stuck with it. I’m not sure whether I’m glad or not.

Basically, the idea is that it’s often the underdog who comes out on top, because they’re able to be more nimble and to use that to give them a competitive advantage. We see this in the story of David vs Goliath, although Gladwell argues that David was always the likely winner because he had a sling and Goliath was wearing heavy, cumbersome armour. He had no chance of getting close to David in the first place.

Then he talks at length about all sorts of different organisations, from the classic examples like Apple and Google to more obscure examples, such as the guy who campaigned for the three strikes law in California. It turns out that while the idea of harsher punishments might be a smart one, it just doesn’t really work in practice.

Overall, would I recommend this? Nah, I would not. It’s not that it’s terrible, it’s just pretty boring and not Gladwell’s best by a long shot. I’d recommend something like Blink instead. I still intend to read all of his books at some point, but it might take me a little longer to get to them now. He’s gone down a lot in my esteem and that’s a bit of a bummer. But it is what it is.

Learn more about David & Goliath.