Overview (Spoilers Abound):
NPR again is proving to be the moving force behind my book requests as Nichols’ The Death of Expertise, joins a smattering of other books, spanning a wide array of genres, which have been recommended through the website. Nichols tackles a difficult and seemingly delicate topic with grace, especially when both sides of the debate are increasingly sensitive and everyone is guilty, to a certain extent. I found myself at various points with in this read falling on both fronts, whether it was being culpable of automatically second guessing doctors or being at the mercy of students ruthless evaluations when teaching college classes. Nichols manages to not only capture so many of the random, fleeting thoughts I’ve had over the years regarding this topic, but also to expand upon them with detailed examples, and thought provoking insight that has me still pondering weeks after finishing this read. I can only imagine how difficult this topic was to organize and compile, as there are no easy solutions for any of the topics highlighted throughout The Death of Expertise. In all honesty, the epilogue leaves one in need of a happy next read as the foreseeable outcomes are not the most optimistic, as Nichols acknowledges right from the beginning of his last chapter. Although in jest, I can’t help but point out that he also spent a chapter discussing how experts’ predictions are not all that accurate. Needling aside, Nichols delivers a thought provoking look at the state of our experts and the role they’re currently relegated to within present day society, along side the views of the masses and how the media, internet, and information all factor into the aforementioned perceptions. Overall, The Death of Expertise is a read whose disquieting concepts will linger long after the last page has been finished, especially as you interact with experts in various fields within your own life.