ramblings – is there such a thing as an anti-expert?

by | May 29, 2009 | Random | 2 comments

Image by Siphiwe Mhlambi

Image by Siphiwe Mhlambi

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am not an expert.  I know a bit about a lot of things and a lot more about a couple of things but there is nothing that I know inside out.  I love music, but I can’t quote you dates, and albums, and lyrics, and whatever.  I can tell you how it makes me feel and that I like it, and possibly some reasons why I like it. But that’s as far as I go.

I love gadgets, and spend a lot of time fiddling with them, but it’s more about how the fit into a daily schedule rather than the specs and intricacy of the features. I may use it a bit more effectively than the next person, but that’s about it.

I am a writer and a poet.  It’s what I’m passionate about although I’m still not quite sure whether I like it or not.  I’m still learning the nuances of writing and suspect I will probably be doing so for the rest of my life.  I can’t quote you lines from Achebe, or Chaucer, or whoever.

I get the impression that the whole ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ thing is a mild putdown, and for a very long time, I felt bad about not being an expert. A master.  I have decided to embrace it.  It has treated me well.  I was able to work in television because I could comfortably jump from a magazine show, a music show, and entrepreneurship show to a show on men (well, it did help that I’m a man with that last one).  I was able to edit a lifestyle magazine for men that covered everything for restaurants, gadgets and grooming to politics, spirituality and entertainment because I am schizophrenic in my interests and my knowledge.

I think I should get business cards that say ‘Jack of all trades’.  Why do I need to focus on one thing solely and become a total expert?  I put a roof over my head and food in the fridge because I am not an expert.

Just a thought.


  1. Lantz

    Great post, I have that problem when I write my CV as I am a Jack of all trades and don’t mind getting my hands dirty and learning new things.

    Thanks again for a great post good to know I am not alone 🙂

  2. Kojo Baffoe

    Hey Lantz

    I always wonder when people will realise that having a decent grasp of a lot of things is actually more of a plus than knowing everything about one thing. You can basically put an ‘anti-expert’ on anything and they will find their way.

    I will comfortably tell you if I don’t know something, but am also able to tell you whether I can learn about it or not. My lack of expertise makes me a bit more malleable.

    Thank you for your comment 🙂


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