Should you trust the experts always?

by Ashvini on March 6, 2012 · 9 comments

in My Personal Thoughts

A general tendency is to call an expert when one does not have sufficient knowledge of a subject. Experts are presumed to know everything about a problem and its solution.

Experts :Thoughts on entrepreneurship, leadership and motivation

That is why thousands of people across the world rely on experts to make predictions for them. There are for example many experts on the stock market who regularly try to predict the direction of market based on their experiences from the past and their knowledge. However they often come up with failures. Still people listen to them push their doubts under the carpet and do what only those experts tell. They rush to their stock brokers in order to find the next golden stock.

Tech forums are full of people who just at a hint of a problem, run to tech forums to seek expert answers. They do not want to make the effort by first searching on the internet. Often the experts know that you do not want to do the hard work. They tell you the solution that appeal to your thought process rather than the right ones.

Experts may not have your best interest in mind. I have seen and met a few experts who are only interested in giving roundabout information that is not useful most of the time. They want me to come to them again and again( probably they can make more money that way).

Some experts would also like to give you suggestions that go contrary to your thinking. In that case they might cause more confusion than the actual resolution.

Sometimes, experts too make their own assumptions which may be contrary to the truth. They then derive incorrect conclusion which may be troublesome for you, if you seek their advice. For example, an expert would be trying to sell you a stock which probably was recommended by a group of experts, that he trusts.

Would an expert doubt himself?

No single formula works everywhere for all situations. Naseem Nicholas Taleb in his book “Black Swan” talks about a number of factors which include unexpected events, human biases and many other things that can shape an outcome. Even the perfect formula that worked for some other company may not work for you. An expert who says that outcome will be the same for all situations because he says so, is deluding you and himself.

Can you trust experts?

I am not saying all experts are incorrect or do not do their homework. The best expert is the one who explains his logic and thought process. He is open to suggestions and is flexible. He may let go of short term convictions in the interest of the client. Like a good salesman who lets go of the sales today in order to win the customer forever, a good experts works with the client and not against him.

Why not do a little bit of research yourself?

In the case of stock market, it pays to learn the nuances of financial statements. You will learn about finance and gather knowledge about the industry.

If you are operating your entrepreneurial venture and if you have a problem, you can always find solution by first researching on the subject and then seeking the expert opinion.

Ask specific questions, get specific answers

Ask an expert, which direction is stock market headed this year? You will get a roundabout answer which in the end will mean “up”. However, if you pick a stock, learn about it and frame specific question like “How is entry of the competitor company is going to affect the prospects of stock of the company I picked up?” or “What is new product that this company is developing, about?” you might see a more serious face.

You will probably notice that  “the expert”  is more prepared next time.

Take help from the expert but then also do a little bit of research yourself too. You will learn something new and you can ask more relevant question next time.

What about you? Do you run to expert every time you face a problem or do you research a lot before you approach the expert?

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Aswani March 19, 2012 at 8:21 am

Nice and interesting Ashvini. Well, if you are asking me, I have to say that I do not see any problem in consulting experts but the major problem lies in identifying those who are known to be experts. Usually I do not find people claiming to be experts. And so it gets very difficult to find solution to the problems if it requires expert help. However, it isn’t so difficult at forums usually tech forums where you do find experts. Very recently, I had a very similar experience at a Google Adsense help forum. I was guided by an expert which really helped me out in solving a big problem I was facing on my blog. And at times, I have been helped by few people in blogosphere who I think are fit to be considered as experts though they have never ever claimed to be same. So, my take is that if people are able to solve big complex issues which I cannot then I can surely put them in the experts list and there is absolutely no problem with the trust factor with them..!

Rana Sinha March 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Very good and sane advice here. When going to an ‘expert’, we should resist the temptation to waive common sense and have the guts to disregard ‘expert’ advice. I’ve found that out also the hard way.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Hi Rana,

“Waive common sense”. How true. Isn’t that what most people do, when they blindly believe experts. They believe that some one else will take care of them and all they need to do is to enjoy. We all had our shares of “experts” and burned by them. Thank you for your comment once again :)

Bryce Christiansen March 7, 2012 at 2:53 am

Hi Ashvini,

This is gold Ashvini. I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of experts in sheep’s clothing.

It’s easy for us to get overtaken by them. We feel vulnerable in our ignorance and are trusting of those who claim to “know better”.

The sad thing though is when you are left with no results and your wallet a bit lighter.

Great post,


Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Hi Bryce,

Thank you for talking about your experience. Even I have been an expert in my area when I was in the job. I always used to lay out thought process before the client. There were a lot of people who went in a roundabout manner to solve a problem. It thus became very clear to the client that they did not know the subject.

If we don’t take care, we definitely see our wallet much lighter :)

Michelle Agner March 7, 2012 at 1:12 am

Someone once told me that the definition of an expert is someone who knows a little more about a topic than you do. Unfortunately, that drives my inner skeptic into overdrive, and I must research, research, research before making any decisions. Thanks for the insight, Ashvini!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hi Michelle,

Welcome to my blog. You are so right about research. Even though we may not become experts but then we are not newbies also. I appreciate your comment :)

Robert March 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Hey Ashvini,

Good post man. We live in a day and age where nearly everyone is a so-called, self-proclaimed expert, when in reality there are only a few experts out there. Experts must have a combination of knowledge and practical experience. The internet is truly amazing, it lets us thoroughly research almost any topic we want. However, it doesn’t always mean that the information we find is accurate, or, indeed, appropriate to our situation. I think it’s often important to find an expert with a proven track record. If someone is truly an expert, it doesn’t matter if their thinking and solution is very different to what we had in mind, as long as it gets us to the correct destination :)

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi Robert,
Absolutely true. Today’s world is all about self-promotion. Its great when someone really tell facts. But most of the times they want to extract the pounds of flesh from their clients. I would do a little research myself for asking from an expert.

I think it’s often important to find an expert with a proven track record is the right way to go.

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