How To Be An Expert Without Actually Knowing Anything

By way of io9, the geeky science fiction (or is that redundant? :-) blog, comes The Evil Futurists’ Guide to World Domination: How to be Successful, Famous, and Wrong.

So what advice do they offer for those who want to have a career in spouting predictive BS?

Be certain, not right.
… no matter what you do, no matter what you believe, be certain. As Tetlock put it, in this world “only the overconfident survive, and only the truly arrogant thrive.”

Sounds like advice for anyone running for public office as well.


Claim to be an expert: it makes people’s brains hurt.

And research proves it!

No expertise, no problem.
… knowing you’re not an expert should make you more confident in your work. And confidence is everything.

One simple idea may be one too many.
Having a single big theory, even if it’s totally outrageous, makes you sound more credible. Having a Great Idea also makes it easier for you to seem like a Great Visionary, capable of seeing things that others cannot.

Get prizes for being outrageous.

Does calling something “award winning” have any meaning these days?

There’s a success hiding in every failure.

Don’t remember your failures. No one else will.

Fact checking is a lost art that desperately needs to be revived.

The author claims “The citations are all real. But no, I don’t really mean a single word of it.”.

I’m not so sure. Maybe he will in the future.

Image: Future City by ILMO JOE, used under a Creative Commons license.

1 Comments How To Be An Expert Without Actually Knowing Anything

  1. Bellringers

    My favorite one–”confidence is everything…” If you walk the walk, talk the talk and act like you know what you’re doing, few people (if any) ever question you. Even kids understand that one. They do it all the time. The ones who wander the halls looking like they are on a mission seldom get stopped. The ones who slink about get stopped all the time.


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