What do lace makers share with vascular surgeons? Savile Row tailors with molecular scientists? Jazz musicians with fighter pilots? Seemingly they have little in common, other than being skilled at what they do. But Roger Kneebone, an expert on experts, has spent his life finding points of connection. As he shows, while the outcome may be very different, the journey to becoming expert is always the same.
Kneebone describes a path we're all following. You start by 'doing time' as an Apprentice, copying how things are already done by other people. Then you set out on your own as a Journeyman, developing your own voice and taking responsibility for your work. Finally, you become a Master, refining your knowledge and passing it on to future generations. Whatever your passion, there's comfort in locating yourself, understanding how far there is to go, and seeing how far you've come.
In this ground-breaking book, Kneebone combines cutting-edge research, including his own work with extraordinary experts, with traditions from the medieval guilds. He reveals with colour and panache the symbiotic system that creates and sustains experts, whatever their field. He explains how you can become one yourself, whether you're learning a language, giving a presentation, or simply becoming the person you want to be.
Roger Kneebone is a legend
The doctor stitching together medicine and art
Roger Kneebone has an insatiable desire to understand what makes people tick and for years has scratched this itch by bringing together countless interesting people to share their experience and knowledge. This book on experts is a wonderful manifestation of what he has learnt. If you want to do anything better, from surgery to embroidery, you can learn something from this book
Roger Kneebone describes a journey that has no short cuts and no end. He tracks the inside story of becoming an expert, documenting a time line that stretches from the state of knowing nothing to passing on the wisdom of a lifetime. He draws out common themes between his experiences as a medical student, surgeon, GP, educator, academic, harpsichord player and sometime juggler with those of men and women working creatively in design studios, workshops and performance spaces, all of them now experts in their own fields. His refutation of the view that experts are an irrelevant, 'useless elite' is compelling and chilling in equal measure. Whisper it quietly, but post COVID-19, there is a growing realisation that experts do matter. I wish this book had been available when I was a student - it is full of wisdom, insight, humanity and encouragement. We should all aim to cross the 'ha-ha'
Roger Kneebone is our foremost expert on expertise. Expert is a desperately important book at a moment when we've begun to wonder just what we might still be good at