Monday, September 3, 2007

Expert or Pseudo-expert?

I was recently reading a financial book and read an excerpt describing the expert vs. pseudo-expert. Although it was a book about trading stocks, it rang very true for graphic designers and I would think most professions as well. The book is titled "Way of the Turtle" by Curtis M. Faith, and I want to quote the following section:
"For every true expert, there are scores of pseudo-experts who are able to perform in the field, have assembled loads of knowledge, and in the eyes of those who are not experts are indistinguishable from the true experts. These pseudo-experts can function but do not really understand the area in which they claim expertise.

True experts don't have rigid rules; they understand what's going, and so they do not need rigid rules.

Pseudo-experts, however, don't understand, and so they tend to look at what the experts are doing and copy it. They know what to do but not why it should be done...they know how to apply complex processes and techniques and have been well trained but do not understand the limits of those techniques.

Don't confuse experience with expertise or knowledge with wisdom."
It was a very interesting passage and made me think of the scores of people who have been trained to use the suite of design applications, but not how to design. True designers, and true experts in any field, just "get it." They are innovators, problem solvers and leaders in their field. I would like to think I am a true expert. I hope I am and will always strive to be. It's a good thing to always challenge yourself and your limits. Push yourself a little harder and hold yourself to a higher standard. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.