Why does everyone think they are an expert? I have been puzzling this out in my head, and I’m not entirely sure why, but let’s explore the possibilities and evidence.

I’m no expert, and I’ll never say I am in every case. I behave with humility and attempt to learn rather than dictate. I’m pragmatic, and I rarely believe I’m right. To me, confidence is admitting you’re fallible. It’s being curious and open to new ideas. After all, it’s easier to be right than wrong.

Nobody likes being wrong. I feel embarrassed when I’m wrong, even when it’s a simple mistake. At the same time, I know learning is hundreds of little mistakes. It’s missing an exit on the freeway and forgetting my wallet at home. I do both a lot less now than when I was in my twenties. I make fewer mistakes, and I’ve learned what not to do in so many different ways.

It probably sounds like I’m a condescending asshole, and maybe I am, but at least I’m not shoving my expert opinion down anyone’s throat.


OK, I should back up my claim, so here goes.

It doesn’t take long to hear the phrase you should from friends, advertisements, politicians, co-workers, and everyone. I recommend listening to people, and you’ll see it everywhere, especially in the comment section on any web page.

Keep an eye out for these keywords in all media.

you should, I know, you’re wrong, definitely, no doubt

…and many others.

Parenting Advice

Before I became a parent, EVERYONE had an expert opinion.

The Internet contains millions of blogs like this and books with too many words.

Tantrums In 5 Year Olds: The Best Advice You’ll Ever Receive

I remember hearing this advice, and it’s the best parenting advice I’ve ever received.

Everyone is different, and that’s normal.

Damn right, everyone’s different; that’s why there is no one size fits all solution. It would be fantastic if people would say here are some ideas rather than deliver prescriptions to problems. I want some honesty. After all, opinions are like assholes.

Financial Advice

Buy all the Bitcoin! Invest all your money in Monkey Stock ™️; it will make you rich! Don’t buy anything, ever, and save all your money until you die! Sure, buddy, I’ll pass.

I wonder if people stop to think that money isn’t everything?

Career Advice

Let’s talk about what triggered this article. Some asshat provided this unsolicited career advice.

If you DON’T know C#, don’t learn it. It is this generation’s COBOL and it will limit your career.

Assuming you’re not a programmer, this is the same statement.

If you DON’T know German, don’t learn it. It is this generation’s Latin and it will limit your career.

He is telling you not to learn something because it will limit your career, and it’s old.

This guy claims to have 39 years of programming experience and says he knows 39 programming languages. People are saying thank you for the advice in the comments section when this moron graduated college in 1998. Did this guy start coding when he was born?

If you want more unsolicited expert advice, join LinkedIn and enjoy the show.


I like this answer.

My puzzle was considered by The New York Times in 2000. I’m glad I’m not alone in my puzzlement. I still find it hard to believe this expert got so far in life before it all came crashing down.


I hope these experts become low-value commodities and are supplanted by data-driven experts, unafraid to admit they are wrong. These armchair wizards that think they know every spell in the universe make me sick.