Monday, February 18, 2008

How to become an expert in your field in ten books or less!

You can’t polish sandshoes! The only way to achieve a high gloss sheen on a pair of shoes is to start with quality shoes. The same applies for expertise. You can’t manufacture a GURU!

Experts are created through quality thought. They are not just manufactured through marketing.

Here is a useful five step thinking process for developing expertise.

  • Get ten books on your chosen area of expertise.
  • Read them all from cover to cover.
  • As you read them ask yourself the questions; YES BUT and YES AND.
  • Take note of your YES BUTs and YES ANDs in a journal as you go. This forces you into original thinking and stops you from becoming a ‘me too’ expert.
  • See if the disparate bits and pieces you noted in your journal form an overarching context. Take some time to think about this context and see if you can expand your thinking in that area.

This process is similar to the PhD literature review process where you read everything you can on your topic and then choose an unexplored dimension.

There are many ways to approach the development of expertise. Few of these avoid good quality thinking.

Sit down, read, discuss and experiment with what you know. Create original perspectives on topics that people need to know.

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