Expert
Roger Kneebone

Book cover image

Narrated By: Roger Kneebone

Duration: 8 hours and 15 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

What could a lacemaker have in common with vascular surgeons? A Savile Row tailor with molecular scientists? A fighter pilot with jazz musicians? At first glance, very little. But Roger Kneebone, an expert on experts, has spent his life finding unexpected connections.

Kneebone maps out a path we're all following, whether in our career or any other part of our lives. He shows how you start by 'doing time' as an Apprentice, copying how things are already done. Then you set out on your own as a Journeyman, developing your 'voice' and taking full responsibility for your work, with its successes and inevitable failures. Finally, you become a Master, passing on your knowledge and skill to future generations. Expert explains the internal processes we all have to go through as we edge forwards.

In this groundbreaking book, Kneebone combines his own experiences as a doctor with insights from extraordinary people and cutting-edge research. He tells a story that resonates with us all - the story of how we can become expert. Whether you're developing a new career, studying a language, learning a musical instrument or simply becoming the person you want to be, Expert reveals the path to mastery and shows what lies ahead.

'Roger Kneebone is a legend' Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters

'Superbly written, passionately argued and very necessary' Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen

'The doctor stitching together medicine and art' Guardian

'If you want to do anything better, from surgery to embroidery, you can learn something from this book' Christopher Peters, Imperial College London

'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' Ken Arnold, Wellcome Collection

'Whisper it quietly, but post COVID-19, there is a growing realization that experts do matter' Susan Standring, King's College London

© Roger Kneebone 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Genre

Psychology, Advice on careers & achieving success, Performance art, Surgery, Careers guidance

Listen to a sample

Roger Kneebone is a legend

Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters

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

Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at Wellcome Collection

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'

Susan Standring, Emeritus Professor of Anatomy, King's College London

The doctor stitching together medicine and art

Guardian

My time spent studying and working in Japan has left me with a deep appreciation for the importance of skill and the mystery of its acquisition. How do we navigate that path from knowing nothing to being able to pass on precious knowledge and experience to the next generation? Roger Kneebone is a supremely thoughtful and sensitive companion on that journey.

Rebecca Salter RA, President of Royal Academy of Arts

Fascinating and inspiring

Financial Times

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

Christopher Peters FRCS, Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Upper GI and General Surgeon, Imperial College London

In a world awash with knowledge, we are in danger of forgetting what it means to be wise. Where knowledge arms us against the onslaughts of the world, wisdom disarms. It takes the risk opening up, to listen and attend, not presuming we already know. Wisdom puts others before ourselves. In this superbly written, passionately argued and very necessary book, Roger Kneebone contends that wisdom, more than knowledge, is the mark of the expert. In whatever vocation, as he shows us, becoming expert is a never-ending, lifelong task. But anyone can commit to it. Those who do should be an example to us all

Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen

Vividly practical

Nature

Examines the ubiquitous, but understudied, process of becoming an expert