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CU Minute

The Importance of Questioning Experts

Author: Kevin P. Chiappetta, CFA, SVP/Chief Education & Research Officer

With information so abundant and opinions plentiful, it's crucial to develop the ability to think critically and question authority figures or "experts." The book, Think for Yourself, serves as a reminder of this vital skill, encouraging readers to challenge conventional wisdom and form their own informed opinions. For more on that book and others, see the QuantyPhi Industry and Financial Reads page on related reading suggestions.

The Fallibility of Experts

Experts, despite their extensive knowledge and credentials, are not immune to biases, mistakes, or external influences. History is replete with instances where experts have been proven wrong or have disagreed with one another on various topics. For example, in the 1970s, many experts dismissed the potential of personal computers, failing to anticipate their transformative impact on society. Recently, many macroeconomic experts were proclaiming the beginning of a period of as many as seven reductions in the Federal Funds rate. Those same experts have revised their predictions to two cuts, but we still await the first as of this writing.

The Danger of Blind Trust

Blindly accepting expert opinions without questioning or verifying their claims can be dangerous. It can lead to wide dissemination of misinformation, the perpetuation of harmful practices, or the stifling of progress. By critically analyzing expert claims, we can uncover potential biases, conflicts of interest, or logical fallacies that may undermine their arguments.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

To effectively evaluate expert opinions, it's essential to develop critical thinking skills. This involves learning to identify logical fallacies, recognizing potential sources of bias, and cross-checking information from multiple reliable sources. Most importantly, it requires an openness to changing one's mind in the face of compelling evidence, even if it contradicts previously held beliefs.

The Importance of Humility and Lifelong Learning

Even as we gain expertise in a particular field, it's crucial to maintain a sense of humility and a commitment to lifelong learning. No one individual or group can claim to have a monopoly on knowledge, and new discoveries or insights can challenge existing paradigms. Remaining open-minded and acknowledging the limitations of our understanding are essential for personal growth and progress.


In a world filled with competing claims and conflicting information, it's vital to cultivate a healthy skepticism towards experts while respecting their knowledge and contributions. By thinking for ourselves, questioning authority, and making informed decisions based on critical analysis, we can navigate complex issues with greater clarity and wisdom. Embrace the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and never stop learning and growing.

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