The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation

Front Cover
Villard Books, 1998 - 445 pages
Did you ever have the uneasy feeling the experts
are not . . . well, expert?

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
--Irving Fisher, professor of economics at Yale University, October 17, 1929

"Forget it, Louis, no Civil War picture ever made a nickel."
--Irving Thalberg's warning to Louis B. Mayer regarding Gone With the Wind

"We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."
--Decca Recording Company executive, turning down the Beatles, 1962

"With over fifty foreign cars already on sale here the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself."--Business Week, 1968

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home."
--President of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

"Bill Clinton will lose to any Republican who doesn't drool on stage."
--The Wall Street Journal, in a 1995 editorial


The Experts Speak systematically catalogues, footnotes, and sets straight these and a couple of thousand other examples of expert misunderstanding, miscalculation, egregious prognostication, boo-boos, and just plain lies. The experts have been wrong about everything under, including, and beyond the sun: time, space, the sexes, the races, the environment, economics, politics, crime, education, the media, history, and science. In this expanded and updated edition (now more error-filled than ever), we see just how much the experts don't know.  But the book also goes deeper, presenting a through-the-looking-glass chronicle of human knowledge: the story of what was and is so, as seen through the story of what we wanted to and did believe.

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The experts speak: the definitive compendium of authoritative misinformation

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A revised and expanded version of the 1984 original, The Experts Speak collects hundreds of the dumbest predictions ever made by newspapers, critics, and business executives such as an L.A. surgeon's ... Read full review

Contents

Who What Where How and Precisely When?
3
The Origin of Life and Evolution of Living Things
9
The Races Creeds and Colors of Man
22
A Brief Sampler of Metaphysical Opinion
30
Hazards of Life in the Biosphere
45
Dismal? Yes Science? No
53
Crime and the Law
70
Politics
81
PART FIVE
223
Clean Silent Servant of Humankind
232
Construction Technology
240
The Quest for Reliable Transportation
248
Military Technology
262
Rocketry and Space Exploration
275
PART
283
Notable Actors on the World Stage
306

International Relations
104
Literature
169
The Theater
184
Cinema
190
Music
197
Drawing and Painting
203
The World of Sport
209
Astronomy
319
Ohms Law
324
Physics Nuclear
330
The Institute of Exper tology
343
Illustration Sources
397
Copyright

Other editions - View all

About the author (1998)

Christopher Cerf is the co-editor of The Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook and The Eighties: A Look Back at the Tumultuous Decade, 1980-1989. He is a former contributing editor to the National Lampoon, and he co-edited the newspaper parody Not the New York Times.

Victor Navasky is the publisher and editorial director of The Nation. He is the author of the American Book Award winner Naming Names and Kennedy Justice.

Bibliographic information