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How many books to become a 'subject matter expert'?


How many books of a specific topic  

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How many books would have to be read(read, studied, outlined, memorized, etc.) in order to be considered a ‘subject matter expert’?  Verifiable skills such as dog training or surgeon or riding a bike not included. 

Examples:

The history of Ireland

Astronomy

Nutrition

Creativity

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Pick a more specific topic and the bar is much lower.

Pick a topic so specific that nobody has ever written a book about it and the bar is much, much lower.

Instead of 'history of Ireland" -> "history of Irish lake fishing between 777-780 AD"

Instead of "Astronomy" -> "suitability of star system XYZ1234 for colonization"

Instead of "Nutrition" -> "a comparison of the health benefits of commercially available gluten free pizzas for those without celiac disease"

 

With any one of these, spend the equivalent time of reading one book doing whatever research, thinking and writing about it, and you're almost certainly top five in the world.

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i've attempted a half-dozen historical fictions (a con man of the Ancien Regime, courtesan of the French Revolution, Byron & the Shelleys, WW1 poets Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen & Robert Graves battling shellshock together @ a Scottish hospital, Carl Fisher - the man who built the Indy Speedway AND Miami Beach - and Voltaire's return to Paris). Have anywhere from 30-150 books on each subject and read correspondences from private collections on five. And i quit school after 10th grade. And i'm very angry now after listing all those expenses and realizing how little i have to show for it. My lifetime drug tab is making more sense now....

In history, the bar is high. I can be conversant in as few as three books, but i'm special...

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Books?  How about real experience doing whatever it is.   Reading helps but nothing like actually doing/ seeing the real deal

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5 hours ago, need2know said:

Books?  How about real experience doing whatever it is.   Reading helps but nothing like actually doing/ seeing the real deal

I agree but it depends what the topic is. You can’t exactly learn the history of Ireland by doing any activity.

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On 6/12/2021 at 4:36 PM, BobbyLayne said:

Per Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers: The Story of Success.

Think Beatles playing hundreds of gigs in Hamburg and Liverpool, or Gates programming for years before founding Microsoft.

Perhaps not though. Interesting read.

  You literally may be taking the 10k hours concept too literally.  But interesting read indeed.

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