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 is the expert on experts, having spent a lifetime finding the connections.
In Expert, he combines his own experiences as a doctor with insights from extraordinary people and cutting-edge research to map out the path we're all following - from 'doing time' as an Apprentice, to developing your 'voice' and taking on responsibility as a Journeyman, to finally becoming a Master and passing on your skills. As Kneebone shows, although each outcome is different, the journey is always the same.
Whether you're developing a new career, studying a language, learning a musical instrument or simply becoming the person you want to be, this ground-breaking book reveals the path to mastery.
When I visited Derek Frampton, he was posing a clouded leopard. I’d never seen a clouded leopard before. She was sitting like a cat, her tail curled round her, gazing at a tiny cub which looked as if it was about to run away and play. They were so realistic I could hardly believe they were stuffed.
Derek is a taxidermist, one of the best there is. He’d invited me to his house to see how he works. We were in his ‘display room’, full to bursting with animals of every kind. Glass cases of birds and reptiles, every surface covered with creatures. On one table was a parakeet nearing completion, its wings held in position by threads; on another was an alligator with its jaws about to snap shut, next to a tree frog glowing like a jewel in the sunlight. Apart from the eerie stillness it was like being in a menagerie.
I’d arranged to visit Derek because he’s one of the country’s leading experts in his field. I’m interested in experts and I wanted to find out more. Moving a half-finished skink from a chair so I could sit down, Derek explained what taxidermy involves.
He made the process sound pretty straightforward. You remove the animal’s skin, recreate its body shape in plaster and replace the skin. He showed me a zebra’s hide, shapeless and slumped in a corner. When I asked how he would remake the animal before the final stages, he said ‘Well, you just sculpt a zebra that size and put the skin back on’.
It’s that ‘just’ that’s key. If you want a zebra, you just sculpt one that size. It’s obvious. But to me it isn’t obvious, it’s unimaginable. It’s what makes Derek an expert.