It’s conventional wisdom that the best and brightest people should be in charge.

When there’s a problem, everyone wants an expert to solve it. If you need heart surgery, for example, you seek the most accomplished surgeon to operate on you.

And yet, who should run the hospital? Is the most accomplished heart surgeon qualified to manage a large organization? Or would a more well-rounded viewpoint work better?

Conventional wisdom often misses the bigger picture.

Even if a top surgeon wanted the job of running a hospital, it would be a point of conversation whether the surgeon had an aptitude for it. The reality is that managing a situation requires a broader skill set than performing a task.

One need only look to the world of sports.

The winningest coaches in the NBA and MLB were below-average players. Here’s what is said about the Major League Baseball coach with over 3,700 career wins:

Mack was “a light-hitting catcher with a reputation as a smart player, but didn’t do anything particularly well as a player.”


In the NFL, the head coach with the most Super Bowl victories, Bill Belichick, never played professional football.

Conversely, Eric Clapton is considered among the greatest guitarists to pick up a Fender Stratocaster. Yet, no one seriously believes Clapton should run the Fender Corporation.

There’s a lot of evidence that people with average skills can make great managers. Conversely, many experts manage poorly. They may view the problem incorrectly based on the expert’s deep but narrow view; as the saying goes, “a hammer looking for a nail.”

The authors of the US Constitution saw a limit to the expert’s abilities. For example, the “founding fathers” put command of the military in civilian hands. They did not want the United States to run by military fiat. The writers of the US Constitution counted on the president to take many factors into consideration before using the military.

Yet, the call for experts to run our society continues to this day.

There’s a debate over how well Dr. Anthony Fauci managed the country’s pandemic response. Dr. Fauci had impressive credentials as a research scientist and a policymaker. He was the director of the National Institutes of Health for nearly 40 years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Dr. Fauci was elevated to a role far above that of a specialist. Fauci’s COVID-19 policies were so closely followed that Joe Biden quipped in December 2021 that Fauci was the real president. Fauci spearheaded public health mandates that affected every aspect of our society.

The US president, hired to be a manager, gave the country over to an expert. At the time, many felt safe that a specialist on infectious diseases was in control. Today, we’re counting the devastating cost of an expert’s plan to eradicate COVID-19. The side effects are numerous. One study determined that more people under 65 died from alcohol-related illnesses in 2020 than from COVID.

Many dissenters believed the cost was too high and were censored. Fauci now says it’s impossible to know whether the lockdowns he proposed were effective.

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