Even with all the innovations in technology and opportunities for each of us to control our own flow of information, experiences, and stuff, it is not uncommon to want to talk with someone who knows more, has greater experience, or offers a different perspective than ours—a teacher, a coach, an executive, even a reporter. When we are looking for something—to make a purchase, to plan a trip, to solve a riddle, or to answer a question—this is even truer.
Looking beyond our own personal knowledge and perspective is a critical part of our daily survival. When we pick up a prescription, we ask the pharmacist about the side effects that might be caused by the medication we have been instructed to take. When a pipe leaks, we call on a plumber (or maybe in Brian's case, his father-in-law) for assistance.
Why do we ask these people? They are experts at what they do.
There are tools that exist, online and off, that allow us to answer all these questions ourselves. We can go to the library and read one of the thousands of books on whatever subject we are seeking to understand—aeronautical engineering, art, architecture, business, criminology, drama, the earth, fashion, human rights, mathematics, and hundreds of others. We can visit one of the millions of Web sites, blog posts, chat room discussions, and access white papers, transcripts, and other online resources that might reveal some important detail. If you are walking around and want to get a cup of coffee, you can ...