In times of uncertainty and upheaval like – we’re now experiencing – we turn to “experts” to tell us what’s going on and what we can expect. Don’t believe a word of what they are uttering. Numerous studies show that expert predictions are wrong. The great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led England during the Second World War, wryly reflected on his frustration in getting “expert” advice: “It’s the ability to foretell what will happen tomorrow, next month and next year – and to explain afterwards why it did not happen.”

I keep an extensive database of failed predictions. Here are a few favorites:

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.”
The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall in 1957

“Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale University, a few days before the stock market crash in October of 1929

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax…. No balloon and no aero plane will ever be practically successful… There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (or Lord Kelvin), late 19th century British mathematical physicist and engineer

“So many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value.”
1486 committee advising King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain regarding a proposal by Christopher Columbus, six years before he discovered the Americas

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.”
Albert Einstein, early 20th century Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist

“The (Atomic) bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”
Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy to President Truman in 1944

John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American economist, Harvard professor, advisor to U.S. presidents, and author of over four dozen books and one thousand papers summed it up well, “There are two classes of people who tell what is going to happen in the future: Those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.”