How To Seem Smarter


Dilbert author Scott Adams has a nice post about how to seem smarter than you really are. Here's the best part:

It's important to agree with people if you want them to think you are a genius. For most people, the definition of smart is "Thinks exactly like me but even more so." If you think that disagreeing and offering excellent reasons for your thinking will change anyone's mind, you might be new on this planet. The best outcome you can expect from any conversation is that the other person will walk away thinking you're probably the CEO of something, assuming you also seem selfish, egocentric and unethical.

This is why sycophants sometimes end up as CEOs.

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  • A rather different view:
    The Smart-Talk Trap

  • pamtrend

    i totally agree with you.

  • So well put. (“If you think that disagreeing and offering excellent reasons… will change anyone’s mind, you might be new on this planet.”) Just look at the political blogs, Sunday talking heads, and especially the best selling political books. What sells is “she/he thinks exactly like me but even more so.” Confirming evidence, flattery, exotic nonsense, and (esp) why others are the blame for any shortfalls… it all works well. BTW part of the antidote can found by scanning David Foster’s blog posts.

  • It seems that another part of that “smart” concept is in simply being interested and attentive to what people are saying when they are communicating with you. There is always a positive reaction when people know sincerely are interested in what they say and agree with a number of their points.

  • Rob

    Thanks for the reminder. Excellent link. THanks.

  • With this kind of thinking, is it any wonder that our most pervasive product is mediocrity. Work for a company (or a politician) who hires only those who think alike, and nothing great can ever come of it.