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Humorist George Carlin once said, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” In the workforce, being an employee usually means balancing smarts with stupidity, but erring toward the latter. André Spicer, a professor of organizational behavior at City, University of London, brilliantly outlines a scenario that many newly minted graduates face when starting their professional lives: Their days of high intellectual achievement are over. getAbstract recommends this hilariously topical, yet highly relevant article to executives, managers and young professionals alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the brightest minds from the best universities seldom realize their potential,
  • Why executives and their initiatives are rarely effective, and
  • How to balance acting intelligent with practicing “stupidity.”

About the Author

André Spicer is a professor of organizational behavior at the City University of London. He recently co-authored the book, The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work.



Each year, organizations hire the best graduates from the finest universities. After years of honing and sharpening their skills, these graduates expect, but won’t find, intellectual development in their careers. Rather, those who flourish do so by keeping clients happy and “switching off their brains.” They become practitioners of “stupidity.”

Organizational stupidity comes in many forms. There is bureaucracy. Doctors and teachers spend more time navigating rules than they do healing or educating. There...

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