Monday, August 31, 2015

“They’re Stupid!”

Where have you heard that lately? People are saying that Mr. Trump’s “they’re stupid” mantra has turned political correctness on its head. But, he may be on to something. A friend of mine reminded me of Carlo Maria Cipolla’s study of human stupidity which he reported in an essay titled The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity. Cipolla identified five fundamental laws of stupidity:

  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

You ignore Cipolla’s five laws at your peril, especially #5.

As a business owner and executive, I didn’t use the word stupid, but like any good executive or manager, I understood the dangers stupid people presented.

My team at Juris, Inc. called them “unconscious incompetents.” They are people who are not yet competent for the position they are in and do not know they are incompetent. Few people, including the President of the United States, go into a position fully competent on day one. Conscious incompetent people know their limitations and compensate. They seek advice, take advantage of training opportunities, they self study, etc. — all in an effort to learn and gain experience that increases their level of competency. The process from incompetent to competent is explained by the authority triangle in my book The Language of Excellence.

The unconscious incompetent without hesitation makes decisions for which they are not qualified. As employees they expose an organization to undue risk and thus when identified they are driven out—terminated. The risk to society of unconscious incompetent political figures and bureaucrats is even greater, and unfortunately, they are seldom driven out, and prior to Mr. Trump, there was often no attempt to identify them. Who are unconscious incompetents: “They are the dangerous people—Trump’s “STUPID!” people.”

Now....consider this. Do you think Mr. Trump is ready, fully competent, for the job of President of the United States? If not, do you think he knows that? ...And if he doesn’t, wouldn’t that make him, I don’t know... “STUPID!”

# # #
For signed copies of The Language of Excellence and other books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to Ebook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBooks Store and
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Every once a while, someone really comes through!  These are the Good people and Good products. The Good people do what they promised when they promised to do it, and they do it at the price they promised. Likewise, you occasionally get your hands on Good products.  They are priced right, built right, and do exactly what you expected them to.
Unfortunately, Good no longer seems to be the norm. More likely than not, you will not get what you paid for. I am really getting tired of poor service, shoddy products or poor workmanship, and failures to deliver (or show up) on time as promised. Those are the Bad people and products.  And it can only get worse from there. The Ugly are those situations where you feel you were cheated, intentionally mislead, or the product or service causes more harm than good. Since the Good is so rare today, I want to start sharing the identity of services and products that really stand out as Good—at least in my experience. I hope this list grows, because it is disappointingly short.

My List of Good Products and Services

  • Mosquito Squad: For years we had to retreat to our screened in porch. Not anymore! To find out more go to their website at
  • Closets by Design: The installer arrived when promised. The installation was professional and the finished product was exactly what we expected—Good quality, fair price, nice people. Go to
  • Turfcare Landscapes: We use them to maintain our current landscape including mowing, rose care, mulching, debris removal, roundup and insecticide treatment as needed, aeration, reseeding, trimming and pruning.  It is like our lawn and landscaped areas are on autopilot. They just take care of things—we don’t have to tell them what to do. They see what is needed and they take care of it—that’s all folks and it is great! Go to
  • Chris Doubler, Art Handler & Designer: We had some really large paintings that needed to be hung in high and difficult locations.  Finding the names of people who do that work wasn’t easy, but I finally came up with three recommendations. Two never returned my calls.  The third finally did, but he explained that what I needed was beyond his job grade; however, he gave me the name of someone who could do what I wanted. That someone was Chris Doubler. Chris called me back almost immediately. He quoted a fair hourly rate, and we agreed on the day and time for the work. He arrived as promised with all the equipment, tools, and helpers needed for the job.  He installed eight large pieces in a little less than two hours. The workmanship was first rate. You can reach Chris by phone at 615/423-5763. Services include installation, packing, consultations, and transportation of art. 
# # #

For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to Ebook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBooks Store and
Published by I-65 North, Inc.