So, Don Box asks questions on his blog, but he doesn't have any comment facility. Well not any more my friends. Wink

I guess not having a comment section is a form of arrogance in and of itself, isn't it Don?

Anyway, Don asks Which is more toxic? Arrogance or Stupidity?

Specifically I guess wrt to the kind of people that are going to help a company succeed (or fail).

I'm not really sure what the answer is, partly because I don't have a moral basis for determining 'success', but here's a few musings:

I don't like the way people use the word arrogance. In the same way I don't like the way they use egotistic (and the rest of the English language).

Arrogance: a feeling or an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims

Egotistic: an exaggerated sense of self-importance

These are really used to describe 'behavioural' patterns. Compare 'self-esteem':

Self-esteem: a confidence and satisfaction in oneself
This is not a 'behavioural' pattern, not in the sense that it is 'externalised' at any rate. It's about a state of consciousness, or belief.

Now, popularly "arrogance bad, self-esteem good". In junior school your teachers and family will tell you "it's important to have high self-esteem", or "we don't like bullies because they hurt children's self-esteem". Basically, it's OK to be me, I'm worthwhile, and it's OK to succeed. On the other hand, if you did well at something, many of your peers might make comments like "oh, you think you're soooo good! Don't you?", or other nasty comments, basically excluding you for standing out and succeeding. Typical mob mentality, most honestly witnessed among school children. But, erm, you *are* good, you just proved it... Adults learn to hide it, which brings me to my next point:

If you are smart (or successful) after a while you can't help but know it. Being smart (or successful) is a 'good thing', so you can feel good about this, and gain some self-esteem. This is all very 'good' (TM). However, under no circumstances can you let anyone else know that you realise this, because that my friend is arrogance, and arrogance is all very 'bad' (TM).

What I tend to realise is that smart people who are arrogant are really just 'honest'. Smart people who are not arrogant are much more of a worry in my opinion, for a whole heap of reasons.

So, I don't want to answer the question (stupid people upset me in a bad way, arrogant people do it in a good way Smiley, but I did want to gripe about the use of the term arrogance. Arrogance is not a bad thing, it is the result of someone 'externalising' their self-esteem. When they are smart, it's generally deserved. Certainly, arrogance 'is involved in' social problems, but I don't think it should be singled out as the 'cause'.

A real geek defines their sense of worth around how clever they are. They want to be the smartest and when they are they want you to know it. If you rub their tummy and tell them how clever they are, they'll do *anything* for you. If they won't do something for you, then tell them that someone else would be able to do it. If you don't tell them how clever they are, THEY WILL TELL YOU. A geek will not lie down in the face of people just like them. They *, and whine and try to get to the top of the "everyone thinks I'm the smartest" heap. To the 'normal' person, this is cute, but it is this raw motivation that keeps the common geek awake until 2am trying to figure out [insert whatever your working on here]. They just need everyone to know they are the best (it's probably a phycological 'problem', but it tends to get results).

The real risk with arrogance is that you actually start to believe your own publicity. The truth is, there are lots of clever people out there, and if you become complacent they'll crawl over you into your spot on the 'smart people heap'. But I reckon arrogance is at least honest, and honest is doubleplusgood.

The trick is just a little bit of doublethink, you *know* you are the smartest, but your never *completely* beleive it. Of course every now and again you have to remind everyone that you are. Wink

John.