Intelligent, stupid, lazy, energetic

In his book “Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent)” ad man George Lois describes four types of people.

“There are only four types of person you can be. Identify yourself;

  1. Very bright, industrious (You’re perfect.)
  2. Very bright, lazy (A damn shame.)
  3. Stupid, lazy (You’ll just sit on your ass, so you’re a wash.)
  4. Stupid, industrious (Oh, oh, you’re dangerous)”

Whether George reached this categorisation of personalities independently or not, his list is reminiscent of a similar concept by Field Marshal von Moltke.

From Rory Sutherland writing for The Spectator:

“In the 19th century, Field Marshal von Moltke reputedly categorised Prussian military officers using the following matrix — in descending order:

  1. Intelligent & Lazy: I make them my Commanders because they make the right thing happen, and find the easiest way to accomplish the mission.
  2. Intelligent & Energetic: I make them my General Staff Officers because they make intelligent plans that make the right things happen.
  3. Stupid & Lazy: There are menial tasks that require an officer to perform; they follow orders without causing much harm.
  4. Stupid & Energetic: These are dangerous and must be eliminated. They cause things to happen, but the wrong things, and so create trouble.”

Although the two lists vary at the top, they agree at the bottom.

While industriousness may be an asset to the intelligent it is almost certainly a hindrance to the foolish.

Hey. I’m Alex Murrell. I'm a Planner at Epoch Design in Bristol where I help deliver highly creative, innovative and effective pack, instore and online communications for some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands. Want to know more? You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Leave your comment