It’s common knowledge that too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing. Yet, it may sometimes seem that “the more the better” still rings true in some departments. Such as smarts, for instance. Well, not really.

If you believe that the smarter you are the better for you, you are mistaken! At least according to some.

Check out “Why I Decided to Rethink Hiring Smart People” and draw you own conclusions.



  • utterly – totally
  • swift ramp-up – quick growth
  • obnoxious – extremely unpleasant
  • catchphrase – slogan
  • flawed – imperfect
  • awesome – excellent
  • trenchant – vigorous
  • brittle – easily broken
  • inclined to do sth – have a tendency to do sth
  • unalloyed – pure
  • bring something home to someone – make someone realize the importance of something

Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • What did the author of the article do in the early 1990s?
  • What was the recruiting philosophy of his company? How does he feel about it now?
  • How do the smartest employees usually react to failure and why?
  • Why is he worried about “smart is forever’?
  • What ancient expression does the author refer to? Do yo agree with the expression?

Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • It didn’t just give me a slightly different perspective; it made me believe in the exact opposite of what I had believed before I’d read it.
  • In fact, we had a totally rude catchphrase — stupid is forever — that I am very ashamed ever existed, and repeating it here is part of my self-punishment for once having such an opinion.
  • [. . .] we blamed it on imperfect realization of an essentially great theory.
  • There were no disadvantages to more of this clearly meritorious attribute, so just get more.
  • It has improved my professional skills — my thanks to Chris Argyris and “Teaching Smart People How to Learn.”

Articles. Fill in the blank spaces with the missing articles.

Chris Argyris’ “Teaching Smart People How To Learn” utterly changed ___ way I thought about ___ management. It didn’t just give me ___ somewhat different view; it convinced me of ___ exact opposite of what I had believed before I’d read it. That’s a heck of ___ lot of ___ influence for 10 and ___ half pages!

Tenses. Fill in the blank spaces with the correct form of the verbs in brackets.

We ___ (be) a Harvard Business School shop in the early days and, having great respect for Baker Scholars (the top 5% of the HBS class), we ___ (hire) as many of them as we ___ (can). But they ___ (not work out) nearly as well as we ___ (expect), and some ___ (flame out) pretty spectacularly. As is often the case, we ___(attribute) that to flawed execution of a fundamentally awesome theory — we ___ (just hire) the wrong super smart people.

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