The wisdom of the crowd

子曰:「眾惡之,必察焉;眾好之,必察焉。」
Confucius said: “When everyone hates someone, you should investigate that person further. When everyone loves someone, you should investigate that person further.”

Beware of the wisdom of the crowd. Just because someone is popular, it doesn’t mean that they are capable; and just because someone is unpopular, it doesn’t mean that they are incapable. Indeed, the reverse is often the case.

Confucius wasn’t particularly well-liked during his lifetime, but he commanded respect because of his deep knowledge and willingness to speak out. The same can be said of Steve Jobs, to use a more contemporary example. How Apple must him now.

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