In the evolution of the human race upwards, all progress depends upon the production of a comparatively small number of improved individuals, who are superior to the mass in knowledge, skill or character, & who, by reason of their superior powers, render a new service to the mass of people among whom they live.

This is the law of the EFFICIENT FEW. It points out that progress depends upon the differentiation of a few higher quality samples of human beings.

Nine-tenths of any nation is composed of individuals who are as inert as sandbags They never move upwards on their own accord. They must be pushed.

It would seem as though the real measure of any man’s intelligence is his teachability & his attitude towards new ideas.

The unteachable attitude of mind is the basic reason for the lack of progress in any nation or any business firm or any government. The mass of men prefer an easy routine. They do not want to learn better methods. They regard learning as a hardship. And they are opposed to the EFFICIENT FEW who try to show them an improvement or a new fact.

Education ought to create a spirit of teachability — a desire to learn.

Progress comes from improvement, not by imitation nor routine. Nothing but destruction comes from uniformity.

A large business must be systemised — yes. But it must also be kept mobile & alert, quick to change & improve with changing conditions.

There are at least six substitutes for ability in civilised nations. They are as follows:

  1. Birth

The son of a fool may be wise & the son of a wise man may be a fool. Heredity is a flimsy, unreliable factor. No one can tell what any baby in a cradle may become. Aristocracies are founded upon heredity. The dominant families in most countries are the old historic families. It is all a matter of birth, not ability.

Even in private business firms we have been unable to escape altogether from the blight of the hereditary principle. Weak sons & relatives ruin the companies that were built up by strong men.

2. Wealth

Many men have fortunes that they did not earn. A drunken prospector may stumble & fall into a gold mine. Another may make a fortune by a sheer stroke of luck. And so on.

Ownership is not educative. Rather it makes men unteachable & vain. It gives them authority without knowledge.

3. Age

Age is one of the most universal substitutes for ability, in business firms & nations alike. Naturally, there should be respect for age, but it should never be confounded with ability. Age has its virtues & its defects. There is no valid reason why we should always associate it with wisdom.Caution is not wisdom. Knowing what cannot be done is not wisdom. Avoiding mistakes is not wisdom. With regard to all matters of progress, age is a handicap, not an advantage. Any nation that is led by its old men is likely to remain inert.

Age looks back, not forward. It depends more upon the memory than upon the brain.

4. Politics

This is the most destructive substitute for ability that the human race has ever invented. By means of it, a pack of rabbits may govern a nation of lions.

5. Education

As all the competent men know, education may or may not add to a man’s ability. As it is dealt out, at most schools & colleges, it gives young people a polish but it does not equip them with courage or sense or the power of creative thought.

Colleges put a stamp of superiority upon graduates who are not superior. They enable men of small ability to sit in authority over men of greater ability.

6. Bureaucracy

This means organisation for organisation’s sake — blind incompetent organisation.

Bureaucracy is non-intelligent. It is impersonal. It cares nothing for results. It cares not a whit for the survival of the fittest nor for the consequences of its own actions.

The mass of people

The human race consists mostly of an inert mass of people, who leave the world as they found it. They are, for the most part, very good & honest people, but they are passive & wholly ruled by circumstances.They originate nothing. They are not creative. They believe what their neighbours believe & do what their neighbours do.

The mass of people have mass opinions. They do not think. They believe. They are passive. They accept the prevailing superstitions. To speak bluntly, the mass of people are little more than the raw materials out of which, now & then, a real individual emerges.The mass of people live by memory. They are ruled by the past. They pass on a certain set of ideas from father to son & from mother to daughter. This process of passing on old opinions is what all nations call Education.

We must differentiate between Knaves, Fools & Creators

A knave is a dishonest man. One whose life has made others poorer, more brutal or more miserable. A knave is one who deceives others for his own gain Р one who deliberately takes more out of life than he puts in. He uses the life of others as pawns in playing his own game. Always, his aim is to get something for nothing. He is resolved not to pay his way. And so, by legal or illegal means, he shirks his share of the work of the world & lives as a parasite.

A Fool is one whose brain is unbalanced, so he cannot clearly see what is useful & what is useless. He may be either selfish or well-meaning, but he does not foresee the harmful result of his actions or his ideas. His life has a destructive effect upon others. He invariably meddles with matters that he does not understand.

A Creator is one of the Efficient Few whose life has made others wealthier, wiser, nobler, kindlier or happier – one who has in some way raised the quality of human life. He has raised the standard.

Usually he is an inventor, an organiser, a thinker, a teacher, a builder. He is more than a worker. He improves whatever he touches. He is not a person of routine. He has initiative & a creative brain. He leaves the world in some way better than he found it.What is the net result of the Creator’s life? And it is very likely true that no strong man’s Balance Sheet can be made out until many years after his death.