On Human Stupidity


no hurry, no pause.


The First Law of Stupidity

Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. Cipolla (2019, p. 9)

Key Takeaways

No matter how high are one’s estimates of human stupidity, one is repeatedly and recurrently startled by the fact that

  1. people whom one had once judged rational and intelligent turn out to be unashamedly stupid,
  2. day after a day, with unceasing monotony, one is harassed in one’s activities by stupid individuals who appear suddenly and unexpectedly in the most inconvenient places and at the most improbable moments.

Any numerical estimate would turn out to be an underestimate thus the author denotes the fraction of stupid within a population by the symbol σ.


Cipolla, C. M. (2019). The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.