Why some smart people are reluctant to share?

Why some smart people are reluctant to share?

By Rajesh Setty on Sat 26 Dec 2009, 1:32 AM – 81 Comments

I am sure you have seen many smart people around you who are reluctant to share what they know.

I have seen many of them up close.

You might think the reasons for this may be:

  • they don’t have time
  • they are selfish
  • they don’t care
  • they don’t have an incentive to do it

I was perplexed on this and over the last six weeks I spent some time talking to many of these smart people to understand what could be the reason. The results were very interesting. The rest of the article is based on those findings.

Note: This is about smart people who are not sharing enough. So please don’t generalize this about all smart people.

In summary,

Smart people want to give their best and as they learn more, they learn that they need to learn a lot more before they start sharing. They learn some more and they learn they need to learn some more. What they forget is that most of the expertise that they already have is either becoming “obvious” to them or better yet, going into their “background thinking.”

Becoming obvious means that there is nothing special about it.

Becoming their background thinking means that they don’t even realize that it’s knowledge. It becomes part of them. For example think about alphabets and multiplication tables. It is in our background thinking and we don’t think about that as knowledge.

Take a look at the following schematic. On the X-axis is time as they build their expertise. On the Y-axis, is the level of expertise.

Think about your own passionate topic on which you are an expert.

(A) You start at level 1. Things are new and exciting and since you are passionate you just realize how much you don’t know and there is a new level of hunger for the knowledge.

(B) You are in level 2. You are at a new level of expertise. The earlier level (Level 1) seems obvious and common.

(C) You are in level 3. You are again at a new level of expertise. The immediate previous level (Level 2) knowledge is now obvious and common. The levels below that (in this case Level 1) is in your background thinking. Remember that what’s in your background thinking is almost invisible to you. You have that knowledge but you don’t think about it.

(D) You are in level 4 – a new level of expertise. Level 3 knowledge is obvious and everything below that is in your “background thinking.”

You can go on. You feel that you are not ready to share the knowledge at your current level and there is no point in sharing what’s obvious. And, what’s in your “background thinking” has become part of you. So it’s invisible so there is no possibility of sharing that.

So, what are you missing?

Two things:

1. The point that what is obvious to you is not obvious to many other people who are not at the same level of expertise so it is worth sharing them.

2. Not noticing what’s in your “background thinking.”  It may be in your background thinking but it’s not in the background thinking of everyone else. So, once you notice this, you can easily package this knowledge and share it.

Request for you: Please make it a point to share more in 2010. Only if smart people start sharing more can we increase the signal-to-noise ratio on the web.


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81 Comments so far, Add Yours

Nuruddin Abjani  on December 26th, 2009

Great thinking and what an advice to all those smart people out there.

I have started sharing things with people and have begun to give talks at universities and other places. The topic, as you can judge from my blog is Power of Thought. I made them dream. To be passionate about something. A passion to die for.

Anyways, thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

Merry Christmas and an outstanding 2010 and beyond…

Rajesh Setty  on December 26th, 2009


Thank you for the comments here and also thanks for sharing more through your blog and talks.

Have a great holiday season.



seth godin  on December 26th, 2009

as always, you lead by example, Rajesh

daniel ambrose  on December 26th, 2009

Precisely what I needed to read. Thank you for sharing Rajesh.

Miles Baker  on December 26th, 2009

Excellent post. Sometimes people forget how much they know, this is a great reminder. :-)

Rajesh Setty  on December 26th, 2009

Seth, Daniel and Miles:

THANKS a ton for taking the time to comment here. Means a lot to me.

Happy Holidays!!



Chaitra  on December 26th, 2009

Hi rajesh,

this is an amazing blog. After I read I could apply to many areas where I can share. I am hestitant to write blogs on those topics because my understanding is that why would someone need that piece of information. Now u have unlocked the code. Your mental model is perfect and will always help me.

I will be writing soon. Thanks for giving a gift of knowledge.

Ken Gregg  on December 26th, 2009

One of those things that is so obvious, after you point it out.

I often start to write something and stop when I think it’s not worth writing about. Promise to try to do more on my part in the future.

Thanks for this.

valoni  on December 26th, 2009

This is a great insight into the topic.

I suppose it always feels as if you just don’t quite know enough to be sharing it with the world. You just need to learn a tad more before you do start sharing :) — which could be never for the perfectionist.

Cheers for this great post.


tobias tinker  on December 26th, 2009

this is, I think, one of those quietly important posts that, hopefully, will be widely circulated. This really strikes home with me and likely applies to lots of us although we never think about it.

Andrew  on December 26th, 2009

You are very right on this. I used to run a WordPress blog and always shied away from things I thought were obvious. So many other blogs got so much bigger than mind because they posted stuff I wouldn’t post because I thought it was beneath my readers.

Wendy  on December 26th, 2009

I’m not surprised at your findings, and I think it’s good to think about whether what’s obvious to you is obvious to most. On the other hand, I have also seen people get very critical if they feel a blogger or speaker is offering nothing new. It’s a delicate balance, especially if your audience is at various levels of knowledge.

Annemieke  on December 26th, 2009

Great insight and indeed, as someone said, actually quite obvious if you think about it.

I always like it a lot if someone just writes a blogpost about whatever learning process they had or are going through.

One of the fantastic things about blogs I think.

Justin Goldberg  on December 26th, 2009

I think that’s true. As you become more knowledgeable you being to think along these lines: “maybe I should research what I am about to share or say more deeply (so as to be able to back up what I am saying with greater authority)”.

Some of the greatest minds of the 20th century shared very little of what they were thinking, imho because they didn’t care about “making the world a better place”. In fact most scientists “do” science to improve the world. They do it because they love science! I suggest reading the account about Claude Shannon in “Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street”. It contains a telling story about Shannon’s reluctance to help the CIA later on in his life.

Bill Sherman  on December 26th, 2009


You always lead by example. You share so easily and generously that it often leaves me amazed.

I’d be interested in reading your thoughts on how you bring “obvious” and “background knowledge” more to the forefront in your conversations and interactions.

Conor Neill  on December 26th, 2009

I heard a nice quote somewhere around the idea that “those that have the most value to share are the least likely to feel that people want to hear from them”. I love the concept that the more “expert” a person becomes, the greater the value of them sharing what seems “obvious” to them.

Unfortunately there is a large group of “noise broadcasters” that don’t have the social barrier to sharing, but also don’t actually have any content to share.

Project 2010: what can incentivise the high value non-sharers to engage in the conversation?

Ryan Dawidjan  on December 26th, 2009

Great piece of wisdom, Rajesh.

This is just another great tip to keep in mind, especially when you have an advanced knowledge regarding a specific field or niche.

Really enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing.

Will pick up your book shortly

Mike Sigers  on December 26th, 2009

Exactly what I needed to read at the exact time I needed to read it.

Thanks Rajesh.

Ram Dutt  on December 26th, 2009

Thank you for sharing that is obvious and in your background. I always learn new ways of interpreting obvious things. This gives me confidence to share more. Happy holidays.

kantesh  on December 26th, 2009

Don’t know how you do it, Rajesh! Insightful analysis as always!

om at 12/27/09 05:34:42 | Exectweets  on December 26th, 2009

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Dave Taylor  on December 26th, 2009

I think that the main reason I see smart people, leaders in their field, unwilling to share is that they’re afraid. They’re afraid that they’ll be exploited by people wanting for free what they’re trying to sell (an experience all consultants have had, I’m sure) and perhaps they’re afraid that they’re not quite as much the genius as everyone thinks, which is more easily recognized if they’re busy interacting with lots of folk.

The flip side of it is that humility is a very attractive feature in smart, successful people too, and that’s hard to get when you stick yourself on a pedestal and decide you really do like the view. :-)

But you already know my personal philosophy of giving to your community more than you ever expect to receive back. Without that core philanthropic motivation, it’s all just a sales job.

Rajesh Setty  on December 26th, 2009

Thanks to ALL of you for the comments here and for the support in spreading the message.

That means a lot to me.

A few of you here, I owe an email or a phone call and I look forward to connecting with you in the next few days.



Danish  on December 27th, 2009

This is one of the most brilliant thoughts I have come across recently. Thanks for sharing.

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dave mcclure  on December 27th, 2009

i think this is on target. most of the things i’ve written where people have given me positive feedack (startup metrics for pirates, how to pitch a VC, incubator 2.0) are subjects i thought were pretty basic and not that big a deal. in hindsight, i was just writing down my background thinking in more formal fashion, and others seemed to find it a lot more useful than i would have thought. on the other hand, had i waited until i had organized my thoughts more fully / gotten more substantial material together, i might have missed an opportunity to help others.

gtzi  on December 27th, 2009

Very insightful post, I’m realizing I’ve been myself numerous times in such a situation. However, smart people would be willing to share every bit of knowledge they acquire, only if they are convinced that the amount of time they “invest” in sharing such information will pay-off (either by understanding what they already know better or by finding a shorter path to the next level via social feedback). And today this is more usual than ever (due to the social web, for example), but it is not always the case…

damonbillian  on December 27th, 2009

Without sounding like I am an extremely smart individual, of which I realize my personal limitations relative to intelligence, I will share what I personally think below:

1. Smart people are generally introverted. While there are exceptions to this rule, I would argue most are very inward thinking about pretty much any topic.

2. Smart people generally don’t get promoted (the loudmouths typically do). Why share when there isn’t any personal benefit in doing so?

3. Smart people aren’t always focused on pure metrics (qualitative vs. quantitative analysis).

4. Smart people are often driven by intuition.

Intuition, gleaned by experience, isn’t easy to share with others.

5. Smart people don’t always focus on particulars.

6. Smart people may lack social interaction skills.

7. Smart people are torn between getting “personal attention” versus “doing what is right for/because…”.

8. Smart people may not like “on the spot thinking”. Some may like to think about the problem(s) before sharing other potential problem(s) or solution(s) to a particular issue. Group think, or meetings, may not work for these individuals.

The noisy people are awarded these days & not the quiet ones.

Neil Mansilla  on December 27th, 2009

RTFM. ;)

Kang  on December 27th, 2009

Hey Rajesh, first time I’m on your blog, and what a wonderful first post to read from someone!

I guess there is a fine line indeed between ignorant people who share too much nonsense and smart people who don’t think they’re all that great.

I’ll be thinking about your post as we step into 2010 and be sure to share more of what I know, even though I don’t know that much compared to the really successful entrepreneurs out there.

Subscribed to your blog!

Rodney  on December 27th, 2009

Thank you Rajesh, for the clear illustration of how we all assume that our knowledge is common and offers minimal value to the wealth of information already out in the world. When, in fact, we each have a unique perspective based on our personal experience and context. Encouragement and support to share more is all that is required. Thank you for yours.

Hou Enrong  on December 27th, 2009


Good article as usual.

You are missing the Z-axis (profits), which quantifies the ’steal-and-flip-for-millions’ mentality in Silicon Valley that burned a lot of ’smart’ people.

‘Smart people’ have fled IT and green technology, heading to the banking sector where their ideas are protected and rewarded.

It’s about the CHEESE. If you want more people to share in 2010, move the CHEESE.

I have all your books. Keep writing.

Thanks. (^_^)

– Hou Enrong

Peter H. Coffin  on December 27th, 2009

I don’t think the profit motive figures into the discussion — this code isn’t making money now, isn’t enough to build into a saleable package, and (if it’s “obvious”) it’s not something someone working for a company wouldn’t think up anyway, so giving it away now is hurts no one.

There is a factor that I am not sure is considered, though. There is a mention of “they’re too lazy to share”, but it’s not clear whether this is the process of doing the sharing itself is the barrier or it’s the inevitable and endless follow-up questions from the user community and expectations of support for whatever is released.

jamestaylor525  on December 27th, 2009

Rajesh- The stages ring so true to me, especially the early stages of customer/product development. There is so much information from many smart people out there, its searching it out and finding it.

The knowledge I have gained in the last 6-12 months from many of these individuals has helped shape where we are at today with our start up.

thanks for encouraging continued sharing, because what doesn’t sink in today, may tomorrow or another day!

Dan Roam  on December 27th, 2009

Lovely chart Rajesh! Please tell me you drew it yourself!! :-)

– Dan

Rajesh Setty  on December 27th, 2009

Thanks to all of you who have made my day by commenting here.

@DaveMcClure Your presentations are ALWAYS insightful. So definitely many things you shared even in your early days were not “common knowledge” for many of us. Thanks for giving so much of yourself.

@gtzi Amen for that.

@DamonBillian Thanks for adding your perspective. Made me think for sure

@DanRoam Are you proud of your student Dan? I told you that I was fascinated by your work a few years ago and this diagram is a proof that I am hooked to it. Yes, I drew it myself :)



Wogan  on December 27th, 2009

Pfft, that’s so obvious :>

Introduction | Experimenting With Foo  on December 27th, 2009

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JBBdude  on December 27th, 2009

Just blogged a link to you. Very helpful post for “smart people.”

I’ve been trying to do this with my blog, and think that you are absolutely correct.

In talking about politics, I realized that many don’t know the basic foundations of our democracy. So I set up a competency-building site at http://wiki.rantspot.co.tv/govt to explain how this works to my readers.

Rajesh Setty  on December 27th, 2009

Thanks @JBBdude. Will check out the website in a bit.

Happy holidays.



Jason Dirks  on December 27th, 2009

Thank you for sharing this wonderful insight Rajesh. We are all better off if we share our knowledge and as always, I have another great bit of info from you to put into my back pocket!

Thanks, Jason

Allison Sheridan  on December 27th, 2009

I think there are many people who fit this model, and there are still those who believe knowledge is power. We probably won’t get through to the second group any time soon, so analyzing this first group is valuable. I used to be on the Board of Directors of a large software user group and we had a heck of a time getting people to present material because they said they didn’t know anything that wasn’t obvious or new. I thought of them when reading your analysis. I made it a point this year to do a paper on what for me is obvious but for others I was able to unlock some secrets quickly and painlessly for me.

I had others teach me WordPress, and now I believe in paying it forward as those people donated so much time to me, I must give it to the next person in line thirsting for that knowledge.

Marco Guardigli  on December 27th, 2009

Thank you for the nice post, Rajesh.

I personally found that many smart people are reluctant to share for whatever of the following reasons:

1) because of shyness

2) they are a bit egoist/introvert

3) they are older than the people that could benefit, and are afraid of being outsmarted

4) they are single child

5) they live alone

6) they are humble

7) they think that what they could share is not important or obvious

they think that in order to get to “wisdom” everybody should find out by himself

9) they are self made men

I find extremely useful to explain to people the great principles of free software and the basic principles of scientific progress, which is based on idea sharing.

Currently there is simply not enough time to think we are allowed only to learn by ourselves.

We should capitalize on each other success, and on each other mistakes, in order to grow better, and enjoy life.

Experiences are to be shared, so to become lessons.

Marco ( @mgua on twitter)


J Margolin  on December 27th, 2009

Great post, thanks!

I know that when I don’t share it can also be because I get despondent over people failing to see the specific patterns that I do. Many people I know who are in non-science/math fields express exhaustion in convincing people who emotionally just simply don’t want to believe the assumptions to begin with (or to make the effort to test them). Consequently the world tends to “stovepipe.”

I believe “bridge capital people” are valuable only to the extent we can also be resilient, and find ways of persuading people to look at new-to-them patterns.

jbgrv  on December 27th, 2009

Thank you for this great and interesting discussion! I also found myself stuck in that trap of not sharing the so-called-irrelevant-obvious, just to realize later that often people couldn´t follow anymore. Ńow I see sharing of even the smallest things could help us avoid many dead end trails or repeating mistakes we did. Sharing on regular basis then might be the only prosperous way to continuity and evolving. No ship can sail safe to the great haven if its pilot is lost to the crew somewhere in the mists far ahead.

birkenbihl  on December 27th, 2009

i gained a similar insight about 20 years ago when i wanted to pull one of my “oldest” bookd (20 years old) from the market despite it selling well, because i had moved on and thought the contants to be “beneath me”, too. but then a collegue (key speaker + author) told me this: when you wrote the book, because you were “there” it helped people who were also there, right? ( i nodded). now you have moved but there are stimm thousands of people who are, where you and your former readers were. so why take it away fro these people, because you have moved on??? hm. i learned the lesson. today almost all of my books are stimm in print, my bestselling is in its 48th edition. of course i rewrote portions (when new brain research needed to be updated) but i never considered taking it away from my readers. the publishing house is also very happy. as are about 700.000 readers of that one book alone (i wrote about 30 books and only my 5 on computing have been taken out because the world moved past these books, not only myself). thanks for re-swakening the experience in a great post.

:-) )

i shall tweet about it, since i do not yet know how to use the rss buttons for twitter (i shall rss to my google-reader). thanks.


femmebot  on December 27th, 2009

Forgive the semantics but “smart people” and those who have a high level of expertise (according to your chart label) are two different things. I know a lot of experts who aren’t particularly smart and, conversely, I know a lot of smart people who lack expertise in many things.

In the former case, with smart people, one other reason is they don’t want to be stigmatized as a “know-it-all” and have learned, over time, to only share what they know when prompted.

In the latter case, I can think of another reason: for some, information is power, whereby withholding information from others offers them leverage.

Rajesh Setty  on December 27th, 2009

Thanks again to all of you

@birkenbihl, thanks for sharing your personal story. I also received several stories via email.

@femmebot Before the explosion of social media, guarding information would definitely have power. Now, it is all the more important to share and establish your thought leadership.

@JMargolin, thanks for bringing the concept of resilience. An important concept here or elsewhere.



Donn  on December 27th, 2009

This is… quite inspirational, really makes me want to start sharing what I do know. I’d always liked teaching but never felt adequate (and thus always sought teaching gigs for those much younger than me), but after reading this I think I really ought to start raising that bar!

Rajesh Setty  on December 27th, 2009

@Donn, Go for it. I am glad you liked the post.

I used to live in Singapore in the early 90s. Loved the place.

Have a great holiday season.



Priya  on December 28th, 2009

Hi Rajesh,

Great post and insightful discussion here! Not sure if I am ’smart’, but have quite a few of the attributes described here. I have been reluctant to share knowledge and esp have been dilly-dallying the start of my blog on software testing :( . Now i know why!!

Thank you :) , i now know what exactly to work on in the new year.

Wishing you a great year ahead!

– Priya.

Courtney  on December 28th, 2009


Point #1 particularly resonated with me & I really enjoyed reading through all the comments as well. It is interesting to see the varying perspectives on this topic. Thank you, Rajesh for your willingness to share. As Seth Godin mentioned, you lead by example!

George William Herbert  on December 28th, 2009

I do a lot of interviews for my consulting company (on the order of 50+/yr, several hundred in my career) and try to break people out of the mold a bit by asking basic questions to start interviews out. It helps to see how they respond to a challenge to go back to the background thinking stuff and explain it.

I also do (or did, when I wasn’t stationed at a client over an hour away) a lot of our professional development and training work, doing short classes and seminars. It’s definitely true that most people who are good at stuff aren’t good at talking about it on more than a few person group.

Even at 7 or 8 people it’s a whole different story – fear of crowds / stage fright, introspective people suddenly out of their comfort zone, etc.

And there are some who are extroverts, but who are too extroverted to clue in to or care about the class reactions.

Not everyone is a good teacher, or a good tutor.

Krishna  on December 29th, 2009

Very well written article. I liked the part where it is mentioned that what we think as ‘obvious’ may not be ‘obvious’ for others.

I have a specific question: How do you recognise the things that we think are obvious may not be obvious to others?

Secondly: I have just started a blog and am planning to post many articles similar to what have been posted here. So how do i reach out larger audiences.

I mean, as of now, it is known only within my friend circle. How do i make it go beyond?

Rajesh Setty  on December 29th, 2009


A follow on blog post about sharing is coming soon.

On your blogging question, please visit my Squidoo lens on blogging. There is information there that should address your question:




Kyle Lahnakoski  on December 29th, 2009

I have long thought that the newbies should be the ones to verify documentation and instructions for this very reason.

Abdul Qabiz  on December 29th, 2009

Interesting post. Made me think things. Thanks.


Tsudo  on December 29th, 2009

I love this post and I think it is quite accurate. However, I’d say with the rise of social media it is very easy to expand your community of other “really smart people” in your field.

This peer group is already on a similar plain so it negates much of the background thinking.

This is definitely true of the InfoSec community on Twitter and it has been one of the most rewarding parts of my social media experience.

Great work -@tsudo

UXD2 is up « UXD2 – User Experience Design and Development  on December 29th, 2009

[…] to came across with an article about why “smart people don’t like to share” (link) today. While I am not deeming myself a smart people, I am one of those who often think what is […]

Winston Smith  on December 30th, 2009

I think the author is confused between knowledge and wisdom. I dont make any claims that i am smart but say if it takes me certain degree of effort and time to attain level-4 expertise. Imparting this level-4 expertice to a person who is at level-0 makes no sense to me.

The level-0 person should go through all the intermidiate levels to make the things that appear obvious to me, also appear seemless to him/her. Gaining level-4 expertise will lead them to a mechanical process of understanding. This is where we cross the line between wisdom and knowledge.

Also, the expert person more often than not is left with a feeling of being used by someone who attained somthing without any hard work. Things get complicated from here. My approach is to let the level-0 person give clues about reaching level-1 and make ways for the person to progress without complete reliance on me. Some kind of mentoring.

Rajesh Setty  on December 30th, 2009


There is no confusion here. I never said someone should impart level 4 expertise to level 0 person. I have no idea where you got that in the blog entry.



links for 2009-12-30 | Don't mind Rick  on December 30th, 2009

[…] Why some smart people are reluctant to share? […]

links for 2009-12-30 « burningCat  on December 30th, 2009

[…] Why some smart people are reluctant to share? […]

jasoncweber  on December 30th, 2009


Thank you for sharing this insight!

I would like to share something I clipped from http://www.ted.com a short time ago as I believe it speaks well to this audience:

– – – – –

:: An idea can be created out of nothing except an inspired imagination.

:: An idea weighs nothing.

:: It can be transferred across the world at the speed of light for virtually zero cost.

:: And yet an idea, when received by a prepared mind, can have extraordinary impact.

:: It can reshape that mind’s view of the world.

:: It can dramatically alter the behavior of the mind’s owner.

:: It can cause the mind to pass on the idea to others.

– – – – –

Pass it on!

All the best,

Jay Weber

Jean-Marc Liotier  on December 30th, 2009

The quickly acquired belief that internalized knowledge has become obvious is the reason why a beginner makes an awesome tutorial author.

When I discover something new, I take notes and when I get somewhere I reformat my notes to show how I got there. It does not take me much more time than just taking notes for myself, and it rewards me with reactions from fellow learners.

Those smart people who do not share may not be so smart after all…

Rajesh Setty  on December 30th, 2009

@Jason, Nice ideas on ideas. Can you also point to the TED talk that has these ideas? :)

@Jean-Marc, Good model. Thanks for sharing.



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[…] about specific creative techniques, ways to transcend fear and stay present in the creative moment. Tap into what I know, and present it with confidence, assurance, offer value, engage conversation, build trust and […]

steel  on January 1st, 2010

great! So late to come here.

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[…] You can find the original article in here. […]

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[…] 原文链接:Why some smart people are reluctant to share? 作者:Rajesh Setty 译者:Esther […]

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కొత్తపాళీ  on January 6th, 2010

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of U of Chicago has been investigating highly creative individuals in various fields and had published several popular books on the subject. He says one thing that is common is their single-minded absorption in whatever they are doing might appear as “don’t care” attitude to the general public.

Sands  on January 6th, 2010

Perhaps one doesn’t want every tom dick and harry to know his/her reading habits?

Selective sharing could be a good thing.

Social Knowledge Management | Connectegrity  on January 7th, 2010

[…] The key problem of traditional KM tools is a human one: When something becomes obvious, people tend to stop sharing. It becomes implanted in their subconscious as background thinking and they cease to write it down. Rajesh Setty explains this phenomenon beautifully in Why are some people reluctant to share? […]

venantius j pinto  on January 9th, 2010

Thanks Rajesh. I also believe there is a certain honor to people who are smart, or consider themselves to be wise; wiser over time. In a sense they are living, by a code, even if may appear to be inadvertent. Again, I am happy to have run across Rajesh Shetty’s contemplation on this issue. Another point is that one must never expressly feel the need to share anything and everything. Allow time and state (of mind, for instance) to dictate that. At the end of the day, its about consciousness.

Web Favourites Jan 10 2010 | Connectegrity  on January 11th, 2010

[…] Why Some People Are Reluctant to Share – Rajesh Shetty explains the knowledge capture problem of KM tools: When something becomes obvious people tend to stop sharing. Share and Enjoy: […]

Parallel Mind  on January 19th, 2010

Love this! Sometimes I forget how clear certain things are to me — that’s because I have been thinking them for a long time. When I run into other people who have been thinking other things — usually those things that are accepted as part of the current “wisdom” — I am taken aback.

Thanks for reminding me to step it back a little. Please connect with me on Twitter. I am parallelmind. I write and speak on creative development.

Michael  on January 21st, 2010

Great post and very interesting. I don’t consider myself a “smart” person, but I do have an area of expertise ( a software programme) where I know more than my co-workers. When we hold our department meetings or talk about workflows and processes I am often surprised how complicated they are doing some things. Since I have been working with this program for many years I feel at home and have that “obvious” feeling. Recently I have been trying to share more, but since I consider the stuff to be basic and obvious it is difficult to find the correct level.

This post will help me be a better sharer ;o)


anonymous  on January 21st, 2010

Dear Rajesh,

This is my first time on your blog and I love the ideas you present along with your perspective.

While I agree wholeheartedly with your post, the brutal reality is that many smart people remain silent so their ideas are not exploited or stolen under the guise of collaboration.

We live in a world where innovative thinking = social and professional currency. Thought leadership elevates your value within your tribe and community ecosystem. As a result there are those who are more concerned about building their personal brands and escalating their positions,at whatever costs, than contributing to the collective knowledge base.

Ironically the smart people are more invested in building the knowledge than building the hype leaving considerable room for Damon’s noise makers and the tribe climbers to claim the ideas/knowledge as their own. With the rise of social media, we see this a lot and as a result you get greater silence from the ones who have the most to share.

Philosophically I agree with Dave Taylor about giving more to the community than you ever hope to get back, but realistically, I ask at who’s cost?

David Gerard » Blog Archive » How smart people fail to share.  on February 7th, 2010

[…] So I liked this blog post explaining how people fail to share. […]

Links 11/2/2010: LinuxQuestions.org Awards, Myst Online Set Free | Boycott Novell  on February 11th, 2010

[…] Why some smart people are reluctant to share? You might think the reasons for this may be: […]

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