Why do Smartest People Usually Make the Biggest Mistakes?

Molière said some 400 years ago, “an enlightened fool is dumber than an ignorant fool.”

The HashTag Magazine
6 min readApr 12, 2022


You might be surprised, but the most intelligent people can make dumb mistakes during their life, and today, we will prove it.

Big Mistakes of Brilliant Minds

  • Steve Jobs. Co-founder and chairman of Apple and top shareholder of Disney, he died of cancer at age 56 after refusing for months to have surgery to follow a special diet of alternative medicine.
  • Linus Pauling. A Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for discovering the nature of chemical bonds, he spent years claiming that vitamin supplements cured cancer.
  • Kary Mullis. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the polymerase chain reaction but denied the existence of the AIDS virus and climate change. He believed in astral travel.
  • Paul Frampton. A brilliant physicist who is a dark matter expert, he was tricked by a former Miss Bikini on a dating website and ended up in prison for travelling with a suitcase loaded with drugs.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle. The British writer and doctor, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, believed in fairies, attended spiritualists five times a week and said his wife had powers.
  • Thomas Edison. After making the first electric light bulb, he unleashed a ridiculous public relations war against alternating current and in favour of direct current.

The day he was diagnosed with a strange pancreatic cancer, Steve Jobs, then president of Apple, emailed all his employees to reassure them.

“I have a sporadic form of cancer called a neuroendocrine tumour,” the email read. “It can be cured if surgically removed after being diagnosed early.” Seven years later, he died.

His official biographer, Walter Isaacson, then revealed that for nine months in 2004, Jobs, one of the great geniuses of the twentieth century, had refused to have surgery. Jobs refused it because the intervention was too “invasive” and had decided to treat the disease with acupuncture sessions, spiritualists, and natural juices.



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