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You know it is snake oil when they say sell anything that explains 75 of success in life.. I like it :)


It would seem that if the one thing (EQ) has so many benefits it might be more than one thing. So far I have not heard exactly what is measured to come up with a person's EQ. I am not sure whether it can be measured. I might say the same thing about maturity and rational decision making because, as far as I can tell it has almost everything to do with success in life and business. These things too defy definition.

Christian Young

For starters, I totally agree with the whole ashole-loser assessment, lol.

I also agree that people tend to get caught up in the hype of the philosophy of the moment or to exaggerate the effectiveness of something that worked for them (even though an entirely different approach works for just as well for someone else).

However, I'm currently on the fence regarding evidence-based management, but I'll look deeper before making any firm decision.

Thanks for the interesting read!

Wally Bock

So much of this seems like human nature at work. People want to know the secrets of success. There seems to be a deep-seated human belief that there is a cabal of successful people who share a special handshake and who keep their secrets of success under wraps so they can have more and more. No one has explained why they reveal these secrets only to people who sell audio programs.

People want magic, the one thing that will bring riches beyond the dreams of avarice without requiring any of that messy working and learning. They want the magic of the magus, not of David Copperfield.

In other words, it's human to crave "solutions" that don't require effort and learning. They ignore the fact that, in the real world, real magicians spend years mastering their magic and for them it's not magic at all. It's technique.

In the end you have to depend on simple sayings to keep you straight. "Things that seem 'too good to be true' usually are." And, "Things that 'can't go on forever' don't"

Samson Malchi

Its human tendency to follow successful people. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why we have so many people buying their concept of success. If the concept helps you succeed then its a golden rule for you else its Snake Oil.

Samson Malchi

It is difficult to say that it is Snake Oil. Because it is human tendency to follow successful people in order to succeed in life.

Perhaps this is the reason why we have so many people selling there successful golden rules. As long as you succeed its a golden rule else its a SNAKE OIL.

Oliver Wai

I wonder if the need for eye-catching figures is a reflection of the short attention span of John Q Public. It takes a bit of "truthiness" to catch any attention and nobody really takes the time to read details (just ask congress). Consider this headlines:

1. "EQ is a good predictor of success"
2. "75% of all success can be attributed to EQ".

I suspect that #2 is something that would catch people's eye simply because by throwing a number into the mix, it makes it stand out by making it look "scientific". Moreover we tend to believe what already think is true so #2 seems even more enticing because it reaffirms our beliefs by giving us an instantly quotatable "scientific-like" number to back our beliefs.

DC Jobs

I think that one of the difficulties in finding a balance between underselling and overselling is that if you try to present the case for your service with no hype, then you risk being drowned out in the marketplace by all those hyping their products.

Wade Anderson

I think there is a real aspect of EQ in life. People can be incredibly intelligent but if they are unable to interact with others they may not be able to live up to their potentials. This may not be because they are unwilling to do more for an organization but that the organization may be unaware of what more the individual could be doing because they start with those they interact well with first. It's a something that definably needs to be looked at within organizations, especially today with everyone trying to get the most out of their employees.

Randy Bosch

New Theory!!: PQ: Panacea Quotient: Snake oil salesmen, politicians, economists and self-improvement consultants believe 100% of the time that a fool is born every minute. The other 100% of the time they believe their own shit comes in ice cream buckets. They believe they are worth 200%.


I think that it is human nature to look for the quick fixes in life. Even though you have a feeling that something is "snake oil" you tend to consider it for simplicities sake.

In order to be successful, one must have a balance between EQ and IQ.


I think the stat comes from twisting data about intelligence. I believe studies have found the IQ explains 25% of performance at work (note: NOT SUCCESS IN LIFE). Therefore, the pitchmen say, EQ explains the other 75%.

Which may be an emotionally intelligent conclusion, just not an intelligent one.

W. C. Atlanta

I think 1st and foremost, management needs to understand the people they manage are no different than themselves and aren't lab rats to be manipulated.

I've had years of seeing these things come through corporate America and can definitely say, they haven't really changed things much.

Maybe they aren't fully embraced/implemented? But maybe there just aren't simple solutions to complex human pyschology.

working girl

My money's on IQ - dumb and friendly will only take you so far. ;-)

Bret Simmons

No shortage of snake oil salesmen, Bob! I wonder if there is a study that can explain 75% of the variance in someone's propensity to believe in snake oil?

One of the biggest benefits practicing managers can get from an evidence based perspective is not necessarily knowing all the evidence based answers, but understanding that any answer they currently have is imperfect. There is always more to learn if we are willing to test our theories - especially the limits of what we currently think we know.

Keep up the great work!


You are quite right. When people get attracted to a particular idea and that idea eventually becomes a breadwinner for them, they start exaggerating the benefits, because their income in now hooked to that idea!


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