In Russia, there is a distinction between a summer fool and a winter fool. The summer fool runs about with almost no clothes and upon sight, people can quickly conclude, "This is a fool." The winter fool is harder to spot because of the many layers of clothing but, once the layers are stripped away one-by-one, it can be said, "This is a fool."
The ability to spot a winter fool before the many layers are removed can be a major advantage in business and in life. Many of these individuals are rather smooth operators and, although possessing deeply flawed judgment, they usually aren't fools. They are, however, a hazard because their ability to feign wisdom is well-honed. Some of their habits are:
- Somberly stating opinions as facts.
- Rewriting history to support their positions.
- Setting up straw men and then boldly knocking them down.
- Equating opposition with ignorance.
- Deftly switching positions and denying that they ever did so.
- Denouncing any challenges as unfair or mean-spirited.
- Using vague terms.
- Opposing "4" but supporting "2 + 2."