Know-It-Alls and Know-Nothings

A saving grace of what I do is that I’m not trying to win a popularity contest—if you, and you, and you find value in my writings, that’s enough for me.

But I can’t help but notice two kinds of people untouched by A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting.

First, there are know-it-alls. I might encounter a know-it-all on Twitter. I tweet some notion or other. The know-it-all takes issue with it, in a way that shows that they’re not fully informed. I gently suggest that they might want to consult MSCD‘s analysis of the subject. (Of course, that analysis is @#$%&! definitive.) But the know-it-all is not to be dissuaded, and continues lecturing me.

Then there are know-nothings. The know-nothing acts as if they were the first person ever to consider a particular contract usage. They’re the ones who on LinkedIn will says something like “Hey guys, what’s up with represents and warrants? Why both? Well, I think …” And they proceed to propose some nonsense or other. That prompts other know-nothings to chime in with their own random rationales, in LinkedIn’s Tower-of-Babel way.

Know-it-alls and know-nothings arise from the same defect: failure to understand that to learn anything, it’s best to start by assessing the current state of knowledge. If you have a question regarding a contract usage, it would make sense for MSCD to be your starting point, simply because most topics it covers, it covers more comprehensively than any any other work. Or just use the Google machine—the odds are that something I’ve written will feature prominently in the results.

Of course, using something I’ve written as a starting point doesn’t mean you have to agree with me. (Yes, I’m well aware that people don’t always agree with me!) Instead, it will get you up to speed, and your views, whatever they might be, will be better informed.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.