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Not Everything on the Internet is True!

by Feb 3, 2018Authenticity, Effectiveness, Leadership, Truthfulness0 comments

I am in the process of finishing my next book. As all writers appreciate, the Internet is a wonderful resource for research, fact checking and searching for data, stories, quotes and more.

But the Internet is notoriously sloppy as an arbiter of facts.

For example, search for the well-known quote, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.” In your search results you will find that this brilliant quote is attributed to Albert Schweitzer.

Now search for the same quote, but put “Setting an…” in front of the quote, so that is reads, “Setting an example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.”, and it will be attributed to a new name: Albert Einstein.

Which is the right quote?  Which is the right attribution?

In fact the correct quote is by Albert Schweitzer – “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”. 

But how would you know?  We can’t believe everything just because it shows up on the Internet.  In fact, www.goodreads.com, an authoritative source of written contributions to literature of all kind, shows both quotes – Schweitzer here, and Einstein here! Even Forbes List of “Top 100 Motivational and Inspirational Quotes of All Time” has it wrong! (See #23).

And I even find quotes or entire passages or chapters of my own work, in full, under the name of others – go figure! So research rigorously and be careful about what you cut-and-paste from the Internet! It isn’t always “fake news” – sometimes it is simply a mistake or plagiarism, or just plain bogus information.

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