The Difference: Talkers and Doers

“There often occurred to me the difference between the Professor of Economics and the business man, as judged by their financial success. The business man may not perhaps be on the same intellectual plane as the professor, but he bases his ideas on real facts and puts the whole power of his will behind their realisation. The professor, on the other hand, often has a false conception of reality and although perhaps having more ideas, is neither able nor anxious to carry them out; the fact that he has them is satisfaction enough. And so the business man has the greater financial success.

The same difference can often be found between the academic and fighting soldier. One of the most important factors – not only in military matters, but in life as a whole – is the power of execution, the ability to direct one’s whole energies towards the fulfilment of a particular task. The officer of purely intellectual attainments is usually only fitted for work as an assistant on the staff; he can criticise and provide the material for discussion. But a conclusion intellectually arrived at needs the executive power of the commander to follow it up and force it to realisation.” (Rommel, 1953, p.288).

Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel (the Desert Fox), World War I junior officer and World War II General, considered a brilliant military commander; adored by his troops and feared by his enemies.


Rommel, E., Liddel Hart, B.H. (ed) & Findlay, P. (trans) (1953) The Rommel Papers. St James’s Palace, London: Collins.


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