"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking” is often credited to General George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945). Patton might have said it, but “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking” is cited in print from at least 1919 (before Patton became a public figure). Stanford University Professor Edward Krehbiel used the phrase in 1919 and 1922.
Humphrey Bancroft Neill (1895-1977, who was known as the “Vermont Ruminator") wrote this in his popular finance book, The Art of Contrary Thinking (1954): “When everyone thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong,”
The “when everybody thinks alike, nobody’s thinking” phrase has been frequently used in politics and in financial markets.
Wikiquote: George S. Patton
General George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885-11-11 – 1945-12-21) was a U.S. General during World War II; he was known in his time as “America’s Fightingest General”.
If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
10 March 1919, San Jose (CA) Evening News, pg. 2, col. 1:
“War and the Social Conscience” was the subject of the talk given by Professor E. H. Krehbiel of Stanford university at the regular meeting of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae Saturday afternoon.
‘When everybody thinks alike nobody thinks at all,” said Professor Krehbiel in closing.
Essentials of Social Psychology
By Emory Stephen Bogardus
Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California Press
First Edition, September 1918
Second Edition, April 1920
Explain: “When everybody thinks alike, nobody thinks at all.”
3 March 1922, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, “Edward Krehbiel Discusses Business at Chamber Forum,” pg. 8:
“Because, as has been said, when everybody thinks alike, no one is thinking at all.”
23 May 1939, Fitchurg (MA) Sentinel, “Translate Philosophy Of Inaction Into Loyalty To U.S., Says de Haas,” pg. 7, col. 2:
In rebuttal to the fascist conetention that"we get results by the power of regulated order,” Dr. de Haas observed: “The only place where everybody thinks alike is where nobody thinks at all.”
(Harvard’s Dr. J. Anton de Haas—ed.)
20 April 1946, Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald, Timely Topics, pg. 11, col. 3:
There’s an old saying: “Where everybody thinks alike nobody thinks very much.”
7 February 1954, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “March of Finance: Contrary Opinion as Aid in Business-Finance Outlined “ by Harold Walsh, pg. B14:
“When everyone thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong,” declares Humphrey B. Neill in his book “The Art of Contrary Thinking,” just off the press.
8 September 1959, Los Angeles (CA) Times, letters, pg. B4:
“When everyone is thinking alike, no one is doing any thinking!”
Michigan Journal of Secondary Education
By Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals
v. 6-7 - 1964
We can be certain of one thing, whenever everyone is thinking alike, no one is thinking very much, a situation that a democracy can ill afford.
Encyclopedia of radio and television broadcasting:
The man behind the microphone
By Robert St. John
Milwaukee, WI: Cathedral Square Pub. Co.
There’s an old adage . . . WHEN EVERYONE is THINKING ALIKE, NO ONE IS THINKING AT ALL.
I remember General Patton’s principles
By Porter B. Williamson
Tucson, AZ: Management and Systems Consultants
No one is thinking if everyone is thinking alike.
Professional Sports Should Man Up
May 5, 2010
RUSH: I want to leave you here on the general theme of the program today with a great quote from that great general, George S. Patton. George Patton said, among many other great things, “If everybody’s thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.” And liberals love diversity of thought as long as everybody thinks the same thing. Means none of them are thinking.