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Majority of Americans say sharing common-sense advice makes them smarter and more successful

Majority of Americans say sharing common-sense advice makes them smarter and more successful

NEENAH, Wis. (May 10, 2005) – Underscoring the importance of sharing practical advice, eight of 10 Americans claim that exchanging common-sense information with others makes them smarter, and 68 percent believe it even makes them more successful. Indeed, a new national survey on common sense and sharing commissioned by SCOTT® Tissue and Towels finds that 99 percent consider common sense important to their everyday lives.

While Americans think common sense is important, they don’t realize it can be developed. In fact, 40 percent don’t believe it can be learned, and only one-in-five Americans thinks people are born with it. But Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education and Professor of Management at Yale University and an expert on practical intelligence, differs strongly with that view. He contends that common sense is a life skill that can be learned and improved, especially by sharing ideas and advice with others.

Dr. Sternberg, who has studied practical intelligence for more than 20 years, has completed notable research concluding that sharing advice can increase levels of common sense. “While many people believe it is a genetic trait that can’t be changed, common sense, in reality, isn’t something we’re born with but something learn in the school of life.”

Recognizing the importance of sharing ideas, the SCOTT Brand is beginning a nationwide Common Sense Tour in May 2005. The 15-city tour kicks off in New York City on May 10 and will bring residents together to share their common-sense tips and ideas. The tour will feature the House that Common Sense Built, an interactive common-sense exhibit and “think tank.” In addition, SCOTT continues the year-old online Common Sense Community, at, a resource for everyday common-sense tips and information.

“Common sense is something we use every day, which is why we created the House that Common Sense Built,” says Ellen Wheeler, associate director of SCOTT Tissue and Towels. “It’s a place where people will give and get useful common-sense advice from across the country. As a creator of one of the most practical household products, toilet paper, this shows how SCOTT is committed to making common sense more common.”

Additionally, the common-sense tips collected along the tour will go toward a great cause. SCOTT is making a $300,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity during the 2005 Common Sense Tour to help deserving communities throughout the country.

The new SCOTT survey uncovered many illuminating findings about Americans’ views of common sense.

Why common sense matters
Common sense plays a major role in our everyday lives – from cleaning the house to managing finances. Ninety-nine percent of Americans say common sense is important.

Americans identify a number of challenges in managing their lives. Seventy percent report being overwhelmed by finances and 40 percent by managing a household. Nearly half of respondents say that spending time with their partners and finding personal time are challenges.

Men vs. Women
By a wide margin, Americans perceive that women are more open than men to receiving common-sense advice on a number of life topics. Four-of-five Americans say women are more open to seek advice on parenting, while only five percent think men would do the same. In addition:
– 85 percent of Americans believe that women are more open to seeking tips and practical advice on relationships with partners.
– 85 percent of Americans believe that women are more open to seeking tips and advice on raising children.
– Americans overwhelmingly see women as more likely to share advice on parenting (90%), running a household (85%) and health (80%).
– Men are perceived as more likely than women to share advice and tips on career and work (47%), financial management (46%), and purchasing new products (62%).

Common sense starts at home with mom and dad
Home is not only where the heart is. Eighty-three percent of Americans say they learned common sense growing up, primarily from their parents. A large percentage of those who learned it growing up also felt they learned it from teachers (59%) and other relatives (53%).
– About a quarter say they learned common sense from siblings (26%) and coaches (23%).
– Men are more likely to report that they learned from coaches (31%, compared to 13% of women).

Finding common sense in your community
Americans are divided on the ease of finding common sense in their communities. Only 10 percent believe that it’s “very easy” to find people in their local community with whom they can share practical advice.

On the other hand, some Americans are more familiar with where they can get practical advice in their communities. For instance, according to the survey, people in Boise, Salt Lake City and San Antonio think it’s easy to find people in their community with whom they can share tips. Whereas, residents of Los Angeles and Denver say it is more challenging to know who to go to in their cities.

Because most Americans aren’t sure where to go in their communities for practical advice, it’s no surprise they don’t seek common-sense advice very often.

Common Sense Tour
That helps explain why SCOTT created the Common Sense Community in 2004, an online resource for everyday common-sense tips and information. The web site,, has become so popular that SCOTT decided to turn this “virtual” forum into reality by hitting the road with an interactive experience.

The House that Common Sense Built is a traveling home that brings the everyday common-sense solutions from the online community to life. Just like the Common Sense Community, people can discover and share useful common-sense solutions that will improve their everyday life and common sense. The House and the online community offer:
– Time-saving strategies that create room for the things you love
– Easy organizing solutions that take only 10 –minutes
– Neat and clean tips that’ll save time on big cleaning tasks
–Healthful hints that improve your mind, body and soul

Inside the House that Common Sense Built, people can visit four rooms: the living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Each room provides a sharing space where unique common-sense tips are exchanged, building and strengthening common sense across the country.

About SCOTT products
SCOTT Products, including paper tissues, towels and napkins, is one of the largest manufacturers of tissues and napkins in the world. It is part of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation family of global brands, which play an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people - almost a quarter of the world’s population - trust Kimberly-Clark brands to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. Besides SCOTT, the brands include KLEENEX®, HUGGIES®, PULL-UPS®, KOTEX® and DEPEND®. The Dallas-based company holds the No. 1 or No. 2 brand position in more than 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Kimberly-Clark news and to learn more about the company’s 132-year history of innovation, visit

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity, based in Americus, GA., is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,00th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.