Last week, there was a minor explosion on my own industry's horizon. Perhaps you saw it. Comedian and professional speaker Nicole Arbour, who is rough as nails but highly entertaining, called out a motivational speaker named Jay Shetty for plagiarism.

'Called out' is perhaps putting it mildly. Watch the video on YouTube to appreciate the full, eviscerating hatchet-job. 

She's right, though. In example after example, he quite demonstrably steals other people's thoughts, ideas and even specific phraseology, and adds his name to the byline. When he delivers other people's text verbally, before a camera, he does it with a heartrendingly sincere face.   

Plagiarism is not merely unprofessional. In certain contexts, it's actually a crime. For our purposes, as we consider positioning ourselves as experts, let's add a third reason not to do it: As Shetty is learning the hard way, it is the ultimate career-destroyer. 

It is perfectly acceptable to quote other people. All authors and writers do so, building on top of pre-existing edifices of thought. That's how humanity moves forward. All we need do is acknowledge the source. Or at the very least, if we cannot find the source, mention that we 'once heard it said that...' Even that will do it. 

But pasting your own photo, your own name, over someone else's words is not an act of mistake or neglect. It is intentional. And it is unethical. 

The wonderful thing about becoming an expert is that you get to share your own ideas. So...what do you think? What do you believe? What are your unique observations? How satisfying that you get to build an entire career on the basis of sharing that intellectual property. That's not limiting; it's wonderful. 

I view Shetty's as a useful cautionary tale for the rest of us. And it's like I always say: 'I have a dream. Make America great again. Yes, we can!' 

Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and bestselling author. Meet him at