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Do not judge a book by its cover.

“Do not judge a book by its cover”, is an English idiom that is said to originate from a novel written by George Elliot in the 1860s, The mill on the floss. I have used this quote in many cases but was not informed where it originated from. This English idiom simply means that you should not judge people or something based on its physical appearance. You should not form a conclusion on people based solely on what is on the outside. One thing I have realized is that once you get to know someone, you find that they are different from what you had in mind. Your perception was based purely on the outside before you got to know them better. It is something, we are most probably guilty of because it happens to us all the time.

“Do not judge a book by its cover” by George Elliot

If there’s one thing I learned, is to look at people beyond what is on the surface, and it has opened a lot of life-long lessons because I get to learn from almost everyone.
Let me make a literal example of how judging a book by its cover costs me. As you all know, I am a book lover. Every year, I set a target for myself. It is a technique I learned from my peers. When the year ends, we get to boast about how many books we have read. It is the only competition we have with each other, and I’m okay with it. We get to compete constructively. Last year I managed to read 32 books besides the Bible. ( not so much, but it was an achievement for me). This year has been too busy, I did not manage to read most books. One of my resolutions for next year is to read books more.


As I was saying, I would go to a book store, and pick a book based on the cover and the title of the book. I judged the book based on how appealing, attractive, and interesting it looked on the outside. Only to find that the quality of the content does not match that of the cover. From then on, I stopped judging books based on their covers. I would browse through the content first, and get the feel of the book. I realized that there are books that do not look as attractive from the outside, some of them small in pages, but rich in quality. I have read so many books with few pages, but they changed my life. “Do not judge a book its cover”, George Elliot said.

Judging based on the physical appearance.

We can associate this with people.
Some people might look small, short, with a petite body, but find that they are wise, and powerful in their circle. There is a quote that says, “Dynamite comes in small packages”. Like a Facebook post, I read on my timeline last week, of a woman who tried to help some guys with a mathematical problem. She offered to help them, but they looked at her physique and judged her based on that. Only to find that she had passed the module with distinctions, but because she had a petite body and was short, they turned down the offer. I’ve attached the post below, you can read it yourself. Do not judge people based on their outward appearance.

Facebook post by Lethabo Phoshoko.

Judging based on the personality.

Some people like to pull a straight face, and they look mean, but once you get to know them, you will be pleasantly surprised to realize that they are nice people inside and have a good sense of humor. Other people look quiet and shy and find that they are outgoing once you get to know them. People used to say that I was quiet, but my friends and family would say something different, and quiet was not on the list.

Judging based on status.

Some people might look genuinely in love with you, but only to find that they are psychotic, serial killers, and so forth. The only thing which made you fall in love with them is how they presented themselves to you. They had fancy cars, houses, a decent job, and a form of status in the community. Two, three months in the relationship, you come and report them to have changed. One thing you should know is that they have not changed, they just revealed their authentic selves. But you looked at the external possessions they had and fell for them without getting to know them better.

Another guy might be lacking financially at the moment, and they are poor, but to find that they are genuinely in love with you. You might find that the guy has a vision. He knows what he wants out of life. He is merely waiting for an appointed time for his life to come together. It is where discernment comes in. I think we must all have the gift of discernment. It will reveal a lot about people to avoid mistakes and to fall for the wrong people.

Judging based on the type of employment.

There are jobs that most people look down on and consider to be of low range. ( security guards, cleaners, petrol attendants, etc.). One thing I learned about them is that most of them are wise and full of life lessons. If you can take your time and conversate with them, you will realize how informative they are. And most of them are educated. They have degrees and qualifications, they just have not found a job relating to what they studied. Have a chat with them. They will change your perspective about life. You might find that the answer to what you are going through at the moment is packaged in the people whom you judge based on what they have or do not. “Do not judge a book by its cover”, George Elliot said.

Judging based on education.

There are people with good jobs, yet they do not qualify or are not well trained for the job. The only thing which qualifies them is the qualification they have on paper, but are not quite skilled for the job. There are those with no qualifications yet skilled and best fitted for the job. That is the reality of life we live, unfortunately. But I find it so saddening to see that we judge people based on their level of education. Someone might say, it’s not possible because we are not equal educationally. Truth is, we might not be equal, but we all are the same. We are human beings, and we should learn to treat each other like one.

The appearance of someone is not relevant or equivalent to their worth. We must never judge people based on personalities, status, education, employment, and simply on what is seen from the outside.

A note to all the graduates: Do not sit at home and say there are jobs available. Go ahead and approach companies for volunteering. If you have to take that internship that pays less money, take it. Do not look down on that. You never know how many other opportunities will unfold from that. Take anything that your hands may find to do, and grow from there.
“Do not judge a book by its cover”, George Elliot said.

Have you ever been judged based on physical or outward appearance? How did that make you feel? Let’s chat in the comment section. I have missed talking to you.

( 2 Samuel 16: 1-13 )
From my heart to yours

This Post Has 18 Comments

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      I certainly agree
      After you have all the facts and the deeper version of the book. And is also applies to people, inbelive that we should not judge people based solely on the outward appearance. There’s more to people than what is seen on the outside. Thank you for passing by friend

  1. Evidence Mutumbu

    Outside appearance deceives.
    You have to go deeper.
    When want to marry, when you want to employ or even a business partner,you have to be diligent.
    Good post mate!

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      One thing I have realized is that once you get to know someone, you find that they are different from what you had in mind. Outaide appearance is indeed deceiving. Thank you so much mate for passing by.

        1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

          It’s tough mate
          The new variant has already hit our land and I’m not sure how to take the news because I feel like its all made up. We are yet to hear what the officials had decided. Looks like we’ll go on lockdown on the festives.

          1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

            Not at all🙏🙏🙏

  2. Pooja G

    I absolutely agree with all the points you made on this post! We can never truly know someone until we get to know them and interact with them for a certain period of time. Appearances lie and most of the time so do first impressions.

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Agree with you Pooja.
      One thing I have realized is that once you get to know someone, you find that they are different from what you had in mind. The perception was based purely on the outside before you got to know them better. Appearances do lie.

  3. Happy Panda

    I am the exact same with books. I just can’t bring myself to read a book with an unappealing cover. 🙈

    I’ve been a judgemental person most of my life since I was always judged by people on the basis of how I looked (fat), so I did it back. But over the past few years I’ve tried to become kinder and less judgemental.

    Love the post. ❤️

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      Hahahhha I’ve stopped looking only on the cover, now I make sure the level of content matches with the cover. Sometimes a book can be appealing, attractive from the outside and only to find the content is quite disappointing.

      Some books looks unattractive from the cover but with rich content

    2. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      I think you were totally right to retaliate back, sometimes people like to to impose their own insecurities to people. You are the most beautiful woman from the inside out.

  4. seankfletcher

    What an insightful and well thought out post, Shazzy. My English literature teacher and good friend said to me a long time ago to always read a page from the book first and make a decision from there.

    I have always taken people as I find them. In the main it has served me well. You will always find the most amazing and loyal people underneath it all.

    If I had listened to those who judged me, I would never have: become a CEO; obtained two post graduate qualifications; influenced government policy; ended up with a family who I cherish greatly. It’s never easy when those who do not know you try to pull you down, but the trick is to look at the glass half full and not look at it half empty. It took me a little while to realise that 😊

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      I definitely agree with your thoughts. I think your English teacher was quite right. No one gave that idea but I’ve learnt to browse through first to avoid disappointments after purchasing.

      Ohh I love this. We never progress when we allow people’s judgments and insecurities to get hold of us. You are one of the powerful people I’ve met, yet humble and unpretentious. Thank you so much

  5. Lúcia.M

    🙌I think we miss out on opportunities to have and share beautiful relationships with people only because we’re too quick to put a tag on them based on how they look… This whole thing of judging the cover brings about a lot of assumptions. I mean we don’t know who a person really is until we get to know them, but if their looks make us decide otherwise, we be living based on the assumptions we have created in our minds.

    1. Lebogang Shazzygal Malatji

      We miss a whole lot of opportunities. When it comes to relationships one sees a lot of women miss out on genuine love because they looked from the outward appearance, a few years down the line, the guy has succeeded. And the woman regret to have turned the proposal down initially.

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