In Masterchef US Season 3 Ep 5, one of the contestants David said this:

Being a good leader is being able to pick people better than you so you don't have to work as hard.

Could you help me understand the meaning of the words in bold please?

I can understand the meaning of work hard and as hard as something.
But for the words, work as hard, I am not sure what it means in the sentence.

  • He's implying that (by being a leader, and thus likely someone who recruits others below their own rank) picking good people (e.g. people who work hard/fast) is an important requirement. His logic is that by picking good people, he himself will less work to do than he would otherwise, had he hired bad workers. The context of his statement makes it seem he works quite often since he implies that he is constantly working e.g. uses "don't" instead of "won't". May 18, 2018 at 15:58

3 Answers 3


The statement is elliptical.

...so you don't have to work as hard [as you would have to work without their help].

It's like saying:

... so your job is easier.

Easier than what? Easier than it would otherwise be.

  • 4
    Maybe a slightly easier example to showcase the point: If you don't want to spend a lot of money, buy a cheaper product, so you don't have to pay as much [as you would for a more expensive product].
    – Flater
    May 18, 2018 at 15:57
  • 1
    @Flater: Well, from another perspective, that's just more of the same. If as hard is confusing, why would as much be any less confusing?
    – TimR
    May 18, 2018 at 16:27
  • 2
    It's not about the "as hard"/"as much" difference, but what comes before it: the intended message is already quite obvious before mentioning "so you don't have to pay as much". OP's example sentence is not as obvious, it could be interpreted differently (which would cause confusion to understand the meaning), for example: "If I pick faster runners to be in my team, then I will be more exhausted because I will struggle to keep up with them." My example doesn't suffer from this ambiguity, in my opinion.
    – Flater
    May 18, 2018 at 16:38

Actually, the statement is a little ambiguous, although it is grammatically correct.

The word "as" is used to draw a comparison, so logically you have to also state what you are comparing to.

In your statement:

Being a good leader is being able to pick people better than you so you don't have to work as hard.

The outcome is clear - if you pick people who are better than you to work for you then your work will be easier, presumably because they will do more of the work that you would have to do if you picked people less able.

It is ambiguous because it doesn't state who or what you don't have to work as hard as!

It could mean:

  • You won't have to work as hard as you would otherwise.
  • You won't have to work as hard as your staff will.
  • 3
    I disagree about it being ambiguous. He clearly means "as you would otherwise" and not "as hard as your staff will".
    – Kevin
    May 18, 2018 at 18:37

Here's what this passage is saying. Being a good leader means that you have to possess a special talent that lets you easily find people who are actually better than you professionally. Since they are better than you professionally, they're going to work better. This in turn means that you won't have to work as hard as you normally do because those people will do most of the work for you.

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