There is a similar and very common idiom in English:
Quality over quantity
This is often taught using various Aesop's tales and is rather ingrained in American culture. It appears to differ slightly from the idiom you have translated in the sense that "quality over quantity" has less to do with tactics and more to do with value.
A more tactics based idiom is:
Measure twice; cut once
This means that taking time to plan out a strategy will reduce costs in the long run. It is better to do it the right way the first time.
This loses the sense of quality or inherent superiority contained in the comparison between two different things (i.e., the smart man versus the idiot) but the general idea is similar.
A third idiom that, again, gets somewhat close:
Penny wise; pound foolish
This cautions against the habit of obsessing over every single detail and, as a consequence, costing yourself more in the process. It keys on the definition of "penny" as a smaller monetary unit than a "pound". The Americanism would be "penny wise; dollar foolish."
These last two idioms have plenty of variants that apply in specific circumstances. One more I remember off the top of my head is "Lost the battle but won the war."
In the end, I would claim that "quality over quantity" is the most similar but, depending on your intended usage, the other idioms quoted here would also be acceptable.