This week, several blogs I follow have linked to Malcolm Gladwell‘s latest Atlantic article about the psychology of overconfidence. it’s an interesting article, but overconfidence is not the subject of this post.
In the article, Gladwell uses Bear Stearns’ former CEO Jimmy Cayne as a case study in over-confidence, and he includes some quotes from Cayne, such as:
The audacity of that prick [treasury secretary Geithner] in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan. Like he was the determining factor, and itâ€™s like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a hard-on, saying, â€œRaise the bridge.â€ This guy thinks heâ€™s got a big dick. Heâ€™s got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend.
I am amazed that someone who had reached the pinnacle of corporate America would be so vulgar–maybe in private, but he would certainly have the sense to tone it down for an interview. But then, maybe Cayne’s not caring about his vulgarity is just another point in Gladwell’s case about Cayne’s over-confidence. Or maybe I just don’t get out much.