Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sociopaths on Wall Street

From a New Yorker article about the collapse of Bear Stearns:
[Former Bear Stearns C.E.O. Jimmy] Cayne understood selling; he started out as a photocopier salesman, working the nine-hundred-mile stretch between Boise and Salt Lake City, and ended up among the highest-paid executives in banking. He was known as one of the savviest men on the Street, a master tactician, a brilliant gamesman. “Jimmy had it all,” Bill Bamber, a former Bear senior managing director, writes in “Bear Trap: The Fall of Bear Stearns and the Panic of 2008” (a book co-written by Andrew Spencer). “The ability to read an opponent. The ability to objectively analyze his own strengths and weaknesses. . . . He knew how to exploit others’ weaknesses—and their strengths, for that matter—as a way to further his own gain. He knew when to take his losses and live to fight another day.”
Although the most successful Wall Streeters are probably narcissists:
This is what social scientists mean when they say that human overconfidence can be an adaptive trait. “In conflicts involving mutual assessment, an exaggerated assessment of the probability of winning increases the probability of winning,” Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard, writes. “Selection therefore favors this form of overconfidence.” Winners know how to bluff. And who bluffs the best? The person who, instead of pretending to be stronger than he is, actually believes himself to be stronger than he is. According to Wrangham, self-deception reduces the chances of “behavioral leakage”; that is, of “inadvertently revealing the truth through an inappropriate behavior.” This much is in keeping with what some psychologists have been telling us for years—that it can be useful to be especially optimistic about how attractive our spouse is, or how marketable our new idea is. In the words of the social psychologist Roy Baumeister, humans have an “optimal margin of illusion.”

37 comments:

  1. I think overconfidence is something everyone is vulnerable to, empath, sociopath and narcissist alike. I can even see the Gladwell’s point about overconfidence being useful under certain conditions but “globally maladaptive” over all. Maybe the cure for overconfidence is Andy Grove’s version of paranoia, a kind of never ending focus on competition and the environment (which in Intel’s case was the marketplace). Then again, if you think you’ve found ‘the cure’, then you stop being vigilant and lack of vigilance is the breeding ground for overconfidence, isn’t it?

    I bet people in this neck of the personality trait woods are especially susceptible to being overconfident. I prefer to be as skeptical of my own thoughts as I am of everyone else’s. Granted, it isn’t as comfortable as dogmatic certainty and it may not be helpful in circumstances where an abundance of unthinking confidence would prove useful, but relentless skepticism makes the most sense to me and Gladwell’s article underscores why.

    Interesting article ME.

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  2. Bout time we got a worth while article. From the way things were going I thought we were going to talk about Keanu Reeves being immortal (http://www.scifisquad.com/2009/10/26/finally-compelling-evidence-that-keanu-reeves-is-immortal/).
    I don't usually contradict M.E., but I must say that over confidence is what it is. It's confidence not earned. Confidence is a tool, arrogance is a fault. Now if you fake it till you make it that's different. One time I had a professional job that was six figures and I didn't know anything about it. I would tell clients things that were completely wrong and have so much confidence in it that they never questioned it. Eventually after I messed up clients accounts enough I got the hang of it. However, I wasn't delusional enough that I lost track of the fact that I was lying to myself and them for a specific goal and start believing it. Over confidence makes it to where you can't learn form mistakes, can't adapt, overplay your hand, and underestimate your enemies. To me this is one of the most dangerous things a sociopath should overcome and the first problem that must be tackled.
    By the way fuck all you cunts.

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  3. kind of like daft thinking he's cunning. insecure pussy.

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  5. @UKonfident,

    What is your take on professional ethics? A written contract? A verbal contract? An implied contract?

    When you "messed up clients accounts enough", were you providing them the agreed-upon service, or were you losing them money?

    --lurker

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  6. I've been in positions that far exceeded my merit before. Lately I've had to learn to ease off the 'going for it all the way' strategy because I've started to over estimate my ability to wing it when I get in too deep. Nothing has happened yet, but a few close calls. I'm astonished at the amount of trust and confidence others put in me every day. The key to bullshitting is to NOT buy into your own bull shit. That's were people mess up. The tangled webs we weave have to be grounded to something so they don't get away from us. Wow, see ukan? We have something in common. Besides both of us having a pussy, that is.

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  7. I prefer to be as skeptical of my own thoughts as I am of everyone else’s.

    I dunno. I'm a critical thinker, but I still overestimate my long term capabilities. Especially when it comes to doing a job rather than a task. I can listen to someone run their mouth with patience and support once, MAYBE TWICE, but if that's my job - to listen to people and their stupid ideas and give support - I will shoot myself. Or someone else. Probably someone else.

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  8. LOL@lurker asking Ukan about his take on professional ethics?!?

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  9. Sarah said, “I'm astonished at the amount of trust and confidence others put in me every day.”

    I’m astonished at the amount of affection or even need people have directed at me down thru the years, especially since as you pointed out once, I haven’t given them any real reason for it. Good god, I’ve literally had people drop to their knees in front me out of… happiness, joy at seeing me, whatever. I bring it up because one of these times happened just last night when I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a while. Family and friend alike have done this. It doesn’t go to my head because I never think much of it when it happens. I know it has nothing to do with me really. Why take that kind of behavior personally when it says more about them and their beliefs than it does me and mine? It sounds crazy to have people dropping to their knees for me, especially when they aren't women about to give me a blow job. But what can I say, other than it is crazy? And people wonder why we’re so arrogant.

    “I can listen to someone run their mouth with patience and support once, MAYBE TWICE, but if that's my job - to listen to people and their stupid ideas and give support - I will shoot myself. Or someone else. Probably someone else.”

    This is exactly what stopped me from going into any kind of counseling field. I figured that the urge to do violence would increase exponentially.

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  12. So it’s official. We all agree that it’s shockingly easy for us to gain confidence, trust, affection and even worship from other people. This brings it back to the article’s and Ukan’s point. We are vulnerable overconfidence, to figure we can finagle anything out of anybody, anytime. The moral of the story boys and girls is this: overconfidence can lead to arrogance which in turn can lead to sloppiness (or the inability to adapt) which in turn often leads to disaster.

    Daft said, “Finally I snapped and threw him over the fucking lunch table. By the time he got to his feet I was half way to the vending machine to buy a coke, I figured it was low blood sugar that made me irritable—but it was him.”

    LOL. Nice.

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  13. @Daft,
    "I figured it was low blood sugar that made me irritable -- but it was him"
    LOL!

    Of course, the action you chose to take was probably effective.

    --lurker

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  14. @Sarah,
    I don't know UK very well.

    @UK,
    I suppose a more interesting questions might be -- why did you and that 6-figure job part ways, and did the former employer and those former clients give you good recommendations for your next 6-figure job?

    -lurker

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  15. "By the way fuck all you cunts."

    I think UKan comes on here to release some steam after being forced to do a monthly cunt licking on his "cover" wife.

    Hey, UKan! Lalalalalalala (carpet munch, mutch?)

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  16. I guess we have something in common too Dirty Harriet. We both do a bit of cunt licking don't we.
    To be honest (imagine that) I've never read any contract entirely. I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at on your ethics questions. As for the accounts, I didn't try to mess up the accounts. It was a learning experience. You like to dig don't you lurker? I went as far into detail as I needed to make a point. Further than that is uneccessary. If I was vague it was on purpose.

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  17. UKanB.A.MillionareOctober 29, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    "did the former employer and those former clients give you good recommendations for your next 6-figure job?"

    They actually did. I only messed up some till I learned the trade. I was the best at the trade afterward. I started my own company after a brief time in another place. I have issues with authority.

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  18. UKan,

    "I guess we have something in common too Dirty Harriet. We both do a bit of cunt licking don't we."

    Honestly. I like to recieve more than give. Guess I'm a little selfish.

    But, if you're a giver, awesome!

    I think we can be friends, afterall.

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  19. You're too damaged love. Sorry. I like birds I actually respect.

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  20. "You're too damaged love. Sorry. I like birds I actually respect."

    Aww, there you go... going all limp and narcisstic on me, just like Jasnowflake.

    What the hell does respect have to do with YOU licking MY vagina?

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  21. And, UKan, I don't want a relationship, or anything.

    I mean, we could just role-play, a lot... get you in the mood.

    I'll dress up like a man, shaft you a bit with one of your electrical bananas, and when it's my turn... you can close your eyes, wet your lips, and just pretend to not be shocked that I don't really have a penis!

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  22. Double posting again are we? Insecure people generally don't like giving oral sex. They think its a form of submissiveness and they can't afford to have any of that. Your strange sexual habits remind me of a dominatrix bird I met once. She didn't have sex because she would become over obsessive in relationships due to her insecure nature. She never healed from a past relationship which totally broke her in pieces. In her mind that relationship put her at a level of submissiveness she never wanted to experience again. She used her perverted practices to build security since her clients would submit to her. Unfortunatly it was a false sense of security since the submission was never real. Ill give you the same advice I gave her: Stop seeking security in other people and find it within yourself, otherwise you will always be the victim of your own devices. A false sense of security comes from artificial power like the power given to you freely that was never earned. Real power is subtle. Sometimes so subtle that even you don't know the true nature of the power dynamic in the relationship. You, unfortunatly still haven't mastered the power over yourself so this is a little advanced for you. Reguardless, I hope this helps you Dirty Harlot, but it's sometimes pointless to teach the powerless the nature of power or even basic power dynamics. Its like teaching the crippled how to dance.
    Cheers

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  23. Snitch Bitch, what makes you think you could land a relationship even if you wanted one? You can get any dirtbag to fuck you... unless your obese, but I imagine you'll have just as much trouble on a blog with relationships as you do in real life. But like you said, you can always role play. You can pretend that some guy wants you, and that you can live with yourself for a night and run away with your fantasies; The weak person's saving grace, perhaps. That you can always live in your delusions. Kinda reminds me of that quote I told you. It's so nice to know how spot on we all are on how much of a failure as a person you are. Lol. No wonder no one loves you.

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  24. And in regards to the topic, I think an amount of overconfidence is useless. Confidence is and should be earned, while false confidence is an insecure copout. Even Ukan's defense in regards to his job "faking it till you make it" strategy was an example of that as being a mask of an insecurity. Confidence is an adaptive defense so people don't see your weaknesses and attempt to stifle you, but it is not a strength. Merely a guise for a weakness. And as all guises for weakness, it serves its purpose, and that's it.

    Sorry for the vagueness, but in all honesty the topic sort of disinterests me as being a debateable subject. It's just an unecessary explication of a human instinct.

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  28. UKan,

    "Double posting again are we? Insecure people generally don't like giving oral sex. They think its a form of submissiveness and they can't afford to have any of that."

    Listen. I think you're really upset that you can't seem to "touch" my soft side. And, it's not that I don't have a soft side. I really do. I have shared it. It's a great thing. I just wouldn't share it with you.

    And, stop playing hard to get. You know the electric banana turns you on.

    As for your continuing advice on how to structure my psychology, and all that... subtle power, blah, blah, blah...

    What you've revealed to me over a relatively short time is your mind bias and "blind spots" that would be great for someone to easily take advantage of.

    For a sociopath, you're actually really bad at accessing a target, so, I'm guessing any success in your life has come from good looks (not a compliment), clever mimicking, and subliminal intensity, greed, control, hatred, etc. Basically, intimidation.

    You're confident, but retarded. You're mind is forceful, but flawed and unable to absorb new material. Kind of like an old man in a new world, type of thing.

    Oh, well. You'll be old soon enough, and people closest to you (most likely empaths) will be ready to collect the income you've gathered through lying and acting.

    I think that's poetic, really. In some very unintentional way, you're Robin Hood.

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  29. Jasnowflake,

    You're still seething over my beta wolf and stewie impression comparisons.

    hahaha.

    Calm down, narcissist.

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  31. Daft,

    "I think (maybe UKan does too) that in order for me to want to go down on a chick, to be willing to give her that visual ego boost of seeing me eating her out…I have to respect her enough to be willing to do it."

    Gosh. That must suck. Really! Think of all you guys eating so much tuna. Haha.

    "I’ve never eaten out a chick that I didn’t respect, nor do I think a woman should blow me if she doesn’t want to."

    Very considerate of you.

    "If the respect is there, I’ll go to town and wax that clit, munch trim until my tongue weighs a ton, but not if it’s a one night stand."

    Bwahaha. Wax that clit.

    "I need to feel respect enough to do this, if it isn’t there…sorry but no sushi for me."

    Yikes. Come on. Not every female smells like sushi!

    "I could be wrong, maybe UKan never goes down on chicks."

    He does. And, I suspect it makes him so mad afterwards that he comes on here to scream at "cunts".

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  34. I wasn't working with guess work Dirty Harlot. You were the one offering strap-ons and the likes. Why if I didn't know any better maybe that sociopathic boyfriend that dicked you around shattered you a lot more than I thought.
    Daft you are a muppet. How can I reply to your strange perverted comments. You sound like a lurking rapist, or child bugger. Who goes on in detail like that except Harlot, and she has a excuse (Being a tranny and all). Sushi? What have you been playing with back alley overwieght whores. Seriously mate, you should get yourself checked out before you end up with cunt rot on your mouth.

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  35. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    Goddamn ME refused to reconnect the blog to the forum so we SC goers will just have to spam advertisements for the forum in the comments section. ;)

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