Stay with me here, alright?
I was talking to my sister recently about her friend who is very bright and asked, “Did she come first in your class in college?”
“No,” said my sister, “in our class it was only really a fight for second place because we had Joe Soap in our class. He was the cleverest man, I ever met. It felt like he was only going to lectures to be polite to the lecturers.”
“What did he do after?”
“He went to Oxford and did a PhD in Chemistry but then he decided Chemistry wasn’t for him. We were all a bit depressed when we heard because, honestly, if Chemistry wasn’t for Joe Soap then it really wasn’t for anyone.”
“So what’s he doing now?”
“Oh, he’s a banker in the City of London.”
And it just struck me that the rewards associated with international finance do attract super-smart people who are used to being right and being the brightest people in the room. Do you think that makes it likely that they would accept that it’s all their fault if something goes wrong or that they would respect the regulatory authorities?
Sample size 1 as a colleague says when I produce these kinds of things but still.
I think I might go back and re-read my copy of “The Best and the Brightest“.