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… echoes exactly what I fear about our governmental “leaders”:

Gladwell’s diagnosis is simple: massive amounts of overconfidence, as revealed by its two most common symptoms, miscalibration and the illusion of control. Both of which can be seen in spades in the person of Jimmy Cayne, whose interviews with William Cohan for House of Cards show a man who’s really very deluded about what Cohan, and Cohan’s readers, are going to think of him.

More generally, said Gladwell,

What’s going on on Wall Street isn’t the result of experts failing to act as experts: it’s the result of experts acting exactly like experts act. It’s not a result of incompetence, it’s a result of overconfidence.

When we look for evidence of miscalibration in people, he said, we find it overwhelmingly in experts. We find it when people are in conditions of great stress and complexity and competitiveness. And we find it overwhelmingly with older, more experienced people, doing difficult things which they feel very strongly about.

Jimmy Cayne, said Gladwell, is the picture of overconfidence – and he’s quite typical when it comes to heads of Wall Street banks. And so, Gladwell concluded:

Our goal is not to enhance the expertise on Wall Street. Expertise they have in spades. Our goal is to rein in the expertise on Wall Street. Wall Street needs to be slower, less competitive, and a lot more boring.

Replace Wall Street with Washington in the above. If the scientists on K-Street understand the above, how is it at all humanly possible that they do not turn the lens on themselves? Oh yeah, I forgot – the guys on Wall Street don’t have guns.

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