FLATTERY. How do you go about getting power so that you can be corrupted and absolute power so you can be corrupted absolutely? The Schumpeter column in the September 11 Economist discusses some academic research on how to get power. The article highlights the importance of the ability to “manage upward” and therefore mastering the art of flattery. It reports that: “Jennifer Chatman, of the University of California, Berkeley, conducted experiments in which she tried to find a point at which flattery became ineffective. It turned out there wasn’t one.”

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3 Responses to FLATTERY.

  1. Nick says:

    Ha! I read that article and was going to point that quote out to you specifically because I thought you would want to put it on the blog.

    Great minds and so forth…

  2. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    So, to find the truly great men (that is, the ones who care about the future but don’t put themselves forward to be politicians) we would have to find someone who cannot stand to be flattered. Are there any? Or is that just the common curse of man? Part of concupiscence and all that?

  3. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    I’ve read several novels recently set in the court of Henry VIII. (Wolf Hall is wonderful.) Henry was, clearly, a monster, a madman, but smart. However, he checked his smarts at the door of Self Image, and never had a clue, even though he had to mow down a slew of wives, that once he was past his golden young years no one loved him “for himself alone.” But the flattery and sense of entitlement absolutely destroyed his common sense and fake-dar.

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