My economics prof introduced me to "Joe" years ago. He called it the "I know a man who" theory. I'll comment, "Statistically more lefthanders per capita get into injury-causing accidents." To which you respond, "Yeah, but my best friend, Alonzo, is a leftie without a mar on his record at age 32." In your mind, Alonzo overrides my analysis based on, say, a 3,000-accident sample.
I felt like Man-who Joe had me in an armlock the other day. I was tweeting about the economic value of kindness, thoughtfulness, etc. To which someone responded with a short list of names of wildly successful entrepreneurs and artists (symphony conductors) who are out-and-out jerks.
I know such folk, too. Many thereof. Yet my "defense"—which I fervently believe—was: "Yup, X & Y & Z are indeed v. successful jerks.
"But you and I and the vast majority of us are simply not good enough to be able to overcome significant jerk-hood. That is, for those of us who are mortal (let's say 99% ++), thoughtfulness-kindness-attentiveness is a winning strategy, perhaps the only possible winning strategy."
I refuse to be trapped by "I know this guy Joe"!
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.