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See what others are saying about Hubris and Hubris Syndrome. Submit snippets you see by using the ‘Contact’ form on this site. Please note opinions expressed on this Grapevine are those of the authors only and don’t necessarily reflect the Daedalus Trust’s thinking.

Institute of Directors, Press Release :

It does no good to the reputation of UK business when top managers appear to benefit in spite of the collapse of the organisations that they are responsible for. Via online

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago:

"Ordinarily, people are anxious to test their theories, to learn from experience, but those who wield power are so anxious to establish the myth of their own infallibility that they turn their back on truth as squarely as they can." Via broadcast

Erik Conley, ‘Characteristics of highly accomplished investors’:

...someone with a 120 I.Q. who thinks they’re a 110 is more likely to succeed than a 140 I.Q. who thinks they’re a 160. The former has humility and the latter has hubris. Humility is a winner every time. ZenInvestor May 2017

Via online

Claire Axelrad, GuideStar 31 August 2017:

(We) harbor an unconscious bias towards humility. (Maybe we’re) taught that it’s hubris to seek external recognition. Have you ever had a (charitable) donor say “Oh no; thanks are not necessary”? Via blog

Saul Levine, MD. Psychology Today, 01 August 2017:

We are measured in part by how we deal with achievements - with hubris or humility. Via online

Henry Adams, US historian:

The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies. Via book

Doug Porter, BMO Financial Group on Toronto's housing bubble:

A robust body of research exists to explain bubbles…. We rely too heavily on past returns to predict future performance, seek information that confirms our beliefs while ignoring counter-arguments, and fall victim to group-think and our own hubris. Via online

Julia Baird, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2017:

Repeated studies show confidence is the single advantage men have over women when it comes to leadership qualities. Via print

Actor Brad Pitt:

Hubris is a trap... You start believing your own stink. Anytime I've gotten in trouble, it's because of my own hubris. Via print

City A.M.:

Almost half of UK workers think their boss would bend the rules if it meant saving their business - EY Fraud Survey, reported 5 April 2017 Via print

Telling leaders they’re not as great as they think they are:

Leaders interested in science may be easily persuaded of ... the adverse consequences of hubris. ...there is vast empirical evidence to convince leaders that excessive self-confidence is more problematic than they think. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, HBR Via online

Marie Wilson, The White House Project founder/president:

Power is the most potent aphrodisiac. Forget oysters, power is at the top of the menu when it comes to sexual arousal.... Via online

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders?:

Men’s only advantage is that manifestations of hubris, often masked as charisma or charm, are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, HBR 2013 Via online

Prof. Adrian Furnham:

Is 'Generation Me' the most selfish, self-absorbed and hubristic ever? ...Modesty is out. Humility is discouraged, hubris is in. Blame it on the baby boomers spoiling their children. Psychology Today, 30 Jan 2017 Via blog

Microsoft COE Satya Nadella:

There’s a thin line between hubris and confidence. Always there is risk of hubris coming back, missing trends. The only long-term indicator of success is, ‘how good is your internal culture'? Via online

Art and the Heart of Darkness, Richard Bledsoe blog:

Kurtz, in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness... went into the jungle (to bring) enlightenment to the savages. But … hubris made him into the worst savage of all, a demon god demanding worship and tribute. Western Free Press, 8 January 2017 Via blog

Mark Grabowski, Washington Examiner, 28 November 2016:

Journalists’ …. hubris may have suppressed Hillary Clinton's turnout and mobilized angry Trump supporters... Trump showed us we're not as smart as we think. It's time for some humility. Via print

VW to axe 30,000:

Volkswagen, still reeling from the emissions-cheating scandal, is axing 30,000 jobs as part of plans to cuts costs by more than £3 billion a year. VW has agreed to pay £12 billion in a settlement deal with the US. Evening Standard, 18 November 2016 Via print

Washington Post, 9 November 2016:

The Clinton campaign, blinded by hubris, ridiculed and heavily pushed back on journalists who argued that Brexit showed Trump could win.
Via print

David Rock, Psychology Today:

In romance, business, and politics, narcissists tend to wear out their welcome. We like to hire them, but then regret our choice soon after. Via blog

Henry Winter, The Times:

...seduced by power...What wrecked Sam Allardyce in the end was one word central to his DNA, hubris.
Via print

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, FastCompany 4 minute Read:

Confidence may have evolved as a survival strategy for deceiving others. Via linkedin

David DeSteno, Harvard Business Review:

The connection between pride and persistence: emerging research shows pride gives people grit; it doesn’t diminish it. Via print

Bill Gates:

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. Via linkedin

"Consilience" by Edward O Wilson:

To those who fear the 'mad scientist', variously mythologised as … Icarus, the ultimate in hubris, Wilson responds: "Let us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings." Via linkedin

Prof Michael Clarke, former RUSI Director General:

Blair's sin, as Chilcot reveals, was not one of dishonesty or fraud but rather of hubris. Via print

Eleftherios P. Diamandis, Clin Chem Lab Med 2013:

Many Nobel laureates (not all) contract “Nobelitis”... megalomania, and a sense that their medal is a passport for saving the world. (It can make them) believe that whatever they think will be a good idea. Not many will confront a Nobel laureate! … some Nobel laureates could be a dangerous species. Via print

Marshall Goldsmith, management writer:

After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years (a sunk cost if ever there was one), people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them Via print

Tom Ewer, get blog:

There’s a fine line between passion and hubris. While passion provides the necessary motivation, hubris clouds your judgement. Via linkedin

Richard Leblanc,, Toronto:

Regulators need to move into (the hubris) space more. The problem is that it is amorphous, difficult to define and measure. Via linkedin

Lex, Financial Times.:

Bad acquisitions and too much debt are not the only thing that can put shareholders’ wealth on the line. Hubris will do it, too, Via print

Andrew Bailey, incoming CEO, UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA):

Hubris should be classed alongside credit and liquidity risks. Via print

P. J O'Rourke:

Hubris is one of the great renewable resources.

Via print

Bernard Baruch, legendary investor:

Whatever men attempt, they seem driven to overdo. When hopes are soaring, I always repeat to myself that two and two still make four. Via linkedin

Mail Online:

Narcissistic leaders …might be more likely to believe that opponents conspire against them, or that secret plots caused important events. Via print

Washington Post:

Erdogan has mismanaged foreign policy because of hubris. He was overconfident in 2010 that Turkey was the darling of the world, and that went to his head. Via print

Adam Smith Esq. (Blog):

complacency can be death (for a business). But that’s not very often the source of the mortal threat. Far more prevalent is the sin of overreaching Via blog

Alan Kelly, deputy leader Republic of Ireland Labour Party.:

(Power) is obviously a drug. It’s attractive. It’s something you thrive on. It suits some people. It doesn’t suit others. I think it suits me. (Sunday Independent, 7 February 2016) Via print

C S Lewis, author:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Via print

Matt Nixon, Disraeli Group Ltd Principal:

('The Intoxication of Power' collection of conference presentations) is a fantastic set of scholarship and a must-have for anyone interested in the field. Via linkedin

Robert Caro, biographer of Lyndon B Johnson:

Power doesn't always corrupt. Power can cleanse. (BBC 4 'Today', 28 October 2015) Via print

Robert Caro, biographer of Lyndon B Johnson:

Lord Acton wrote 'all power corrupts'... the more I write about power, the less I’m sure that’s true. What is true is that power reveals. When a man has enough power to do exactly what he wants, then you see what he wanted to do all along. (BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves, 6 June 2012)
Via print

Seamus Gillen:

Companies don't fail - boards do. Via linkedin

Warren Buffet:

There is never just one cockroach. Via blog

Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian:

From Hitler and Herbie to Hubris...Volkswagen... brought low. Via print

Bill Fotsch, Founder & Head Coach – Open-Book Coaching:

Would Enron leaders have done what they did if there was broad based economic transparency? Via linkedin

Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker:

Psychologists urge people with low self-esteem to watch G.O.P. debate. Via print

Adam J. Epstein, Third Creek Advisors:

Say what you will about ‘The Donald’, but lots of boards could use a director with his courage. Via blog

Adam J. Epstein:

Unfortunately, an outdated emphasis on collegiality left over from the days of ceremonial, rubber-stamp boards sometimes impedes courageous directors rather than encourages them.
Via linkedin

Erica Leibrandt,

It is not just the narcissist that drives the paradigm, but the person he carefully selects to assist him. From "A narcissist and an empath walk into a bar; understanding the dynamics of abuse." Via googleplus

Siobhan Sweeney, Judge Business School MBA candidate:

Boards should combat groupthink by appointing a 'Contrarian Director' (CD) whose explicit role is to be an independent source of critical thought and analysis. Via linkedin

Neil Britten, chartered non-exec chairman & director:

Although boards are the only mechanism for holding the balance between governance and the executive, it's mostly impossible for them & especially non-execs to be sufficiently aware of their own & others’ unavoidable cognitive biases. Via linkedin

Drew Stein, professional chairman and director:

Independent reviews of a board's performance as a collective which also include individual directors assessments are an essential governance discipline which is either not recognised or avoided by most corporate boards. Via linkedin

Dr Ricardo Blaug:

For all our talk of new forms of management, it remains, for the most part, a dog eat dog world. What’s strange is that we still see the biggest dogs as having a certain rugged charm. Via blog

Andrew Hill,

There is something more corrosive than leaders lying to the outside world; and that is leaders deceiving themselves. Via print

Dave Zirin, The Nation:

(FIFA's) hubris would be gobsmacking if we hadn’t heard it so many times in the past: the statement of blithely unaware confidence by a dictator right before the fall. Via print

John Mackey, Whole Foods:

(The) seductive dangers of being in charge (are like) the ring of power from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Via print

Lord David Owen:

There is still a huge reluctance from the powerful to admit that there can be an inner intoxication which they do not control. Via print

Profs Andrew & Nada Kakabadse:

…hubris is more social than a personal deficiency. … anyone can be socialised in a way that facilitates hubristic behaviour Via linkedin

Colin Melvin, founder Hermes EOS:

We need leadership …. that fosters & builds strong relationships & encourages affiliative behaviours vs defensiveness, aggression or simple competition. Via linkedin

Richard Tudway:

The British Institute of Directors has confirmed (that) Unitary or single boards – common in all Anglo American jurisdictions – simply don’t function (for) publicly traded corporations. 'The looming corporate calamity' Via linkedin

John Martin St Valery, Links Consulting group:

A fascinating 'label' I hadn't considered before. Can this be useful whilst hiring or partnering with senior executives? Via blog

As You Sow Foundation:

The most overpaid CEOs represent an extraordinary misallocation of assets. Via print

Cooper, Gulen, Rau:

CEO pay is negatively related to future stock returns…driven by… overconfidence that leads to losses from over investment and value-destroying M&A. Via blog

Stefan Stern:

We haven't yet reached peak Schadenfreude for last decade’s fallen business heroes. International Business Times 11Feb15
Via print

Pope Francis:

Cardinals' maladies include feeling “immortal, immune, or indispensable. It derives ... from a complex of the chosen, from a narcissism that views one’s own image passionately.... Via print

Financial Times article:

…events in Greece remind us that they gave us the words politics, democracy, drama, comedy and tragedy. I have heard less talk of hubris (the overweening pride of those who devised a single currency encompassing the rather different economic modes and attitudes of Schleswig-Holstein, Sicily and the southern Peloponnese). Harry Eyres 30 January 2015
Via print

HuffPost Celebrity, 28Jan15:

If hubris was a drug, Lance Armstrong had it, naturally, in spades.
Via print

Times Letter to the Editor:

Yes Men are the fools of the Army… think freely, not imitatively. JFC Fuller, chief instructor Camberley 1923-26. Via print

Huffington Post:

Men posting 'selfies' on social media score highly for impulsiveness, lack of empathy & narcissism. Ohio State University research, Jnl of Personality & Individual Differences. Via blog

Dr Douglas Urbina, Nephrologist/Hospital de Clinicas, Caracas:

As a nephrologist with training in Mythology and Jungian Psychology, your work is really important to me. Via blog

Maria Vassiliadou, Ass. Prof MHP, University of Athens:

Your work with Hubris Syndrome is of a great importance for the promotion of mental health in current societies. Via blog

Mikhail Gorbachev: London Evening Standard 21/11/14:

Putin is picking up the illness I had: self confidence. He think's he's God's deputy. Via print

Jon Snow, Channel 4 News presenter:

A lot of hubris is handsomely stoked by the media.
Via print

Prof Adrian Furnham:

We don’t have weaknesses any more. We have developmental opportunities. Via print


Companies to be successful need discipline and control, which requires like-minded people on the team. That leads to group-think and the seeds of destruction. Via print

Delegate, Conference 2014:

We need to embrace the power of opposition, Via blog


I recognise hubris when I look back. It's cost me a fortune. Via print

Jeffrey Kluger, Time journalist:

Branson has “too much hubris” and “too little knowledge” for the space business. Independent online, 1 November
Via print

Ray Henessy, 'Entrepreneur' writer:

The world needs more of Richard Branson's 'Hubris'. 3 November Via print

Chris Blackhurst, Evening Standard:

If Tesco was a vehicle with an engine it would be called metal fatigue. As a collection of people, it’s known as hubris. Via print

Per Kurowski:

I am more frightened by arrogant regulators not being held accountable .. than I am by the market and banks… Via blog

Prof Ian Robertson, Dublin:

Excessive hubris may be one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. Via print

Gillian Tett, Financial Times:

There needs to be far more debate about risk management at the highest levels. Via print

Prof Christoph Loch, Cambridge Judge School of Business:

Hubris makes you perceive yourself as a giant and everyone else as minions. Via linkedin

Prof Mathew Hayward, UK:

Hubris is at the root of the ills plaguing businesses recently. Via linkedin

Prof Manfred F R Kets de Vries, INSEAD:

Leaders become easily intoxicated by the siren call of hubris. Via print

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow:

A few lucky gambles can crown a reckless leader with a halo of prescience and boldness. Via print


Via blog
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