Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

Key Insights

What do many of the top companies in the business world have in common? For each of these companies, there is a specific moment in their history, either good or bad, that helped to define them.

In Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street, John Brooks looks at the defining moments of 12 iconic companies. Whether these moments were about fame or notoriety, each one helped to define the company in a way that is still relevant today.

This is a chance to get an in-depth look at some iconic companies, while also learning more about the intricacies of the corporate world as they were when each of these events took place.

Why Business Adventures is still critical reading today

No matter what business story the author looked at, from the 1962 market crash to a brokerage firm crashing, there is one thing that becomes clear - history often repeats itself.

In an effort to prevent history from repeating itself, it is important to learn from the mistakes of the past.

This is a chance to not only learn more about business, but also what they all have in common with each other. No matter how different each of these stories are, they still have a common thread that brings them together.

Key Points

  • Stock Market crash of 1962 shows that the market is unpredictable and investors can be irrational

In 1962, a flash crash of the market left many investors in a panic, even as it proved how volatile the Stock Market can be. After six months of decline, on May 28, 1962, a crash was initiated when investors panicked over a 45 minute lag in stock price updates.

With the central office being late to update the price of stocks, investors panicked over fears that the price had dropped, which led to a large scale sell off of stocks. By selling off so many stocks so quickly, the investors ultimately created a downward spiral for the market.

However, this panic also led to the fast turn around for the market to recover. For investors, there is a common understanding that the Dow Jones Index which measures the value of the Stock Market should not drop below 500 points. As the selling frenzy crashed the market, and investors watch the market drop towards the 500 point mark, it led to those same investors quickly buying up stocks.

In just three days, millions of dollars were wiped out and then quickly replaced. All of this to prove that not only is the Stock Market unpredictable, but so are the people investing. The mood of the people is just as important as any other factor when it comes to the market.

  • Ford launches the Edsel and shows the world a product debut that is unsuccessful

In the late 1950s, Ford was getting ready to debut the Edsel, which was set to be the company’s flagship product of the time. However, it ended up being a massive failure for the company. The question is why.

In 1955, the car industry was booming and many American families were looking for cars in the mid-range of pricing. This is an area Ford was generally quite weak in at the time.

As part of their effort to fix this, Ford began planning for the Edsel. This product was ready to launch in 1958, but by that time consumer tastes had changed and an economic downturn meant that consumers were now looking for inexpensive cars.

This was not the only reason the Edsel failed. It was also one of Ford’s most hyped projects, for which they spent $250 million just on planning. However, it was ultimately a disappointment as it was truly just like every other vehicle with four wheels.

The third and final reason for its failure was the poor design quality. Rather than investing in building a well-crafted car, Ford put much of their spending in the psychological aspects of the vehicle and making sure consumers would buy the car.

While the Edsel was not useless, it ultimately did not live up to anyone’s expectations.

  • Income tax should be reset to what it was in 1913

The U.S. income tax system is considered to be unfair, even by people such as Warren Buffet. However, to understand why that is, it requires looking back to 1913 when the government first began levying an income tax against the people.

At that time, the income tax rates were low and it was the richest people who were contributing the most. However, since those first few years, the rates have continued to go up and more people were taxed.

At the same time, loopholes were created that actually benefited the wealthiest citizens. As of now, the income tax rate is much higher and having the biggest impact on the middle-class.

At this point the tax structure is generally inefficient, with some people even refusing to take on more work in order to not make too much money and be pushed into a higher tax bracket.

The current income tax system is benefiting the rich who have enough influence to keep the laws from changing. According to the author, the only real solution is to reset the income tax laws back to the way they were in 1913.

  • The 1959 Texas Gulf case is was what reined in insider trading

Before 1959, insider trading was a big thing, with people who knew something important keeping what they knew quiet so they could buy up stocks that would end up being valuable.

In 1959, Texas Gulf Sulphur, a mineral company, ended up hitting the jackpot in the Ontario wilderness when they were drilling. They ended up finding what seemed to be millions of dollars worth of minerals, including copper and silver in the ground.

People who knew about the find decided to stay quiet about the find and began buying up shares in the company, even having relatives do the same thing quietly. Rumors began to spread about a massive find, but the company chose to hold a press conference to not only spread disinformation, but downplay the rumors. At the same time, the company’s executives were still buying up shares.

When Texas Gulf finally admitted to their findings, the stock in the company increased and everyone with stock in the company suddenly had tons of money.

Even though these actions were even then considered unethical, there was never any enforcement of insider trading laws. However, this time things were different, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chose to charge the company with insider trading and deceptive practices.

Many investors were angry by this move. However, it was up to the court to decide if what Texas Gulf had done was illegal. Ultimately, they found the company guilty and it was determined that all companies needed to afford everyone a chance to get the information they need to make informed decisions. This ruling helped to clean up Wall Street and make insider trading truly illegal.

  • Xerox achieves quick success and then loses that success with similar speed

The early 1960s saw the automatic copy machine becoming a huge hit. And with that success came success for its developer, Xerox. However, just a few years later Xerox found themselves in a huge downfall.

When Xerox first launched its plain-paper copy machine, even they did not expect much success. Not only was it expensive at the time to make copies, but special paper was often needed. However, Xerox was able to fill a need and ended up with revenue of around $500 million in just six years.

While Xerox was able to sustain their success for a period of time, which led to them donating a lot of money in an effort to give back, it was not long before they hit a major bump in the road leading to their downfall.

Even though they were able to achieve success, they had plenty of competition that was now producing cheaper products. And even with attempts at new investments, they were coming up with nothing new to stay competitive.

However, while Xerox went through the three stages of success, they ultimately survived them all and are still in business today.

  • The New York Stock Exchange rescued a brokerage in 1963 to stop a financial crisis from happening

In 1963, a brokerage by the name of Ira Haupt & Co. was in trouble. They had their membership revoked after they no longer had the capital needed to trade on the NYSE.

The reason for their troubles had to do with a bad deal they made. While the company traded in commodities, they had made a deal to buy soybean oil and cottonseed that would be delivered at a future date. To do this, they used receipts from their warehouse as bank collateral for a loan.

However, it was discovered that the receipts were doctored and the oil never existed. This meant that the brokerage was involved in commercial fraud on a large scale and did not have the money to pay the bank back.

In order to become solvent again, it was determined that Ira Haupt & Co. needed $22.5 million. At the time, the nation was already in a panic because of President Kennedy being shot and the market in decline.

With the brokerage on the verge of bankruptcy, the NYSE was worried what would happen if they did in fact let the company go bankrupt. To save the rest of Wall Street from a collapse, they decided to save the brokerage. This meant that the NYSE and other banks put together the money needed to pay off Ira Haupt & Co.’s debt.

We may never see the Stock Exchange do something like this again, but in 1963 it helped to ward off a financial crisis and panic.

  • Criminal or immoral actions are blamed on communication problems by executives

When a company is involved in a scandal, often times the claim is that everyone is innocent. Instead, the real problem is communication problems.

An example of this came in the 1950s when GE was involved in price fixing on a large-scale. At least 29 companies were involved in working together to fix prices on at least $1.75 billion worth of machinery. This led to customers paying up to 25 percent more than they normally would have.

When it was determined that GE was the leader in this ring of price fixing, it was brought before the courts. Even as prison terms and fines were handed out to managers, no executives were held accountable.

The reason for this is that they claimed it was due to poor communication from the managers. Executives claimed that the middle managers did not properly interpret their directions.

And since there were two policies in effect at GE, with middle managers thinking that the idea of not sharing pricing information with competitors was merely window dressing, the executives simply could not be blamed.

  • Piggly Wiggly almost killed the idea of the self-service supermarket because of a stock market battle

In 1917, Piggly Wiggly patented the concept of the self-service supermarket. They were the first grocery store to put price tags on all products, offer shopping carts to customers, and have the check out stands that would streamline purchasing groceries.

In the 1920s, Piggly Wiggly was expanding quickly across the United States, but in 1923 a few franchises failed in New York. This led to some investors deciding to make investments that would only earn them a profit if the stock actually fell. They then did whatever they could to force the stock price of Piggly Wiggly down.

As part of an attempt to teach Wall Street a lesson, the owner of Piggly Wiggly attempted to buy back a majority of the company’s stock, which he was almost able to do. The owner announced his plan and was able to get 98 percent of his stock back which actually raise the price of the stock, causing major losses for those investors.

However, the investors were able to get the stock exchange to give them an extension on paying their debts. And with the Piggly Wiggly owner dealing with his own debts, he ended up with such major losses he ended up declaring bankruptcy.

  • Being business savvy and have a clean conscience can go together

In the 1930s David Lilienthal was a civil servant under President Roosevelt. By 1941 he was appointed as the chairman for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Then he became the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1947.

In each of his roles, he worked with energy and technology in some manner.

By 1950, Lilienthal made the decision to leave office and told everyone his reason was a desire to make more money for his family. In the private sector, he continued to be an honest man, even as he used his former positions to get a job with the Minerals and Chemical Corporation of America. He ended up bringing the company back to life and made himself and the company a lot of money.

Ultimately, what made him the ideal human is the fact that he was committed to being accountable to both humanity and the shareholders of the company he worked for.

  • Stockholders have power that they rarely use

In theory the most powerful people in America are the stockholders. Technically they own the largest corporations in the country. These same corporations are run by a board of directors that are actually elected by the stockholders.

If stockholders took this power to elect a board seriously, they could make a real change. And yet many corporations do not make it easy for the stockholders to actually use their power to vote.

The only time the meeting to elect a board is ever truly interesting is when professional investors challenge the management and board of directors into a debate. However, even this does not happen often. And yet, if shareholders would wield their power, perhaps companies would be less likely to do whatever they want.

  • Donald Wohlgemuth is the reason employees can change companies even with knowledge of trade secrets

While you now have the option to accept a job opportunity from a competitor, this was not always the case. In 1962, Wohlgemuth worked with B.F. Goodrich Company managing the space suit engineering department. And while the race for space was in full swing, the company had recently lost the contract for the Apollo mission to International Latex.

International Latex made Wohlgemuth an offer of a job with more responsibility and a higher salary, he wanted to take it, but his company was worried about him divulging their space suit secrets.

B.F. Goodrich decided to sue Wohlgemuth, which led to a court case that brought up two key points: if someone has never shown an indication that they would break confidence, could something be done based on an assumption that might, as well as the idea of can you stop someone from taking a position that might tempt them to commit a crime.

The judge decided that Wohlgemuth was in a position to harm Goodrich, but he could not be found guilty of harming the company when he had not done it yet. Therefore he was allowed to take the new job at International Latex.

  • Speculators attack the pound sterling in 1964 and bankers couldn’t even defend it

In the 1960s the pound sterling was one of the most prestigious currencies, as it was one of the oldest and also most valuable. And yet in 1964 it came under attack by financial speculators, leading to bankers attempting a defense.

Britain was dealing with financial difficulties in 1964 as they were dealing with a large trade deficit. Speculators did not believe Britain could keep up fixed currency rates and started betting against the pound, looking to make its value fall.

In an effort to protect not only the pound sterling, but also the international monetary exchange, an alliance of policy makers launched a defense of the sterling, buying pounds to raise the price in the market.

And while this back and forth worked for both sides for a short time, but the speculators were able to keep up their barrage for years, ultimately winning and leading to the pound being devalued by more than 14 percent.

Summary

Ultimately, the way we look at business and the financial market is based on significant moments in history. And even the smallest decision can have a ripple effect, leading to major changes that impact finances and corporations.

Without history, people would make the same mistakes from the past. And with these lessons, we learn the best way to make a change and push business forward as well.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Key Insights

Through the study of physics, we have learned the story of the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.5 billion years ago in the skies.

And within the last 70,000 years, Homo sapiens appeared. Since their appearance, humankind has gone through three dynamic revolutions:

  1. The Cognitive Revolution
  2. The Agricultural Revolution
  3. The Scientific Revolution

“Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behavior, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.”― Yuval Noah Harari

Currently, we are in the scientific revolution which started about five centuries ago. It is progressing at rapid speeds, but we are still unsure of the final outcome.

Key Points

  • The Cognitive Revolution

We, as a species, are not the only humans to have walked the face of the earth. All of our ancestors were the genus Homo. Homo sapiens, however, appeared and disrupted the natural order by bringing in advances of language, cognition or thinking, and technology.

Now, we are currently at another turning point in humankind with our own existence, as humans are being rivaled by the introduction of artificial intelligence.

For over two million years, we lived with our thinking processes and capacity for learning without advantages to match. Homo sapiens were for a long time in the middle of the food chain. Now, we are at the top so our advantages now match our intellect.

For thousands and thousands of years, Neanderthals were superior to Sapiens. When Sapiens first encountered Neanderthals in the Middle East, they were quickly overpowered and the Sapiens fled back to Africa, where they came from.

But 70,000 years passed, and Sapiens once again decided to leave the comfort of Africa. On their way to Asia and Europe and even Australia, they overpowered Neanderthals.

The Cognitive Revolution is documented through the appearances of sewing needles, boats, oil lamps, and art throughout history. But, the greatest development that resulted from the Cognitive Revolution, was language.

Language helped to communicate danger to other beings and it also helped to keep information stored safely in the brain.

For example, an animal can warn its species that there is an enemy approaching. However, only a human can warn their tribe of the possibility of danger based on an enemy’s signs, such as footprints or tree rubs. Humans can store the information they have seen and present it to their tribe later, whereas animals can only warn against immediate danger in the present to the animals around them.

“You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.”― Yuval Noah Harari

The Cognitive Revolution and language also brought humankind the gifts of spirituality, religion, and the supernatural. Or in other words, it gave us the ability to understand and think about things we cannot see or touch.

But, with more intellectual thinking came war, hierarchies, and politics.

By understanding our hunting-and-gathering ancestors, we are better able to understand ourselves. For example, as modern-day humans, we tend to binge on sugary foods. That’s because if our ancestors came across a high-calorie sweet, which was rare, they would maximize the find by eating as much of it as they could or foraging it for their tribe.

Now that sweets are available to us whenever we want, we eat them more regularly. This started when we began harvesting food ourselves.

  • The Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution changed the way we consume food. Now, we can grow food in designated areas through farming, but before that was a concept, humans had to forage for their food. Our ancestors dedicated their lives to giving us our current method of planting, growing, and consuming our foods.

Agriculture, against popular previous belief, did not start in the Middle East and spread from there. Instead, it started independently in different areas around the world around the same time.

Early farmers did not have a great understanding of the earth, except for survival purposes. Plants, in a way, helped humans to become domesticated. That’s because without humans nurturing them, many plant species would not have survived the times.

Tending to crops was intensely laborious. Ancient skeletons reveal the consequences of this work, including arthritis and hernias.

Although there were many challenges with resources and territories, the promise of sustainable food was worth the effort. It allowed the species to feed their offspring and reproduce more.

Foraging ancestors were mainly concerned with the present, while the farming humans were thinking of the future. This led to the design of cities, villages, and towns.

With cities, villages, and towns in place, this brought more people together building alliances based on human rights, wants and needs, and moral virtues.

The Agricultural Revolution made us start to rely on numbers. A forager would not care how many pieces of fruit were on a tree as long as there was some. But, farming became a sign of status and livelihood. The more fruit you had, the better off you were.

Because numbers were of such great importance, the ancient Sumerians were able to calculate sums that have never been heard of and keep records on a scale that no human brain could ever process.

After numbers started playing such a huge role in the species, the art of writing was introduced. Writing led to entire systems of law, religion, and learning, which brought about the agreed-upon natural order.

A lot of modern anthropologists still believe there is a majority of patriarchal societies in the world. However, new ideas seem to disprove this. There is no genetic proof of men being superior to women. Therefore, patriarchy is simply just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Humankind Unified

There is a pattern in human history. It begins with intense growth and then turns to disintegration. However, there has also been a big uprise in unity because there is no country or culture that has grown independently. All of the cultures and societies are intertwined in some way.

The greatest unifying force in our world is money. Money has no value except the value that we give it. This can change depending on the society or the economy at any given time.

Liberalism in our modern-day society suggests that empires are not sustainable because it is impossible to rule over a mass of conquered people for a long amount of time. However, empires have been dominant in our world for the last 2,500 years.

One of the major benefits of empires is the ability to standardize laws and currency under a smaller reign.

Although we tend to think negatively about the British takeovers of countries throughout history, those countries gained a lot through that process. For example, during a British takeover, India gained its legal system, the English language, a railway network, and the game of cricket.

Religion has been argued to be discriminatory. However, religion unifies people by bringing them together under the same moral virtues. Religions are important because they highlight human order and social values.

Early religions often used animal sacrifice to establish dominance and social order.

Religion also made Homo sapiens the focus and center of the world because they were able to reason and give ideas and actions moral consideration.

  • The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution demands that we understand our ignorances as a species, use observation, use mathematics, and to acquire new skills by putting theories into action.

As humans, we are looking to control the universe in order to fully understand it. Science and technology didn’t always go hand-in-hand. Science used to be more about understanding concepts, than controlling them. But, when science became attached to empires, it also became socially profitable.

Now, there are royal societies and government-funded labs that allow science to go further. However, that’s not all good. Once science got involved with technology, horrors in warfare such as Agent Orange and the atomic bomb appeared.

Many believe that Christopher Columbus sparked the Scientific Revolution because of the data that was required of the new continent in order to conquer it.

The thirst for knowledge made many Europeans learn new languages, geographies, and of course, technologies.

Science has entered a turning point where its creations might actually become the creators. Artificial intelligence is threatening our place in the world.

History repeats itself, but evolution is always growing. If we are not careful we will become superior beings to our technology.

The Main Take-Away

There are three major revolutions in the history of humankind: The Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution, which we are in right now. By understanding how these revolutions have helped shape our species, we can see the possibility of artificial intelligence threatening our position of top-dog in the natural order.

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He writes about free will, consciousness, intelligence, and happiness. He focuses on the “cognitive revolution” that occurred 70,000 years ago when Homo sapiens replaced the Neanderthals and developed language skills and structured societies, moving upward as apex predators. The agricultural revolution and scientific method assisted this transition. He also focuses on the consequences of a possible biotechnological world in the future in which intelligent creations are surpassed by their own creations. He believes that Homo sapiens as we know it will disappear in a century or so.

He was born in Israel and grew up in a secular Jewish family,. He practices Vipassana meditation, which he said changed his life. He has published numerous books and articles and now focuses on world history and macro historical processes.

His book, Sapiens is based on 20 lectures of an undergraduate world history class he was teaching. The book was a success and was translated into 45 languages. It looks at human history, from the evolution of Homo sapiens in the Stone Age to the political and technological revolutions of the 21st century.

He won the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in 2009 and 2012. He won the Society for Military History Moncado Award for outstanding articles in military history in 2011. In 2012, he was elected to the Young Israeli Academy of Sciences.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Who is Elon Musk?

Ashlee Vance delves into that complicated question about one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs in his comprehensive biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. The 2015 biography, which was a New York Times bestseller and received critical praise from the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more, includes in-depth interviews with Elon Musk, as well as many notable figures who were close to him throughout his career.

Elon Musk has become one of the globe’s most legendary Silicon Valley technology investors and entrepreneurs. A citizen of the U.S., South Africa, and Canada, Musk is one of the richest people in the world (according to Forbes), as well as the most powerful. After earning degrees in economics and physics from the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Stanford to begin his career as an entrepreneur.

Musk is known for his dedication to sourcing renewable energy and space travel, as well as his passion for digital banking, paperless currencies, and the goal of colonizing other planets. He is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, the co-founder of PayPal, founder of the Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink, and the co-founder and chairman of OpenAI.

Some of Vance’s key takeaways about Musk, his drive and vision, and how he grew into what he is today include:

-Painful Childhood:

Musk had a difficult childhood in South Africa, as his parents divorced and he was often bullied at school. He buried himself with books and began businesses early to escape from his troubles. He initially went to college in Canada to avoid the military before ultimately landing in the U.S. for the remainder of his career.

-Relentless Work Ethic:

If there’s one thing everyone knows about Elon Musk, it’s that he is a relentlessly hard worker. At one point, he commuted regularly across the country and even the world in a matter of days, every single week, just to be able to juggle all of his projects.

-Opportunistic:

Competition with Peter Theil at X.com, now PayPal, led Musk to be ousted from the company. However, its sale for $250,000,0000 set him up for later success. He was undaunted by any of his professional rivals and used every situation to launch his next project.

-Interpersonal Troubles:

Although successful financially and professionally, Musk is known for his deep interpersonal troubles. He had six children with his first wife, Justine Wilson, only to divorce her and remarry the same woman, Talulah Riley, twice (before divorcing her for the second and final time). He is also known for being aggressive with and even psychologically abusive to his employees, especially if they put their personal lives before their jobs.

-No Ambition Too Lofty:

Musk is known for making business promises he doesn’t keep, mostly because he is not afraid to fail. He sets goals almost impossibly high in order to motivate himself to keep going. For example, he promised that one of his companies would launch successfully in just 15 months. It actually took four years, but the excitement of that first goal kept him excited about his

Final Takeaway

Elon Musk’s life is a study in ambition and madness. His goal of sourcing green energy and pushing technology forward by any means necessary is admirable, while his extreme (almost to a fault) work ethic provides an example of what one might need to sacrifice in order to get ahead in a competitive industry.

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

A Higher Loyalty By James Comey

We have probably all seen a mafia movie, or maybe even have played a mafia-style video game. We have probably also all noticed how they bully people to get them to do their bidding, regardless of its legality. According to James Comey, that is the position that James Comey found himself while working for the FBI under Donald Trump. Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty serves two primary purposes. First, it is a memoir of his tenure as FBI director. This role is among the most important in our nation. Second, Comey also wants to warn his readers about the dangers of an unethical president, namely, Donald Trump.

Comey used to be the director of the FBI. He began his career as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York under Rudy Giuliani. He then became the deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. Comey became the director of the FBI under President Barack Obama. Comey was surprised that Obama appointed Comey because he had opposed his presidency, as a Republican. But Comey came to respect Obama as a leader for several reasons, not the least of which is that Obama understood the importance of the place of the FBI in relation to the government.

Initially, when Trump took office, he said that he had the same stance on the independence that the FBI should have from the government. But when Comey began to investigate the allegations of Russia’s interference in his campaign in the 2016 presidential election, Trump took a different tune altogether.

Key Points

  • The FBI must be independent of the government, despite the current president’s perspective.

The purpose of the FBI is to stand for truth and for the rule of law. The problem that arises if the FBI is tied too closely with certain political leaders or political parties is that their vision can become tainted due to the influence of Mafia-like leaders. According to Comey, Trump does not support the independence of the FBI.

  • The truth must be made known, regardless of its effects. Good leaders know and want this compared to bad leaders who do not.

Mafia leaders, political or not, demand allegiance—at all costs. According to Comey, they want a sense of honor that comes unconditionally and without question. This is a misuse of “honor.” Anyone who places themselves above the law is not worthy of such honor. And anyone who is afraid of the truth coming out demonstrates that they are bad leaders.

  • Bullies still exist, and they act how they always have: striking fear in less powerful people because of their own insecurities.

Just the mention of the word “bullies” probably conjures up images of actual bullies we have known in our childhood. Bullies still exist, even in the adult world. According to Comey, Trump is a good example of such a bully. He was an unusual presidential candidate because he came from the corporate world with no prior political experience. One of the larger concerns for people coming from the corporate world that Comey ties to Trump are that he has a higher chance of having psychopathy and antisocial behaviors associated with bullies. This concern is based on studies that examined people from both the general community and the corporate world; the study found that people from the general community are less likely to exhibit these behaviors than people from the corporate world.

  • When leaders begin to tell small lies, it becomes easier to tell bigger lies with major consequences.

Good liars can become leaders, and they surround themselves with good liars who can help their political campaign. History has shown that this happens. For example, the Soviet Union forced millions of people out of their homes, calling it “transfer of population.” This is extreme behavior. Why do people do these sorts of things? The Soviet Union wanted absolute control, just like bullies today.

George Orwell, the author of 1984, described the issue in an essay entitled “Politics and the English Language.” He noted how dishonesty pervaded political discourse, especially with examples like that of the Soviet Union’s “transfer” language.

  • Leaders must be humble, not self-obsessed and hostile to different opinions.

Good leadership is hard to come by because it is very difficult. At times, any choice that is made will have negative consequences. The best leaders are humble people who are faced with such daunting decisions. As President George W. Bush stated, “It’s really important to know what you don’t know and listen to people who do know what you don’t know.”

Arrogance will not be useful in such a context. Although Comey does not list his name in this chapter, it is clear by quotes like “who are real arrogant in office” that there are referential overtones to President Donald Trump.

  • Although Comey admits that reopening the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server just weeks before the election in October 2016 was not the best move, he claims that saying nothing at all would have been worse.

Comey believed that the previous evidence examination of Hillary Clinton’s email server had been biased. The previous analysis was from Loretta Lynch. Comey did not have much of a relationship with Lynch, either before or after him revealing the reopening of the investigation.

He also thought Hillary would win the election regardless of his announcement. But, again, if leaders are truly concerned about truth, then there is nothing to worry about.

Remember, truth matters. People need to know it, and the FBI’s job is to find it. Comey did want to make it seem like the FBI was concealing the truth, regardless of the consequences.

  • Donald Trump does not approve of the independence of the FBI.

According to Comey, when he met with Trump to brief him as president-elect on Russian efforts to undermine democracy in America, Trump asked Comey how they could spin the news to make it look like they were in any way beneficiaries of Russian interference in the election of 2016. Comey had expected Trump to ask what the government could do to protect America’s institutions from future attacks. According to Comey, the job of the FBI is not to spin the news; they are to present the facts, not politicize them.

According to Comey, Donald Trump does not approve of the independence of any intelligence agency. Instead of encouraging appropriate investigations, he has told Comey to “drop” things that Trump did not want to be investigated. That is the kind of behavior that Comey thinks disqualifies Trump from his presidency.

  • Donald Trump is far too self-obsessed and hostile to the opinions of others to be a good leader.

According to Comey, Trump values personal loyalty over truth. Comey is not the only person who has serious concerns about Trump. In fact, psychologist Craig Malkin has argued in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump that Trump may have “pathological narcissism,” a disorder characterized by the need to elevate one’s own ego. What ends up happening is that such an individual feels the need to feel “special,” even in the face of any and all messages to the contrary.

  • Prior to Comey’s firing, Donald Trump was obsessed with allegations concerning his sexual behavior.

According to Comey, Trump was obsessed with allegations relating to his sexual behavior. There is a claim that Trump had an interaction with prostitutes in which they urinated on a bed that President Obama had slept in. Although there is no known proof to support this allegation, Trump has had a history of mixing business and sex shows. One book that documents this is David Corn’s Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.

  • Good leaders have common attributes.

According to Comey, good leaders have common attributes: they take criticism constructively, admit when they’re wrong, keep the long term in mind, have a higher loyalty to principles, and understand that everyone seeks meaning in life. According to Comey, Donald Trump does not have these characteristics in comparison to other politicians with whom Comey has worked.

The Big Take-Away

‘The Higher Loyalty of the FBI ought to be to the truth, despite bullies who try to control them. The truth matters, regardless of its consequences. According to Comey, good leaders understand and appreciate this point, and they demonstrate humility as leaders compared to those who do not.