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The Messenger is The Message

“The Economist” reviewed the book “Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t And Why.” Undergraduates were shown photos of 50 chief executives from the Fortune 1000 list. Half were from the most profitable groups and half from the least profitable. The undergraduates were asked to judge, on looks alone, which executives had qualities such as competence and dominance. Remarkably, the students tended to pick out those executives who led the most successful companies. Research on how boards choose chief executives reveals when choosing between two suitably qualified candidates to take charge of a company that is performing well, a board is likely to pick a leader who does not appear to be egotistic and self-interested. But if the company is in trouble, a narcissist stands a better chance. The book ends with the advantages of AI in being unbiased, but, I wonder, do we possess an innate animal ability to judge at a moment in time,  the one in the pack we should follow?

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