Why did Bernard Madoff fool so many people and organizations? This was a big Ponzi scheme. Although few of us have heard of Europeans enveloped in the financial disaster, Gladwell points out that there were plenty. That is why this was a scheme of great magnitude.
The author suggests the reason for the widespread failure to recognize the fraud was people’s tendency to “…default to truth.” If we didn’t when we had a modicum of suspicion life generally could be much more trying. In fact a whistle blower to the fraud had general problems with trusting others. He was armed to the teeth in fear. Perhaps the old saw about moderation may pertain here to beat the demon. Perhaps there is a happy medium to get that right but Gladwell never went so far as to suggest that.
The author also addresses some western leaders’ problem assessing the prospects for peace with Hitler in the 30s. Why was Chamberlain so taken in by Hitler as was a VIP in the Canadian government? “Default to truth.”
Gladwell beautifully weaves various past events that involve critically talking to strangers in addition to these two classic, historical examples. Those stories like the entire book are clearly and beautifully written.
To those who love superior, creative non- fiction, this man’s writing is where you will find it in abundance. Do not miss this engaging book.
H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon