Confidence game

So what did cause this whole financial meltdown? Malcolm Gladwell blames overconfidence.

Those who don't like the anecdotal style of Gladwell will probably dismiss the article. And it's true, Gladwell doesn't make much of a case in this relatively short article that overconfidence is definitely at the heart of the financial meltdown. It reads more like a Gladwell hunch, loosely connecting some stories about former Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne with a quick survey of psychological studies on human overconfidence.

But that doesn't mean he isn't a skilled storyteller. Profiling Cayne:

Jimmy Cayne grew up in Chicago, the son of a patent lawyer. He wanted to be a bookie, but he realized that it wasn’t quite respectable enough. He went to Purdue University to study mechanical engineering—and became hooked on bridge. His grades suffered, and he never graduated. He got married in 1956 and was divorced within four years. “At this time, he was one of the best bridge players in Chicago,