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Tony Hsieh: Be smart and talented, not egotistical

Posted Jun 11 2010 7:01pm

“What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.”  Pianist Oscar Levant [1906-1972]

This video clip is Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zappos.com, an online shoe and clothing store.

He was interviewed for the net@night show by Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte.

Hsieh (pronounced ’shay’) comments: “There are a lot of smart, talented people out there who are also egotistical. We won’t even hire them.”

Tony Hsieh is author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose .

Audiobook: Delivering Happiness

You can probably easily think of examples of very smart, highly competent people who apparently have personalities with egotism or narcissism.

Steve Jobs has been called arrogant and an egocentric personality, aggressive and mean-spirited.

A judge in 2001 said Bill Gates had a “Napoleonic concept of himself.”

Both of these guys may be hypomanic achievers.

Hypomania can include being “filled with energy… flooded with ideas… driven, restless, and unable to keep still… often works on little sleep… feels brilliant, special, chosen, perhaps even destined to change the world… can be euphoric… becomes easily irritated by minor obstacles… is a risk taker…”

From the book The Hypomanic Edge .

This topic of humility is of interest to me partly because growing up, it was such a forced and enforced “virtue” in my conservative Christian family, and my parents “outlawed” what they considered “talking back” to them or being self-assertive and expressive in many ways.

Probably many introverted, highly sensitive and talented kids have had difficulty with being confident, self-assured and self-directed.

Of course, what we hear about in media and movies is more likely to be examples of talented adults who engage in “diva,” arrogant, egotistical, even destructive behavior.

So it was gratifying to hear about a corporate culture like Zappos with such a list of Family Core Values .

What if BP or some of the many Wall Street firms in the news had that kind of list? Not likely.

~~

> Also see my article Ego and Creativity .

gifted adults, gifted adults and egotism, gifted adult personality, psychology of giftedness, high ability and arrogance


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