Common Sense

From Ruling the World to Ruing It

I remember years ago when as I was a reporter covering the insider trading scandals of the 1980s a highly respected trader was dragged out of his office in handcuffs. Everyone saw it. The poor guy was in tears.

He had been on top of the world -- well paid, well quoted and well thought of. And then, oh well. The kicker was he was later vindicated in court, but by then his career was shot.

His was an extreme case but a reminder then, and now, that if you make it big, don't get bigheaded.

I guess with this noggin, I'm the pot calling the kettle black. But look around.

Look at Dick Grasso now. Everyone's looking for his head. But it wasn't that long ago everyone was calling him a hero.

Or Jack Welch, arguably the best CEO this country has ever known, before a messy divorce triggered an even messier fuss over his retirement package.

Or even President Bush. Last year at this time, he could do no wrong. Now to hear once-meek opponents tell it, he can do no right.

These guys have as much in common as I do with Jack La Lanne. Save this, they once ruled the world. Now they might just rue the world.

It might cost Dick Grasso his job. It cost Jack Welch a part of his reputation. And it might very well cost President Bush another term.

Reminders, as if we needed them, that what my Dad told me years ago rings true now:

"Stay humble, Neil. In your case, it will come in handy."

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