An extract below from John Kay’s blog 16.11.11. The comments in red struck a chord (@TimHarford agreed)
“When political leaders imagined they derived authority by divine right, they were tempted to believe that they had all the necessary talents – that they added the wisdom of Socrates and the military prowess of Alexander to the rhetorical skills of Cicero. The principal basis for this belief was the ability to cut off the heads of those who challenged it. The rise of democracy and the rule of law undermined the majesty of the king but there has been a recent revival: not only in politics, but particularly in business, where the cult of the heroic chief executives has gained wide acceptance especially among chief executives.
But the abilities of such figures typically fall far short of those required to exercise all the functions relevant to good decisions. Worse, maintaining that self confidence requires that you surround yourself, not by trusted advisers with a variety of technical skills, but by courtiers who will defer to your exceptional wisdom. You thus shut yourself off from the range of analysis and information which effective decision making requires.”