Some people ‘think’ they are popular!

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I stumbled upon a fascinating read called “Why Nerds are Unpopular” by Paul Graham. It dated from 2003 but I feel it is still as relevant today as it ever was.

Basically, it was all about grading yourself in society and being quite candid about where you ranked in the popularity stakes. What the article explores is the inverse correlation between being smart (or being a nerd) and being popular. Being unpopular is not a crime and it doesn’t/shouldn’t affect your daily life, but I was intrigued by this article from a management perspective. Does being a manager or a leader mean you have to popular?
I don’t know about you but I’ve always been under the impression that smart people always get to the top in business. I know this is rather a general statement, but how do you become the “Head of Development” or a CEO or even a Director within business? Surely you have to smart?
And if you’re that smart to get there, then you have to be unpopular, right?

In my own personal experience, most ‘staff’ have a dislike of management, which is akin to saying the management is unpopular. No?
I then found another post on “LessWrong” called “Defecting by Accident“. This post was mainly about defecting according to the Prisoner’s Dilemma – two prisoners are taken for interrogation separately and if either of them confesses they get a reduced sentence whilst the other gets a longer sentence (there’s a bit more to it than that – go on, read it, its a fascinating mind game!).  It explored the idea that smart people who know the game theory could ‘defect by accident’. Not in real dramatic situations but in “casual, everyday situations, where they tweak and upset people around them by accident, due to a lack of reflection of desired outcomes”. I know people like that!
And it also states that “defecting by accident frequently results in losing”. I hope so – that’ll teach them, or will it?

Its a fascinating read….
And to those who read it, I am sure you will be better prepared for any future conversations you might have with these kinds of people, and you might end up being smarter than them as you can spot when they are ‘defecting’! Now wouldn’t that be brilliant.