Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

America likes the rich.

And I don't just mean the rich like Vladimir Putin.

I mean that more than any other country, we hold up the rich as, well, the true winners.

We're even happy to support vast tax cuts, as long as the rich can have most of the money.

I failed, then, to suppress childish noises emerging from my nose and mouth on learning of two pieces of information on Monday.

I was told that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had become the richest person in modern history, with $150 billion bulging his trousers.

Bursting with admiration, I wanted to give him more money.

We Americans like to worship at the altar of capitalist success, so this was a little like putting money on the collection plate in church.

And this was Amazon Prime Day, the Christmas for those who like to buy things they don't need for less money.

I went to Amazon and searched for the name of a book I wanted to buy.

This is where I learned my second piece of information.

Amazon offered me a picture of a dog. Which was a touch disconcerting, as the book I wanted to buy wasn't about dogs and hadn't been written by one.

It was as if the Amazon website was drunk on Bezos's success.

It oscillated between appearing perfectly cogent and falling down in a heap of incoherence, with only a poodle for company.

The more it failed, the more I found myself snickering.

Here's this vastly wealthy, fearsomely motivated man launching his big day of online gorging and his prime vehicle sputtered like an exhausted Rover. 

Yes, Amazon huffed and puffed with quasi-apologies, but wasn't it a spiritual reminder that all these rich people aren't infallible beings? 

They've achieved success through a random blend of talent and luck -- the vast majority, according to science, being the latter.

Even when they become rich, it's not as if their decision-making is suddenly godlike or their luck always intact.

Yet here we are hanging on their every syllable, frantically ignoring that they might be dullards, scoundrels or even borderline nincompoops. 

We're desperate, you see, to believe that one moment in their presence will allow for at least a speck of their genius to descend upon us and make us up to 0.1 percent as rich as they are.

Are these rich people all so clever and happy? Not at all. 

So why do we want to emulate them? To have the fame, the power and the glory of both -- hang the potential misery? 

Oh, perhaps.

But sometimes, isn't it worth having a small snigger at their weaknesses? 

Just to remind ourselves that we're not so bad and they're not so good. 

Published on: Jul 16, 2018
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