Which is probably good for us…
Mr. Gladwell shows skill with the spoken word as well as the written one, when quoted at a conference about the financial crisis, asserting its cause “was not due to incompetence or regulatory failure, but psychological failure â€” the fact that bankers were overconfident.” He call this being “miscalibrated,” an overestimation of one’s ability to predict and control the environment.
Then he dispenses the following medicine in the general direction of doctors:
â€œIncompetence is certainty in the absence of expertise.â€
â€œOverconfidence is certainty in the presence of expertise.â€
As an example, he cited doctors as â€œamong the most spectacularly miscalibrated people on the face of the earth.â€
I will say after attending a medical school graduation last week that if doctors are miscalibrated at least they have two years of real-life training when they graduate (and then move immediately to a residency of three to seven years!). Lawyers can’t say that when foisted upon the legal market…
If I follow Mr. Gladwell’s argument, that means lawyers must learn on the job to move from incompetent to overconfident. Doctors have a bit of a head start.
There is much in the law today that if it’s not overconfidence, it’s a rather strong brand of wishful thinking. This sort of thing about legal spending comes to mind.
We have entered an era where size will be a boon for some, and a real boat anchor for many others.
(Mr. Gladwell writes about how some modern-day Davids prevail against Goliaths in the current New Yorker.)