Sure, Rajat Gupta's appeal for a new trial is this week. So, he's back in the news. THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE has a major feature which presents little new but which gets read. The article doesn't get past the enigmatic fortress Gupta has build for himself and is able to remain behind a drawbridge that's drawn down and a moat stuffed with alligators. Maybe the media as well as us plain-vanilla gawkers will give up on trying to figure the guy out.
Instead, we might shift perspectives and ask why his story continues to resonate. My hunch is that he mirrors our universal tendency to screw up. Only he had the opportunity to do it on grander, more public scale than most of the rest of us. His downfall, as the cliche goes, is Shakespearean.
However, his seeming weaknesses are all too familiar. For example, his hunger for more (he was only a millionaire longing to be a billionaire) made him vulnerable. Machiavellian Galleon head Raj Rajaratnam moved right in on that.
Between professional identities, after he left McKinsey, he seemed to get lost. For us, that starts right after college and we often get stuck in adolescence. Most of my crimes against myself and society came from that immaturity.
And, he seemed to over-value his education and intelligence As we see with all the unemployed and underemployed lawyers, Ivy credentials and the gray matter are increasingly worthless in an economy which keeps changing. Best-selling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb provides insight on exiting that black hole in "Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder."
We need the Guptas because their reversals, even if temporary, provide the platform for doing autopsies on our own screwups.