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What Psychiatrists Say on Italians and Berlusconi

From a CNN article:

Psychiatrist, professor and author Massimo Fagioli says the reason Italians tolerate Berlusconi can be found in history, where absolute rulers who appeared to act above the law are a recurring theme. Berlusconi, he says, is no exception. Fagioli says that Italians’ tolerance of scandalous behavior is not just fascinating, but scary. He describes it as a “mental coma” with no clear cut explanation.

The Theory of Management Relativity in Consulting Organizations

A few months ago I’ve finally finished reading the world-famous seminal book from Albert Einstheen, “A Theory of Management Relativity in Consulting Organizations” (ISBN: 978-0595349074). When it was published back in 1905, this book rocked the world of management due to its theories that appeared to defy the classical theories of management that had been established centuries earlier by Sir T.I. Newthoon.

In this post I will attempt to give you a concise overview of Einstheen’s theories. Be warned, however, that the book is meant for employees of consulting organizations only; employees of other types of organizations might find most of Einstheen’s theories obscure and far from their reality.

Albert Einstheen was a humble German working as a junior consultant for a consulting company in Zurich. There, he started noticing an interesting phenomenon whose analysis would later give him worldwide fame. He noticed that during most pre-sales calls and meetings, his managers would depict him as an expert of almost anything the client was in need of, despite his absolute lack of knowledge on the subject matter.

It took Einstheen a few years before he was able to frame his observations in the first incarnation of his theory, the Special Relativity theory, which he elegantly summarized with this postulate:

When during a job interview an interviewee declares to possess skills that he/she does not possess, the interviewee is lying; when during a sales call a manager boasts company skills that the company does not possess, the manager is doing business.

It didn’t take long for Einstheen to expand his Special Relativity theory into a more general, larger form of relativity that had an enormous impact on the world of management. Einstheen’s General Relativity theory, developed between 1907 and 1915, can be summarized with two postulates. The first postulate is as follows:

When an employee bullshits a manager, the employee is lying; when a manager bullshits an employee, the manager is exercising managerial skills.

The second postulate is an extension of the first postulate to clients:

When a manager bullshits a client, the manager is exercising business skills.

After publication of his General Relativity, Einstheen continued studying the field of fine managerial skills, constantly applying his relativistic lens to daily management functions. During this period he observed that the longer a manager has been in his/her position, the more the manager would be subject to a number of transformations in his/her self-perception. He devised the so-called skills dilation theories with the aid of Lorenzo’s transformations (from Lorenzo Melchiorri, the consultant that originally observed the phenomenon in 1899). Among many others, the following dilations and contractions apply:

\mathit{ts}=\mathit{ts{_{0}}}\: \sqrt[]{1-\frac{\mathit{v^{2}}}{\mathit{c^{2}}}}


In which:
ts is the amount of technical skills possessed by the manager;
pts is the self-perception that the manager has of his/her technical skills;
ts0 is the amount of technical skills possessed by the manager on the day he began a managerial career path;
v is the number of years that the manager has been in a management position;
c is a constant that roughly depends on the consulting company, but which in most cases is distributed between 7 and 12 years of tenure.

The first equation describes the contraction of technical skills. In this equation, the more the years of tenure (v), the larger the reduction in technical skills: more seasoned managers tend to possess less technical skills than junior managers.

Conversely, the second equation describes the dilation of self-perception of technical skills. In this equation, the more the years of tenure (v), the closer the denominator is to zero, and thus the larger the self-perception: more seasoned managers tend to think they possess more technical skills than junior managers think.

Interestly enough, the second equation also explains a phenomenon that has been observed in larger consulting companies. It can be seen from this equation that the self-perception of the manager’s technical skills has a singularity after c number of years: at this moment, the self-perception that the manager has of his/her skills is infinite, to the point that the manager is convinced that he/she is the only manager on Earth with technical skills.

In the last years of his career, Albert Einstheen devised the equation that many believe to be the coronation of his studies, the so-called ego-reports equivalence:


In which:
E is the amount of ego of the manager, measured in number of self-righteous sentences per hour;
m is the number of employees (reports) managed by the manager;
c is the same constant used in the dilation/contraction equations above.

This equation was deemed by many to be extremely elegant and yet so powerful at describing the auras surrounding all managers in consulting companies. A few years before his death, however, Einstheen realized that the equation failed to explain a last phenomenon that was widely known by the community of consultants, but which had proved to escape most of the explanations attempted by scholars in the field. Einstheen’s creative genius succeeded in this task as well, and in 1956 he formulated and published his final contribution to the theory of management; his famous hack to the ego-reports equivalence describes a special case of the classic ego-reports equivalence:

E_{0}=+\infty\left [ \forall t \cong 0 \right ]

In this hack, the amount of ego of a freshly-appointed manager has a singularity in the period immediately precedent and subsequent to the promotion of the employee to manager; for this short period, the ego is in fact infinite, before returning to nominal managerial levels described by the classic ego-reports equivalence.

How Berlusconi is Striving to Make Italy Thrive

Take the most idiot businessman in the world and ask him, “what is the most important success factor for a company to thrive in today’s world”? The answer will unanimously be one – image. Companies today need to cater to the public opinion and build a positive image of themselves and of what they stand for.

Every day, all over the world, Italian entrepreneurs work hard trying to establish and maintain a reputation for Italian products. They are striving to compete in the global market by adding the “Italian touch”, so much valued in foreign markets, to their products. Yet, there is one obstacle that is completely undermining their efforts: the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

Go abroad today, talk with people in Europe, in the U.S., in China or in Australia, and tell them you are Italian. 20 years ago they would have said “Ahhh, Italian, right? Pizza, Spaghetti, Ferrari, Florence, Michelangelo, Beautiful Women”. Today, the answer is “Ahhh, Italian, right? Pizza, Spaghetti, Bunga-Bunga, Sex with Minor Beautiful Women, Idiot Jokes”. Proof below, from the windows of a store in Amsterdam:

Berlusconi's flattering contribution to the image of Italians in the Netherlands

I really don’t get it: is it really possible that this self-purported businessman, who in his own words “built an empire out of hard work and business acumen”, doesn’t understand the impact of his actions to the Italian enterprise?

Citibank’s Customer Service Sucks

Check out this video showing Citibank ordering the arrest of its customers – pay special attention to the woman in business suit being dragged away at the end of the video. Would you like to be treated like that by your bank?

Here‘s the full story.