Quotation of the Week: Doug Suttles, COO of BP

Nothing has gone wrong or unanticipated.  We did believe we did pump some mud down the well bore. We obviously pumped a lot of mud out the riser.    –Doug Suttles, to reporters on the status of the the current attempt to stop the oil gushing out of the well.  See the Washington Post, Estimates of oil leak gush past twice the previous levels; drill permits yankedI’ve seen two interviews of Suttles on the News Hour.  Three things are obvious.  He’s very, no, exceptionally smart.  And, he’s also a very powerful guy.  Furthermore, he’s very laid back, displaying little emotion.As a result of those obvious conclusions, it’s absolutely impossible to tell whether he’s giving you the straight skinny or not.  The research is very useful when it comes to power and intelligence.  These people are better liars than the rest of us.  In a blog from April of these, Powerful people are better liars, I summarized the research.  Dana Carney of Columbia University found that when people have more power, they’re more comfortable with themselves and also more comfortable lying.  As a result it’s more difficult to assess their input.In still another blog on deception and bullshitting, I alluded to Paul Ekman’s research that found that most of us are terrible at identifying liars and lying.  My blog, Reflections on knowing when someone is Bsing, reveals that most of us are no better at detection than the flip of a coin.  Most liars can fool most of the people most of the time.Is Suttles telling the truth?  The only intelligent judgment is that we’re all clueless.
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