Even in a presidential campaign filled with startling soundbites, this one stands out: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” Donald Trump told a group of Iowa supporters.
A recent article in Politico described Trump as the “American Silvio Berlusconi,” the flamboyant and controversial former Italian prime minister who once referred to himself publicly as “the best political leader in Europe and in the world.”
More recent (but clearly in the same spirit) was the eye-opening comment made by infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, best known for raising the price of a drug prescribed to newborn babies and AIDS patients from $13.50 per pill to $750. After a hostile Congressional hearing, he took to an online chat room to boast, “You cannot troll the greatest troll who ever lived.”
Whether you call it guts or hubris, men like Trump, Berlusconi, and Shkreli certainly do not suffer from a lack of confidence. In fact, their striking and sustained overconfidence is the sort of thing that has puzzled research psychologists for decades.