Bill Clinton’s Key to Success

Quoted from Richard Brookhiser’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, about Aaron Burr, the vice-president who killed him:

“…an old man who had met Burr when he was young was asked about Burr’s rare attraction, and said it came from his ‘manner of listening’. ‘He seemed…to find so much more in your words than you had intended; no flattery was more subtle.’

Listening is a virtue of the judicious and compassionate. But narcissists (also) do it surpassingly well. We associate Narcissus with beauty and self-regard, but the key to his myth is that it is about surfaces. Narcissus was captured by his reflection because that was all he had. Narcissists must live through their interactions, because there is no one home. Burr’s charm, attentiveness, and promiscuity: his ability to get schemes going, and his failure to follow them through; his lack of principle—all flow from his character. He was like a new refrigerator—bright, cold and empty.

Brookhiser wrapped up one man in a paragraph, and we’ll wrap up another.

vassarbushmills
Citizen With Bark On