After only 10 hours of deliberation, a jury convicted former SAC Capital Advisors Manager Michael Steinberg of what essentially represented insider trading. As they walked into the court room, even before they made their decision known, Steinberg fainted. When sentenced, Steinberg could face up to 25 years in prison. So much for the American Dream of putting together succcess through whatever. Here is the coverage in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL by Christopher Matthews (sub. req.)
The man who could go down in history as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of all time Pope Francis warned against judging. As he noted, who is he, a flawed human being, to judge. The jury made a judgment of Steinberg's actions. There's no need for us to pile on to that. However, we can judge, perhaps harshly, any compulsion we may have to do whatever it takes to achieve the American Dream of successs. It is turning into a nightmare for so many strivers, like Steinberg. Next month his former SAC colleague Mathew Martoma also goes on trial.
Unfortunately, for the most naive among us, such as kids from the mean streets of decaying urban areas, the success ethos is drummed into us early. The first day of my freshman year at Snyder Public High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, the homeroom teacher told us what was expected. It was success. Homeroom 217 would produce the leaders such as president of the student body. I was 14.
Now I am 68. Since there will always be those much more successful than we are, those of us who remain naive remain tormented that we didn't make it - and could have. Today we might have become a bit less naive. We are able to finally ask: Does success entail risking going to the slammer for a long time? Maybe that's a price we shouldn't be willing to pay.
Should our resolutions for 2014 include being more sophisticated about the cost of success. I may transcend that ethos and become content, finally, to be able to delight my clients, pay my bills, and have some left over to sock away for a cheap cottage getaway in Rhode Island. Funny, though, there will always be books like "The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds" by Maneet Ahuja. They make chasing success seem not only lucrative but also extreme fun.