Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Public vs Private Layton,, Jan 10 06
Public Life And Personal Success
January 10, 2006

Canadian Poet, Irving Layton Dies

Last week, Irving Layton died at the age of 93. He was one of Canada's greatest poets. He'd won the Order of Canada and had been nominated for a Nobel Prize.

I liked him in his public role and would agree that he was a great Canadian. But great person, yes and no. He was married five times and, in 1999, his son wrote a highly critical portrait.

Elspeth Cameron also wrote a profile that he didn't like and he sent her five hundred hate letters. (He was already older by then, however, and perhaps this level of crankiness was a hint of the coming deterioration of his mind).

I thought about this because our job is to find people who can be successful in public roles. But that might have little positive relation to their level of private success.

Layton liked women, language and argument and turned these tastes into a great public life. But they could not be fit into a normal personal life.

And, indeed, we might prefer people whose lives are similarly askew. For it's possible that superstar candidates are like autistic savants. They have a some special powers that crowd out everything else.

Canadian Headhunter


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