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Pliny the Younger
(A wealthy lawyer reveals his personality and attitudes, and the way of life in Imperial Rome.)
Many of us are acquainted with, or at least aware of, a certain species of lawyer, politician, or businessman. At first we notice the more grating aspects of his personality. He is near the top of his game, and can barely see beyond his own prosperity. He knows a whole lot of people, many of whom are famous, and somehow he reminds us of this in nearly every conversation. He loves to talk of his success stories, his valuable properties, praise he has received, and difficult decisions or tight places from which he has emerged victorious. He is sensible of the fact that his reputation is what keeps him successful, and he has become entrained on reputation to such an extent that the development of it is unabashedly the single guiding force in his life, the basis upon which he makes all significant choices. Maybe this trait lurks in of all of us to some extent, but what our bold tycoon doesn’t often realize is that so ardently exhibiting a concern for reputation can actually harm your reputation.