The combustible combination of of charisma and vice
Charismatic people who abused the power of persuasion to drain their victims' bank accounts.
- Bernard Madoff. This former NASDAQ chairman used his veneer of respectability and glamour to build the largest Ponzi scheme in history, ultimately stealing $17 billion from investors, according to Forbes magazine. When the scam collapsed, thousands of people lost their life savings, charitable organizations lost their endowments, and at least two victims committed suicide. In addition, Madoff's son, who is suspected of having had some part in the fraud, also took his own life.
- Christoph Rocancourt. Presenting himself as the "French Rockefeller," Rocancourt persuaded social climbers on both coasts to "invest" with him. Rocancourt walked away with huge sums of money, just for the asking. read more...
Charisma without Conscience: Patient Zero
Gaëtan Dugas was a young, handsome, sexually trigger-happy flight attendant. This combination of virility, mobility, and charm proved a deadly package. Although he’s no longer believed to have introduced HIV to North America, he is thought to have knowingly spread the virus to hundreds of partners during the early years of the AIDS crisis. The CDC linked Dugas to HIV/AIDS cases in 10 cities. read more...
Dirty Dozen Despots
Charismatic leaders who misused their gifts to commit unspeakable acts against other human beings.
- Idi Amin
- Pol Pot
- Mao Tse Tung
- Charles Taylor
- Robert Mugabe
- Vladimir Putin
- Osama bin Ladin
- Nikita Khrushchev
- Muammar Quadafi