In times of great financial success, people confuse capital gains with brains. In times of economic slowdown, people deceive others because they are unable to admit that managers – even those at the top – are vulnerable. They rigidly cling to the illusion that they can singlehandedly change the world. A boom makes average performers look brilliant; a recession can make people who took credit for easy pickings look like fools. No matter what state the economy is in, the secret to success is to appraise reality objectively.