Tag: John Kennedy

Obsession with winning has downsides

“While [John] Kennedy deftly separated himself from his father’s politics, he didn’t hesitate to emulate the old man’s rather manic sex life. Joe had spent many nights in Hollywood with Gloria Swanson, perhaps the most popular film actress at the time. Joe took other women to bed whenever it suited him and, one hopes, them. ‘Obsessively focused on winning, on conquest,’ writes Logevall, ‘he always wanted more, more, more—in all areas of life.'”

That last, quoted sentence describes so many “leaders” who are driven by a need to win, and they show up in many walks of life — politics, business, and religion come quickly to mind.

So, there are two warnings in this:

1) If you have these tendencies but do not want to be pulled into a life of destroying others, understand the importance of placing boundaries on yourself, and you had better get some good friends around you who will help hold the boundaries when you push them.

2) If you encounter one of these people, beware. They are very enticing; they can lead you down a bad road very quickly and at the end of that road there is a good chance they will still shine while you are shucked to the side.

(quote is from Michael Kazin, “Ending the Kennedy Romance,” in a review of Fredrik Logevall’s book JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, in the New York Review of Books, May 27, 2021, p. 19, and here.