Tony Soprano & how leaders get trapped in bubbles

Beware people telling you what you want to hear, say the MD of Merryck & Co and the former CEO of Amgen.

by Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer

In the fifth season of The Sopranos, HBO’s seminal series about a mobster and his family living in the New Jersey suburbs, there is a scene in which Tony Soprano, the mob boss and central character, is bickering with his wife, Carmela.

They had recently separated and were arguing about some bills, including the cost of a new sound system for the media room in their house. He sarcastically asks whether it’s for her and her “movie connoisseur friends”.

“At least I have friends,” she snaps back. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Tony demands. She tells him that the guys he hangs out with are his flunkies, not his friends, because they’re on his payroll. “You’re the boss. They’re scared of you,” she says, adding that it’s their job to “laugh at your stupid jokes”.

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