In short, jerks and narcissists seem to be able to win the sprints of life. But decent, unselfish people seem to win the marathons.
Psychologist Jean Twenge tells me that her studies into narcissism suggest that narcissists are well-equipped to seize leadership roles and attention—but that there’s less evidence than the narcissists would want to believe that their ultimate impact of their efforts is beneficial for themselves or others.
Niceness can have a short-term cost. “Those who score lower on agreeableness do make more money,” Twenge tells me. How much more? She pointed me to a 2011 study, co-authored by Notre Dame professor Timothy Judge, which indicated that disagreeable men make an average of 18 percent, or nearly $10,000, more than the average agreeable guy.
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