Want to get rich? Forget what Hollywood says; acting like a psychopath doesn't pay.

If you want to make it to the top, you've got to embrace your dark side, right? Turns out, maybe not.

If "American Psycho," "House of Cards," and "The Wolf of Wall Street" taught us anything, it's that the key to financial success is a mixture of callousness, manipulation, and a soupçon of narcissism. But while psychopaths make excellent television characters... 

GIF from "House of Cards"/Netflix.


...it turns out that in the real world, they're not as successful as one might think.

A new study of hedge fund managers found that, contrary to popular wisdom, psychopathic tendencies might actually make you suck at your job.

Leanne ten Brinke is a researcher at the University of Colorado and a former forensic psychologist who got interested in psychopaths after a conversation with a colleague. They couldn't agree about what makes someone a successful leader, so they decided to put certain personality traits to the test.

To figure this out, ten Brinke's team scrounged up 101 recorded interviews with hedge fund managers; rated each one with an eye for attributes that approached the "dark triad" of psychopathic, narcissistic, and Machiavellian tendencies; and compared the final results with assessments of each manager's career success.

The conventional thinking might be that more callous risk-takers would be the most successful, right? But the more psychopathic personalities actually ended up generating about 15% less money for their shareholders. And the more psychopath-like the managers got, the worse they did.

While this might go against what Hollywood tells us, these results lined up with previous research ten Brinke and her colleagues did on U.S. senators, which revealed that darker personalities attracted fewer co-sponsors for potential bills.

In general, psychopathic tendencies don't make for good leaders.

"They're not very good team players," said ten Brinke. "They tend to make their subordinates' lives kind of miserable. Which doesn't exactly bring out the best in people." While they can talk the talk, when it comes to actually producing results, things fall apart.

"They look really confident and like they're very capable, but when you actually look at the performance, it tends to be poor," ten Brinke said.

This has implications for anyone looking to promote an employee, elect a leader, or work under a new boss.

Television might make us think that a company's success relies on employing someone like Gordon Gekko, but as ten Brinke noted, "When we have the chance to choose our leaders, we should check our assumptions."

So what did make someone a better leader? There wasn't a single trait, but if you zoom out, ten Brinke said that her previous senator study suggested that good old fashioned virtues like courage, wisdom, and a sense of justice win out.

Score one for the good guys.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."