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Chutzpah …

is a Yiddish word for outrageous nerve. Wikipedia does pretty well on it, as follows. —- Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts,’ presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to.” In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and grudging admiration.

One humorous example of chutzpah is often given as follows: “A boy is on trial for murdering his parents, and he begs of the judge leniency because he is an orphan.” —-

I thought of the word when I was recently repeatedly contacted via email by a company called RiskWhosWho.com…. They asked me to apply at some length to be considered for their WhosWho directory, provided I agreed to attend their conferences and speak for free at them, and provided I agree to write a paper a year with other WhosWho’s. When I didn’t reply to the email, I got a subsequent email that said:

‘We have written to you *several times* in the recent months asking you to list/ become a member of RWW. Pls take a look at our January 2007 acceptances who are all top-flight executives/ leading academics.’

The *several times* was underlined, to indicate how peeved they were.

Who’s Who companies always seemed to me a sort of scam that feeds on human vanity, and you need them even less now that you can look people up on the internet. But I did look at their January 2007 acceptances, and some of them were indeed as described.

I was curious and so I followed the links on riskwhoswho.com…, which says:

“Dr. Sammy Ho is our CEO. He is currently the Managing Director of Euro Group. Sammy runs the operations of the group as well as specifically covers the finance and technology sector clients in the region. … … Sammy has worked in Hong Kong, England, Japan and Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Process Control from England in 1996.”

What makes Sammy run? It turns out that Euro Group is in the business of headhunting. Call me naive but I think its pretty outrageous.

And Riskwhoswho is not GARP or PRMIA. Though they don’t say so, they are for profit. I believe some former GARP people once tried to run it for profit, but eventually they left and GARP was restructured.

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