In the book Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, a character named Doc states, "The things we admire in men, generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system, and those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest are the traits of success." This proclamation is one of the most unfortunate but true things about our society. Success is commonly defined as the amount of wealth one can amass. The easiest way to acquire wealth is to keep to yourself, trust no one, and hoard your dividends. Those deemed most successful therefore are most likely those who have gained their status by less then kind means.
One example of this can be found in the same book, Cannery Row. The characters known as the Palace Flophouse Gang are a group of honest men. They are generous, as they share everything with each other.
They all can get jobs whenever they want, and have a reputation for keeping them. Mack, the leader, is understanding. The entire Flophouse Gang is a bunch of middle aged men living together, without jobs. They are considered as far from successful as anyone can be.
Another example of this can be found if one explores the politics of the early 1900s. Early corporate bosses hoarded wealth, ignored unsafe work conditions, and only cared about themselves. By doing this, they were able to amass huge quantities of money and property. They were considered the most successful people of their time. People like John Rockefeller were able to obtain sole ownership of several companies that he was then able to merge together into one massive corporation. He hoarded wealth, kept ownership to himself, and was looked upon as successful.
Another example of this idea can be found in the...