Wow! This is truly an interesting thread, with lots of good points from many contributors. I'm particularly drawn with what you've said, Paisley. No matter what field, it seems to me that the people who rise to the top have a tendency to keep up with advances in the field, delegate responsibility, work long hours, and have an affable/approcable demeanor, while still commanding respect. Still, I have to agree that success in many instances it either comes down to who you know, or being in the right place at the right time. Knowing the right person doesn't necessarily mean being in privliged circles, either. It's all about connections and acquaintances. Let's face it. In America, we have this "Horatio Alger" mentality that anyone who works hard can have a modest degree of success. While that spirit persists, the statistical truth is that not everybody can be above average, despite their belief to the contrary. Hard work is a requisite to success, but it isn't sufficient alone, especially in a knowlege economy.