Dambisa Moyo is crazy smart. Also, she does everything I want to be doing with my life (except with the former Soviet Union instead of Africa.) Except for blog about Nutella. I one-upped her on that.
So when I found out she was coming to the Hinterland, I took myself on a sushi-lecture girl date.
She was at the Free Library two weeks ago as part of her kick-off book tour for her new book and to do a recap of Dead Aid, the book for which she became controversially successful. Her main thesis is that African countries should be weaned off IMF and World Bank because these banks do more to hurt than to help with regards to foreign aid, and her new book talks about the Apocalypse, I mean the Recession. While the IMF and World Bank are frequently pilloried in international development circles, it’s not something that comes across as much in the mainstream media and I think the fact that she is OMGAfrican and an OMGWoman means that she gets more attention. Maybe.
While I was interested in everything she was saying, what was equally interesting was how confident she was in her assertions although she has been criticized by The Economist as being unoriginal and her prose has been picked apart as “plodding.”
I suck at being confident at work (as do many women, according to tons of studies), so I watched her closely as she spoke.
Is confidence something that comes with having a PhD and working at really classy financial institutions? Is it something that comes from writing a book? From giving a lecture over and over again in front of hundreds of people every time? Where is the line between confidence and hubris? How much work did she have to put into getting to where she was? What did she have to sacrifice? Does she enjoy her success or is she exhausted by it?
If I were confident, I would march up to the microphone at the end of the lecture and ask her at least two of these questions. And then give her my businesscard afterwards. But I am not and I almost had a heart attack even talking to my favorite author, much less an econ PhD because I am so afraid that I’ll look stupid. Whereas Mr. B, with no economics background whatsoever, didn’t hesitate to come up to the mic in front of hundreds of people at Sixth and I last year and ask Nouriel Roubini, one of my other faves, a question.
Confidence. I think I’ll have to steal Mr. B’s while he’s sleeping.