Economics/Class Relations

The most transformative CEOs of 2022

December 29, 2022
Hello Insiders! Some readers say my questions for you yesterday about immigration hinted at my own opinion on the matter. And I was even accused of bias. Egad!


Well, OK, busted: I do have opinions on many issues! But I don’t feel like a bias led me to them. They are what I’ve decided (for now) after lots of reading, conversation, and thought. Some of the best conversations I’ve had were with people who don’t share my opinion. The same goes for my reading. Lots of editors or writers would use a space like this to argue their opinion — or worse, to drive outrage and readership. That’s not what I want to do.


I’d love for Insider Today to be a resource for you to find our good faith attempts at describing the world and what we think is fascinating. And then, if there’s a contentious topic in the news, I’d like to sometimes ask you where you stand and why. I’m genuinely curious about what you think. I consider this part of the newsletter, and your responses to it, a conversation.

BTW, politics is not the main thing we’ll cover here. We’ll largely focus on business, work, the economy, and the markets — with a heavy sprinkle of travel, culture, and more. I think open dialogue and conversations are the only way we can make this place better than we found it. You in? As always, I can be reached at


— Nicholas Carlson

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The latest
  • Video appears to show Ukrainian suicide drones destroying Russian armored vehicles. Watch it here.
  • A Buffalo woman rescued a disabled man stranded in the blizzard. She found the man crying for help with a tote bag frozen to his hands. Read the full story.
The big story
Mark Wilson/WPA Pool/Paul Hennessy/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/Insider


2022 was the year the Overconfidence Man fell back to earth.


First, a parable about a guy you’ve probably never heard of, and that’s the point. For a fleeting moment last year Ernie Garcia II was approaching Zuckosphere levels of wealth.


The market capitalization of Carvana, the car vending machine Ernie’s son had founded with his backing, had surged to $60 billion. But Ernie seemingly did not believe his own press. He cashed out with his pride and billionaire status intact. Ernie lacked overconfidence — a character trait that could have left him a national laughing stock when Carvana’s stock plunged.


So this is the story of those who didn’t do what Ernie did, Maureen Tkacik writes for Insider. Instead, they chose instead to make total asses of themselves in 2022.


Hopped up on adulation and extolling of once-in-a generation genius, the Overconfidence Man flew too close to the sun this year. And, while in certain ways a male trope, women also joined the overconfidence set.

From Elon Musk to Sam Bankman-Fried, here’s how the Overconfidence Man came crashing down.


Top reads in business

Jason Redmond/Getty Images; Caroline Brehman/Getty Images; Mark Lennihan/AP Images; Alyssa Powell/Insider
  • Retailers are locking up more products — and it’s driving customers away. Shoppers nationwide told Insider they’ve noticed more stores like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens locking up products. The stores say it’s a security measure, but shoppers say it’s led them to abandon certain outlets. More on that here.
  • Americans still haven’t felt the worst of the war on inflation. While the Fed hiked interest rates seven times during 2022, it takes time for Americans to actually feel the impact of those increases — meaning that businesses and consumers could be in for the worst in the new year. Here’s why “2023 is going to be the survival of the fittest.”

Top reads in life

Justin Farris
  • A man spent two years building a treehouse as a retirement project — now he’s listing it for $1.25 million. It comes complete with a heated pool, a swinging bridge, and loads more cool features. Check out photos here.
  • A mom was criticized over a viral TikTok video of a “parenting fail.” In the video — which has more than 15.9 million views — the user said her daughter opened all of the family’s Christmas presents while they slept. Over 45,000 comments responded to the video and left mixed feedback. See what all the commotion was about.
  • Eight sex and love lessons from 2022. Julia Naftulin, who writes Insider’s sex and relationships advice column, says she’s learned a lot from her interviews with experts — from the danger of living for others to the importance of feeling safe for fun, satisfying sex. Get the full list here.

Top reads in news

RASHIDE FRIAS/AFP via Getty Images
  • “Los Chapitos” and the Sinaloa Cartel look to emulate California’s weed business. The sons of “El Chapo” Guzmán want to get a jump on the legalization of marijuana in Mexico. Their dream: a weed business as big and as flashy as the one in LA — and they aren’t about to wait for the law to tell them when they can start. Find out more.
  • Trump told aides to say he’d “make many calls and have many meetings.” Trump gave the instructions after discovering that his schedule was partly public in December 2021, just weeks before he left office. Read the full story.
Letters to the editor
In response to my questions about immigration and the Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place Trump-era immigration policy Title 42, here’s what readers had to say:
  • “U.S. politicians have neglected to bring a positive, productive resolution to what is now a big problem.”
  • “More and more people is not the answer to our financial distress.”
  • “America is an aging society. We are already short of millions of workers for available jobs.”
Watch this
Thousands of bags have piled up at US airports after severe weather caused flight cancellations. Watch here.
Today’s team
This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Jordan Parker Erb, and Nathan Rennolds. Get in touch:
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