I recently listened to the Great Courses series of lectures entitled, Crashes and Crisis: Lessons form a History of Financial Disasters, hosted by Professor Connel Fullenkamp. Although the lecture series focused on economic disasters, I found many leadership lessons embedded in the lecture. In prior podcasts, host Richard Lummis and myself have considered the Dutch Tulip Bubble from the 1630s, the South Sea Bubble of 1720 and the Mississippi Bubble of 1720. Today we conclude with the Panic of 1907 and see how one person’s integrity and leadership can actually work to stop a panic and save a national economy.
While there were obviously many moving parts to stopping the Panic of 1907, with the personal integrity of JP Morgan and his knowledge of the domestic and international financial markets, it is very doubtful the Panic could have been stopped. If the Panic had been allowed to spread unchecked it likely could have brought down the entire US economy. This example shows that the right person, at the right place, at the right time can make all the difference.