On the 14th of February 2023, Forbes Magazine had an article titled: America’s Best Banks. An entity by the name of Silicon Valley Bank was ranked number 20 and has been on the list for 5 years in a row.

The above picture is a tweet they posted as proof of their delight to be on the list.

Founded in 1983, Silicon Valley Bank or fondly known as SVB was the 16th largest bank in the USA and had over $209 billion in assets.

In a few short weeks after the 14th of February 2023 announcement by Forbes, the bank went up in flames, figuratively, it was declared bankrupt.

The bank went from being on the top list to being out of the list in a few weeks.

As a result, I have trouble taking the whole idea of rankings and lists seriously.

The top this or that, the top richest, the top entrepreneur in this or that, the top this under this. The top bestseller books.

Lists can be influenced by various factors, including personal biases, marketing campaigns, and paid promotions. However, lists can also serve as helpful guides or reference points for individuals seeking information about a particular subject.

It’s important to take a critical approach when considering any list and to understand the methodology behind it.

For example, Forbes’ ranking of America’s Best Banks likely considers various financial metrics such as assets, revenue, and profitability.

However, other critical factors such as customer satisfaction or ethical practices may not be included in the ranking.

Lists are subjective and can be manipulated or gamed.

What does a writer do if he wants his book to be a bestseller?

He takes R5,000 and gives it to his family and friends to buy his book at the local bookstore. Soon, his book has the highest sales of any book there, propelling it to the top of the bestseller list.

If the book has sold enough copies to earn the bestseller title according to the specific criteria outlined by the publisher or retailer, then it can be considered a bestseller.

However, if the sales were artificially inflated through paid purchases or other means, then the label of “bestseller” may not accurately reflect the book’s true popularity or merit.

Before the 2008 financial crisis, the major rating agencies [Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings] rated the USA’s creditworthiness very highly, giving it their top AAA rating.

They also gave similarly high ratings to the mortgage-backed securities that were at the heart of the crisis, which turned out to be much riskier than originally believed.

The high ratings gave investors a false sense of security and helped fuel the subprime mortgage market, which ultimately collapsed and triggered the global financial crisis.

When starting a business, it’s important to look at the market and the competition, but it’s also important to think about your own interests, skills, values and what makes you unique. If you start a business just because it’s popular or trendy, or ranking high on the popularity lists, you might not be happy and successful in the long run.

In the same way, when it comes to dating or relationships, it’s important to find someone who shares your values and interests instead of just going after someone because they are popular or desirable to others.

And when it comes to books or other products, it’s important to do your own research and read reviews from reputable sources to find out if it’s right for you, instead of just buying it because everyone else is into it.

It’s important to take ratings, popularity and lists [the top this or that] with a healthy dose of salt and not rely solely on them when making important decisions.

Do your own research, consider multiple factors [not popularity], use your own judgment, seek advice from trusted sources and if possible test the product or service.

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