This is my favorite new example of neuro pseudoscience. Barry Gibbons, the former CEO of Burger King, claims to have discovered the "W gene," a stretch of DNA which makes men successful, if properly harnessed. He promises to help you get the most out of your W gene if you buy his new book.


In a press release which claims that Gibbons has "shocked the scientific community," we learn more about this amazing discovery:

Without a microscope, any scientific training and through experiments on only one animal – himself – Gibbons has managed to isolate the elusive W Gene*. Unharnessed, this rogue gene, found mainly in the human male, can cause disastrous life consequences but, claims Gibbons, it has astonishing potential when brought under control.

"It triggers a strange behavioural pattern in those who possess it," says Gibbons. "When things are going well, when recent life has been a sequence of climbing small ladders, this demographic, for no apparent reason, does (or says) something which provides a snake to slide down. But the W Gene might be controlled, and even harnessed, with positive results. Under certain circumstances the W Gene might prove to be an ally."

It is estimated that only a small proportion of the population carries this gene, though incidence of W-Gene affected people seems to be particularly high in the north of England (Gibbons himself hails from Manchester), among football managers and in all strands of the media. Diagnosis can take years but signs include:

- An uncanny ability to mess up one's life, particularly when it's going well; the W Gene seems to switch on when things get 'boring';

- A heightened ability to say the wrong thing to the wrong person at precisely the wrong time;

-Possession of a finely tuned bullshit detector;

-An unwillingness to suffer fools at all;

-A mischievous sense of fun and dry wit, neither of which is tuned to appropriateness of situation;

- A highly developed sense of right and wrong and an unwillingness to pursue any other course, regardless of consequences.

Once Gibbons discovered this genetic quirk it became clear that it was behind both his career accomplishments and his continuing successful battle against bowel cancer. More detail on this potentially world-changing discovery can be found in Gibbons' new book.

Ummmmm yeah. Sounds real.

I love the idea of a gene that's just for men, that "switches on" when things get boring. Also, you'll note that there is no discussion of the scientific method Gibbons used to discover this gene — which seems to undermine his point about his genetic predisposition to sensing bullshit.


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