This New York Times bestseller is a myth-shattering exploration of the powerful connections between mental illness and leadership. Historians have long puzzled over the apparent mental instability of great and terrible leaders alike: Napoleon, Lincoln, Churchill, Hitler, and others. In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, director of the Mood Disorders Programme at Tufts Medical Center, offers and sets forth a controversial, compelling thesis: the very qualities that mark those with mood disorders also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. From the importance of Lincoln's "depressive realism" to the lacklustre leadership of exceedingly sane men as Neville Chamberlain, A First-Rate Madness overturns many of our most cherished perceptions about greatness and the mind.
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A most interesting read. I believe the author is on to something quite important. Much work remains to be done to further document and demonstrate the accuracy of the hypothesis but it is a very important and valuable start. If accurate, then the ultimate challenge is whether in today's world, where everyone knows the smallest detail about individuals in the public eye, will it ever be possible to have a leader with an illness due to the stigma. Very troubling consideration and ultimately one of the last areas for discrimination.
Interesting thesis, tedious manuscript
Great ideas, just a boring read after the first few chapters. I just do not see how such a high percentage of readers gives this book five stars.