First-Rate Madness Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

ISBN-10: 1594202958
ISBN-13: 9781594202957
Edition: 2011
Authors: Nassir Ghaemi
List price: $27.95 Buy it from $9.81
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Description: An investigation into the surprisingly deep correlation between mental illness and successful leadership, as seen through some of history's greatest politicians, generals, and businesspeople. In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the Mood  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 8/4/2011
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

An investigation into the surprisingly deep correlation between mental illness and successful leadership, as seen through some of history's greatest politicians, generals, and businesspeople. In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts University Medical Center, draws from the careers and personal plights of such notable leaders as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, and others from the past two centuries to build an argument at once controversial and compelling: the very qualities that mark those with mood disorders- realism, empathy, resilience, and creativity-also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. By combining astute analysis of the historical evidence with the latest psychiatric research, Ghaemi demonstrates how these qualities have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances. Take realism, for instance: study after study has shown that those suffering depression are better than "normal" people at assessing current threats and predicting future outcomes. Looking at Lincoln and Churchill among others, Ghaemi shows how depressive realism helped these men tackle challenges both personal and national. Or consider creativity, a quality psychiatrists have studied extensively in relation to bipolar disorder. A First-Rate Madnessshows how mania inspired General Sherman and Ted Turner to design and execute their most creative-and successful-strategies. Ghaemi's thesis is both robust and expansive; he even explains why eminently sane men like Neville Chamberlain and George W. Bush made such poor leaders. Though sane people are better shepherds in good times, sanity can be a severe liability in moments of crisis. A lifetime without the cyclical torment of mood disorders, Ghaemi explains, can leave one ill equipped to endure dire straits. He also clarifies which kinds of insanity-like psychosis-make for despotism and ineptitude, sometimes on a grand scale. Ghaemi's bold, authoritative analysis offers powerful new tools for determining who should lead us. But perhaps most profoundly, he encourages us to rethink our view of mental illness as a purely negative phenomenon. As A First-Rate Madnessmakes clear, the most common types of insanity can confer vital benefits on individuals and society at large-however high the price for those who endure these illnesses.

Introduction: The Inverse Law of Sanity
Creativity
Make Them Fear and Dread Us
Work Like Hell-and Advertise
Realism
Heads I Win, Tails It's Chance
Out of the Wilderness
Both Read the Same Bible
Empathy
Mirror Neuron on the Wall
The Woes of Mahatmas: Gandhi
Psychiatry for the American Soul: King
Resilience
Stronger
A First-Rate Temperament
Sickness in Camelot
Treatment
A Spectacular Psychochemical Success: Kennedy Revisited
Mental Health
Homoclite Leaders: Bush, Blair, Nixon, and Others
Stigma and Politics
Epilogue
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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