A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between by S. Nassir Ghaemi

By S. Nassir Ghaemi

An research into the strangely deep correlation among psychological affliction and winning management, as noticeable via a few of history's maximum politicians, generals, and businesspeople.

In A best Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the temper issues software at Tufts collage scientific heart, attracts from the careers and private plights of such remarkable leaders as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, and others from the prior centuries to construct a controversy right now debatable and compelling: the very characteristics that mark people with temper issues- realism, empathy, resilience, and creativity-also make for the simplest leaders in occasions of main issue. by way of combining astute research of the old facts with the newest psychiatric examine, Ghaemi demonstrates how those traits have produced significant management below the hardest circumstances.

Take realism, for example: learn after examine has proven that these discomfort melancholy are higher than "normal" humans at assessing present threats and predicting destiny results. taking a look at Lincoln and Churchill between others, Ghaemi exhibits how depressive realism helped those males take on demanding situations either own and nationwide. Or give some thought to creativity, a top quality psychiatrists have studied generally with regards to bipolar sickness. A fine Madness exhibits how mania encouraged basic Sherman and Ted Turner to layout and execute their so much creative-and successful-strategies.

Ghaemi's thesis is either powerful and expansive; he even explains why eminently sane males like Neville Chamberlain and George W. Bush made such negative leaders. notwithstanding sane individuals are greater shepherds in strong occasions, sanity could be a critical legal responsibility in moments of trouble. a life-time with out the cyclical torment of temper problems, Ghaemi explains, can depart one sick outfitted to undergo dire straits. He additionally clarifies which sorts of insanity-like psychosis-make for despotism and ineptitude, occasionally on a grand scale.

Ghaemi's daring, authoritative research bargains strong new instruments for picking who should still lead us. yet maybe such a lot profoundly, he encourages us to reconsider our view of psychological ailment as a basically destructive phenomenon. As A great Madness makes transparent, the most typical sorts of madness can confer very important advantages on participants and society at large-however excessive the associated fee if you undergo those illnesses.

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Additional info for A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

Sample text

He became attuned to evidence of abnormal mental states among the Civil War 24 MAKE THEM FEAR AND DREAD US : S H ER MA N figures he studied. Besides Lincoln’s melancholy, Fellman discovered depressive tendencies in Robert E. Lee, and outright mental illness in General Sherman. What followed was a biography—researching and reporting facts based on primary sources—that a century after Sher­ man’s own memoir unmasked the whole man: greater than we thought, in part because he was much sicker than we knew.

Or the very same person—a Ted Turner, as we’ll see next—can be a bust in one context, a hit in the other. for leaders in any realm, creativity is not just about solving old problems with new solutions, it’s about finding new problems to solve. Mania enhances both aspects of creativity: the divergence of thought allows one to identify new problems, and the intense energy keeps one going until the problems are solved. We can see these features in bipo­ lar leaders as different from each other as William Tecumseh Sherman and Ted Turner.

CNN lives on, but it is no longer Ted Turner’s CNN. In 1991, on Turner’s personal orders, and despite pleas from the White House, the network refused to remove its reporters from Baghdad when George H. W. Bush bombed the city, thereby showing the American public the truth about what was happening there. A decade later, after Turner’s exit, CNN went meekly along with other networks, “embedding” its reporters for the attack of another George Bush on Iraq, this time pre­ senting only what the military allowed journalists to see.

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