Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

https://www.amazon.com/First-Rate-Madness-Uncovering-Between...

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 Program at Tufts Medical Center, offers a myth-shattering exploration of the powerful connections between mental illness and leadership 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 lackluster leadership of exceedingly sane men as Neville Chamberlain, A First-Rate Madness overturns many of our most cherished perceptions about greatness and the mind.




> From the importance of Lincoln's "depressive realism" to the lackluster leadership of exceedingly sane men as Neville Chamberlain

I find these comparisons deeply suspicious. If there indeed were a strong link between leadership ability and mental illness, there cannot be a very big difference between Lincoln and Chamberlain for the reason that both men were surely at the very tails of the relevant distributions. One does not become a British Prime minister by being average. I fully expect the book to be full of cherry-picked data supporting narratives built largely on popular stereotypes about successful and unsuccessful leaders of dubious accuracy.


You can judge the whole book based upon your beliefs or you could read it and learn.


There are many books, but only so many hours in the day. Conveniently there are also many HN readers who have also read the book (presumably, you included) who could tell me if I'm wrong and the book is worth reading. That being said the NYT review (https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/books/a-first-rate-madnes...) does not inspire confidence in me.


Link didn’t work, but seems the book is “A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness“


Thank you. I fixed it, but that is the book.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: