Genius and Heroin: Creativity and Reckless Abandon Through
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Genius and Heroin: Creativity and Reckless Abandon Through

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  23 reviews
What is the price of brilliance?

Why are so many creative geniuses also ruinously self-destructive? From Caravaggio to Jackson Pollack, from Arthur Rimbaud to Jack Kerouac, from Charlie Parker to Janis Joplin, to Kurt Cobain, and on and on, authors and artists throughout history have binged, pill-popped, injected, or poisoned themselves for their art. Fully illustrated and...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2008)
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Jen Estrella
Sooo. The book does what it promises. Sorta.

One might assume by just looking at the main title that the book is about specifically heroin addicts. Famous heroin addicts. Genius heroin addicts. But in fact if you read the fine print you'll discover that it's more of a vice thing. Less specific. Any vice/addiction/obsession will do. Obviously the point is to point out a potential connection between artistic genius and peculiaritiesc-whether it be drug addiction, obsession, eccentricities, etc. whi...more
The whole book is like an encyclopedia of famous people who died, most of them "geniuses." How nice, and it's educational--I learned that D.H. Lawrence is not T.E. Lawrence (both included)--but I guess that's not educational, just my mistake.

Anyway, the book says its about drugs or sexual obsessions that lead to death, but the book quickly expands out to people who were just obsessed with working a lot or obsessed with somebody and eventually died, sometimes because of their obsessions, and som...more
The problem with reserving books from the library sight unseen is that they're not always what you expect. I was expecting more of a general look at the all-too-often self-destructive nature of genius.

Instead, this was a collection of short blurbs on people of varying degrees of fame, artistic success, and creative bent, with particular focus on how they died. While interesting, it strayed rather far from the implications of the title (not all of the people listed died from any particular action...more
Anthony Crutcher
This book is a fact filled mini biography of many famous people and there self destructive habits and deaths. I had never read a book like this one and actually enjoyed it very much. it was fascinating to read all these incredible stories of real life people. It cleared a lot of the untrue stories involving many famous deaths. As a writer this novel showed me that having all the facts is very crucial to an interesting story. I also learned that getting an idea across through a theme can be done...more
its a a bathroom book, or train/bus
Bound Oct. 23, 2008 - Miami Sun Post

What Befalls a Legend Most?

The Addictions, Afflictions and Predilections of Some of History’s Greats

By John Hood

It’s generally believed that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. But isn’t there a time when that which does kill us makes us stronger, too? When the bad we do to ourselves makes us better at what we do? I mean, specifically, drink and drugs, and the sometimes fatal amounts of both that certain creati...more
This is a very well-researched encyclopedia of famous people (actors, authors, artists, musicians, statesmen, etc) who have been addicted to something throughout their lives. The addiction may be drugs, alcohol, notoriety, food, etc.

It seems that genius does seem to evoke an addictive personality. From Art Acord to Stefan Zweig, the sense of yearning for perfection from the individuals written about here is almost tangible.

The book is definitely informative and an interesting read. Unfortunately...more
Jun 01, 2010 Brittanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of history, macabre, death
Like Largo's two other "encyclopaedias", this chronicles death of many celebrities both well known and since forgotten. This book focuses on those acclaimed for genius in many different fields and their subsequent addictions, peculiarities, and eventual death, usually bizarre and/or self-inflicted.
This book is great for those interested in the history of people and the macabre, both of which I find truly fascinating.
Wasn't what I expected. I thought there would be more input about people who died while on drugs, not so much people who just in their past used them. Plus, it was all about the people, and not necessarily the drugs themselves; I thought those would have individial entries as well. It was a quick read though because I skimmed through a lot of what I didn't particularly care for.
Margaret Heller
An encyclopedia of how creative geniuses (or at least very well known people) have died from their self-destructive tendencies and addictions. The question throughout is to what extent addiction and mental illness informed art or whether creating art makes one more likely to be self-destructive. I read cover to cover and really enjoyed.
A cultural study on people who's basic instinct of self-preservation became secondary to the desire to produce original works.

"Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an after-life." - Arianna Sstassinopoulous
Michael T. McComb
This book is a reminder of the price that comes with certain levels of creativity. A lot of the people in this book were very influential people that lost their battle to depression and/or alcoholism/drug addiction. It was an eye opener.
Jenny Carroll
Though not my favorite of Michael Largo's (the best is by far "Final Exits") it was interesting.
I did not think that his thought process was completely organize when he started. In my opinion his writing seemed unorganized.
Its like the anti-chicken soup for the soul. Dark and informative if you enjoy random facts, specifically about dangerously gluttonous life styles. I enjoyed it. Kind of the TMZ of the deceased.
Mar 21, 2009 Autumn is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
i read through it first, starting only with the names i knew. now, i'm going through it again, reading all the names i don't. loving every minute of it.
Sarah Schaelchlin
Interesting from start to finish. Every section was different from the rest in some way. Disturbing, kinky, informative, and erotic.
Armand D'Isselt
Eh. Unremarkable. Predictably rehashed tales of self-destructive artistic geniuses. Good laundromat or taking-a-dump reading.
Excellent. A must read for anyone interested in creativity, artists, and the fine line between genius and madness.
Really fun night-table reading. If you enjoyed "The Book of Lists," you'll enjoy this. Lurid and informative!
Fun coverage of various artists through the ages that have been eccentric to the point of self destruction.
Kt Leung
I read this during sandy and subsequently came to terms with my mediocrity
Dec 02, 2009 Stefanielorene is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Really liking this so far, super interesting and well written.
I just love this book. I've always been intrigued as to how someone with a raging addiction can still output an impressive body of work/get up in the morning at all. The book writes really interesting little tid-bits and anecdotal stories about an enormous amount of artists, what they contributed and how they fell apart in the end (it wasn't from too much orange juice and bracing jogs across the moors). It doesn't purport to dissect the creative mind but it does set out to entertain - which it d...more
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Michael Largo is an expert on the anomalous ways of American dying. He is the author of The Portable Obituary (a Bram Stoker Award Finalist), Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction), and three novels. He was the former editor of New York Poetry and the researcher/archivist for the film company Allied Artists....more
More about Michael Largo...
Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die The Portable Obituary: How the Famous, Rich, and Powerful Really Died God's Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man's Eternal Search for the Divine The Big, Bad Book of Botany: The World's Most Fascinating Flora Welcome to Miami

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