Scott Harris's Reviews > A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

A First-Rate Madness by S. Nassir Ghaemi
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's review
Dec 19, 2011

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Read in December, 2011

Ghaemi's provocative argument rests in his conclusions that many of history's great leaders have evidence of mental disorders - most notably evidence of bipolar tendencies. Looking at civil war leaders, 20th century presidents, peace activitists and countless others, he attempts to link presentation of the current medical knowledge of such disorders with evidence from their lives. He looks at the families and at their known behaviours to draw his conclusions. The book, however, ends up feeling like playful speculation though as it is based not on a thorough assessment from personal knowledge but rather like piece together pertinent evidence from the pubic record to prop up a theory. A fun read, but best taken with a grain of salt.

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