Joseph Adelizzi, Jr.'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
Aug 20, 2012

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Read from August 04 to 18, 2012

While I still agree with the premise of this book, i.e., there is a link between leadership and mental illness - I'm not totally convinced by the evidence presented. I enjoyed the history presented and was facinated by the looks into the lives and mental states of several leaders, however I couldn't shake the feeling that the supporting evidence was so selective as to be pointless - like proving that all geniuses are lefthanded by mentioning only left-handed geniuses. I am also not comfortable that a clearcut bifurcation of "good" vs. "bad" leaders exists to such an extent that that assumed bifurcation can serve as the foundation upon which a scientifically supported thesis can be built.

On a personal note, Ghaemi did have me refocusing on a failed leadership endeavor of my own. The look-back wasn't pleasant, but maybe I could ease my sense of failure by concluding I'm too mentally healthy to be a leader. But isn't rationalization a possible sign of mental illness?

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