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Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,979 ratings  ·  291 reviews
Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by National Geographic
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Diane S ☔
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fascinating. So little is still understood about the human brain. Taking twelve well known figures from the past, their upbringing, genetic markers and diagnosing them in the present day, the author presents interesting case studies on how these individuals were effected by events and environment. Marilyn Monroe to Dostoevsky, Einstein to Warhol, various addictions or mental afflictions, all well researched, well presented. Shows how different areas in the brain are actually different ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
At times, this book felt more like reading high-brow celebrity gossip than an analysis on mental health issues. That's just one of the many reasons I give it 5 stars.

There's always a risk when it comes to a book like this. Sure, the blurb sounds amazing, but is it going to be dry? Is it really going to be about these compelling public figures, or will that be a diving board to enter into a broader discussion on mental health issues at large? I have no inherent interest in mental health science--
Andy Warhol was almost certainly a hoarder, although he may have been one of history's classiest hoarders. The masses of items that filled all six stories of his home contained fine furniture and a Pablo Picasso painting as well as things he picked up at one of his favorite places, the five-and-dime store. Charles Darwin failed to become a physician like his grandfather, father, and brother because he became so anxious at the sight of blood. Fyodor Dostoevsky was a gambling addict until one day ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I knew the least about Einstein, so his chapter was the most fascinating. The author believes he had autism/asbergers.

I love this quote from a psychiatrist explaining ADHD to his kid patients: "You're really lucky, you've got a Ferrari for a brain, but the problem is you have bicycle brakes."
Book Club Mom
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charles Darwin was a worrier, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a compulsive gambler, and Howard Hughes had OCD. Was Andy Warhol a hoarder or simply a collector? Was Albert Einstein autistic or just focused? And how do these and other personalities compare to the rest of us? You might be surprised at how similar their quirks and problems are to our own personality oddities.

In this excellent collection of mini biographies, Claudia Kalb looks at twelve famous personalities and explains their known or likely b
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was different than what I expected. I originally picked it up thinking it would be filled with quirky stories about weird celebrity idiosyncrasies. It was filled with celebrity stories and stuff, but they were quirky stories. It was combined with defining the disorder or whatever, signs of said disorder, and a small history of how it came to be defined as such. Made me feel like we just have to define everything and not let people just be their odd selves, but whatever. That is a topic for ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
An excellent junior college thesis. A series of very cursory looks at simple, mostly correct DSM diagnoses given retrospectively to famous dead people. This, followed by a superficial explanation of said diagnosis, and some bits about the famous person’s childhood - ALL of which is easily obtainable information. But, see, we didn’t obtain it… Claudia did. So good on Claudia.
And for those who have yet to achieve their DSM diagnosis (believe me, sisters and brothers - one is coming for you) there
Karen Bullock
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
WOW!!! What a phenomenal book!!! I picked this up as an ARC from my local bookstore thinking at first it was a book of mini biographies (this is what happens when you go in for a haul of books & you see a cover that catches your eye)--but for me? It was fantastic find!!!
Absolutely loved the indepth introduction & immediately knew that the new psychology teacher at the high school where I work would love to have this in his class. He has thus repeatedly asked me to "hurry up" because he is really
This book is a fascinating study of 12 prominent historical figures in the context of 12 distinct mental disorders as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV. Each of these celebrities offered amazing contributions to history, as imperfect as they were in certain aspects of the mind, or brain, or personality. As I finished this book, I am compelled to dig deeper into the biographies of each of these personalities and learn more about the intricacies of their behaviors and the ex ...more
Colona Public Library
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, april
This was an interesting book about famous individuals that had common disorders that could be treated today. This book contains stories about Marilyn Monroe (bipolar), Howard Hughes (OCD), Andy Warhol (hoarder), Princess Diana (eating disorder), Charles Darwin (anxiety), George Gershwin (ADHD), Albert Einstein (asperger), and others.

There is a great passage in this book that reads: It turns out that the lives of some of these historical figures intersected in very tangible way. Darwin and Linco
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book to read. I enjoyed how the author intertwined personal information about the individuals in the book with their medical characteristics (proven and unproven). It was well written and engaging. I definitely would recommend this book.
Liz Engstrom
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Totally approachable and interesting -- loved the chapters on various famous people, the interesting insights about these people, their conditions and the history of treatment of different conditions. Most interesting was Kalb's ideas related to over treatment and the question she poses -- what if these people had received "treatment" -- would their impact on society still be felt? Quick read -- would recommend to history buffs, fans of psychology, and anyone interested in some interesting nonfi ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Besides offering insights into famous people's behavior, Kalb gives easily understood insights into psychological diagnoses. I now know what "borderline personality" really means and understand my own ADHD much better. ...more
Mark Hiser
An OK book, though at times I felt like I was alternating between People Magazine and a Psych 101 textbook.
Tom Schulte
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a fun, easy read where each chapter is a famous person that suffered with a mental condition that would have got them diagnosed under some edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Primary Care Version. Marilyn Monroe: crippling, career-limiting identity crisis; Howard Hughes OCD; Andy Warhol hoarder; Diana Princess of Wales was an anorexic, bulimic and sometimes cutter; and Abraham Lincoln a noted depressive. Christine Jorg ...more
Corky Cobon
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Definitely 5 stars!!!

I have to say that I really learned alot about the people that the author chose for her book. Some of the people you may be familiar with(Pricess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, Howard Hughes), some you may not know much about(Charles Darwin, Dostoyevsky, Frank Lloyd Wright, Betty Ford) and some that you may know anything about at all like Christine Jorgensen.

The author takes you on a tour of different mental health issues that affected all of the persons in this book. Weth
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone with an intrest in history and psychology
Shelves: free
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A. S.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities” by Claudia Kalb covers a variety of interesting characters, including Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes, Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Abraham Lincoln among others. It’s centered around an interesting premise—using the celebrity personality’s biographical details to determine what their issues were.

Besides discussing Andy Warhol’s hoarding tendencies—mentioned in the title, the book
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thanks to goodreads and Claudia for a free copy of this book.
Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities is a well written, well researched book by Claudia Kalb, a science journalist. Twelve famous personalities, mostly from the 20th century, are represented in a fascinating and easily readable manner. Each chapter includes a short biography along with a mental illness diagnosis and an in depth look at the mental illness.
While I thoroughly enjoyed all the chapt
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I thought this book was fascinating. Not only do you learn more about these well-known historical figures and the times in which they lived, but you also look at them and their behavior in a completely different way. Einstein was a womanizer who married his first cousin! (Ewww, and ewww.) Andy Warhol was a major hoarder! Howard Hughes....where do I begin; I want to read a biography of him now.
The author quotes Temple Grandin and her thoughts on autism. She makes a great point when she says that
Feb 09, 2016 added it
What a fascinating book!

With so much emphasis being put on mental health issues these days, it's interesting to look at some of history's most well-known -- and influential people -- and find out that they may have had a mental illness. Was Einstein autistic? Did George Gershwin have ADHD? Did Marilyn Monroe have borderline personality disorder? Claudia Kalb delves into their lives and makes a case for them having a mental health condition. She also shares expert opinions on each person.

She als
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
The is one of the most interesting books I have come across in awhile. A nonfiction look into the lives and minds of twelve well known personalities. There is tons of information about mental illness and the effects that had on these historical figures. Of course it is only working theories, but it makes you wonder if what life would have been like (or what the world would have looked liked) if there was more treatment for these faces of the past.
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really fascinating book about famous historical figures and mental illness. There were quite a few tings I didn't know, such as Andy Warhol was a hoarder! I seriously had no idea! I also didn't know George Gershwin died at such a young age, and that many people think he was able to write so much music so quickly was because he had ADHD. The chapters on Betty Ford and Princess Diana were also fascinating. Some of it was a bit too sciency, but overall a great book! ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-deal
I bought this off a #GoodreadsDeal. A bunch of interesting trivia, including a few I had never heard of, and the links to contemporary psychology were pretty timely. The portraits differed greatly in how much I connected with them, and the book was definitely front-loaded with some of the more compelling ones at the start. If you don't like the first few, definitely don't bother with the rest. But overall an enjoyable, quick read. ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I found the biographical information on the twelve famous people she chose to highlight very interesting. However, more interesting were the discussions about current research into the various mental health conditions that each of those people may have experienced.
Kathryn Bergeron
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Summary: Profiles of 12 historical figures and their possible struggles with mental illness.

Why I Read This: It was recommended by my local librarian Lauren.

Review: It was fine. I think that for someone looking to learn about mental illness, this is a good book. It was a little low-level for me because I read all of the books about psychiatry. So I would recommend it, I just didn't love it.
Lynn Pines
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
My four star rating is based solely on my personal taste in that it was not 'un-put-downable'. The book was excellently written and very informative. Happy I read it. The author obviously did an incredible amount of research. ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting book with specific details about the lives (and issues) several famous people dealt with. The lesser known, at least to me, were more interesting; Einstein, Wright, Warhol. Not much new to be learned about Marilyn and Diana. The author has really done her research about her subjects.
Krystle Carpenter
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a nice mix between the stories of the people they were discussing and the mental health aspect of it. It seemed well research and held my interest. And I even learned a few things along the way. Enjoyable interesting read that wasn't too long. ...more
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read that gave me insight into the mental healthy of some very popular people. The book also has several references to Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh natives which gives me a local connection to the personalities being analyzed.
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Play Book Tag: Andy Warhol was a Hoarder by Claudia Kalb 2.5 stars 1 9 Dec 30, 2016 02:39PM  

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Claudia Kalb is the author of Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities (National Geographic, Feb. 2016).

Claudia is an award-winning journalist specializing in medicine, health, and science. A former senior writer for Newsweek, she has written extensively on a wide range of topics, from genetic testing to the science of emotional memory. Her freelance work has a

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