Monday, 18 August 2014

A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness by Nassir Ghaemi

“We will see that our greatest crisis leaders toil in sadness when society is happy, seeking help from friends and family and doctors. Sometimes they’re up, sometimes they’re down, but they’re never quite well. Yet when calamity occurs, if they are in a position to act, they can lift up the rest of us; they can give us the courage we may have temporarily lost, the fortitude that steadies us.”

 What makes a great book, well, a fantastic premise helps. Just reading the blurb was enough to capture my interest and certainly Ghaemi puts forward some truly intriguing notions, particularly about the different kinds of leadership and the extreme traits that can benefit or detract from hostile situations.

Discussing the potential mood disorders of historical luminaries and villains makes for a rich field of exploration. My only quibble - and for this I took a point off - was that  I wanted more meat around each example. There didn't seem to be sufficient information to really explore in depth any of the historical figures high-lighted and I felt this could develop into a much more detailed study. It felt a little like, behold a thrilling notion, oops, off to the next one.

I certainly would not hesitate to recommend this as a really interesting read and one that is particularly easy to knock over quickly. It gives a fresh perspective to some historical stalwarts and perhaps explains why so many in politics have a tendency to come across a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

4 out of 5 politicians might have more issues than just policy.

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