So, after finishing The Wisdom of Psychopaths I had to get started on another book, and WOW: A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi was fantastic. It was published in 2011, and you can purchase it on Amazon.
My thoughts? These are the kind of books that help fight against the horrible stigma of mental illness. The author, a practicing psychiatrist, provides an outstanding historical overview of famous and infamous leaders afflicted by a psychiatric disorder. The book is well-written, easy to follow, and doesn't require an extensive background in psychiatry to understand. I am happy more books like this are being written. It is a breath of fresh air to hear someone proclaim that depression and mania have their perks (depression-more empathy and realism and mania- more creativity). I recommend watching Ghaemi's interview on The Colbert Report. Love it! Ghaemi states, "More leaders who are creative, resilient, empathetic, and realistic...." What a beautiful way to demonstrate that some abnormality is a-okay... that abnormality actually improves a leader's ability to handle tough situations. Reminds me of a quote attributed to Nietzeche: "If one is not half mad, how can one give birth to a dancing star?"
This book includes a very extensive bibliography, index, and notes section. You'll have no trouble getting lost in additional reading. Be sure to check out Ghaemi's blog posts on Psychiatric Times. He is very insightful and makes you think. I wonder if he and Daniel Carlat are buddies? How awesome would it be to have coffee with them?!
Official Summary: In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts University Medical Center, draws from the careers and personal plights of such notable leaders as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, and others from the past two centuries to build an argument at once controversial and compelling: the very qualities that mark those with mood disorders- realism, empathy, resilience, and creativity-also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. By combining astute analysis of the historical evidence with the latest psychiatric research, Ghaemi demonstrates how these qualities have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances.
Author Bio: Nassir Ghaemi MD MPH is an academic psychiatrist specializing in mood illnesses, especially bipolar disorder. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he directs the Mood Disorders Program. He is a also a Clinical Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and teaches at the Cambridge Health Alliance.