The New York Times bestseller
“A glistening psychological history, faceted largely by the biographies of eight famous leaders . . .” —The Boston Globe
“A provocative thesis . . . Ghaemi’s book deserves high marks for original thinking.” —The Washington Post
“Provocative, fascinating.” —Salon.com
Historians have long puzzled over the apparent mental instability of great and terrible leaders alike: Napoleon, Lincoln, Churchill, Hitler, and others. In A First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center, offers a myth-shattering exploration of the powerful connections between mental illness and leadership and sets forth a controversial, compelling thesis: The very qualities that mark those with mood disorders also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. From the importance of Lincoln's "depressive realism" to the lackluster leadership of exceedingly sane men as Neville Chamberlain, A First-Rate Madness overturns many of our most cherished perceptions about greatness and the mind.