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I first heard of Nassir Ghaemi from a lecture on ADHD and Bipolar and then found several friends who recommended this book. It journeys into the lives of key leaders who changed the world, and tells the story which at the time the world was not yet open to hear. With public stigma and misunderstanding, if Kennedy was known to have mental issues and take drugs would the world so widely have accepted him? What about Abraham Lincoln? Why was Hitler so cruel (could drugs have made him worse?)? As a psychiatry resident I work with hundreds of patients who look for hope, meaning in the midst of their mental illness. This book can decrease your stigma of mental illness and also open up your mind to the possibility of mental illness being a positive thing in some situations.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to A First-Rate Madness the most enjoyable?
The thesis is so well developed, the gifts which accompany depression and mania create the best crisis leaders. I feel I better understand leaders like Sherman, FDR, Lincoln, JFK and the business leadership of Ted Turner.
Warning---SPOILER ALERT---Don't look down if you haven't read the book yet.
What did you like best about this story?
The contrast between JFK when he was poorly medicated and well medicated. I've often read about the difference between his early and late presidency in terms of critical decision making, but never with such insight.
I really want to follow up with a book on Churchill.
Which scene was your favorite?
I can't say it was exactly my favorite, but I am glad that I know Hitler was taking intravenous methamphetamine five times a day for the last four years of his life. I feel like I better understand how horrific results follow an evil mind wielding limitless power when it is clinically sick and made even worse through severe drug addiction.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I got choked up at the march on Washington. Looking at the momentous occasion while cognizant of the depression forged empathy of both JFK and Martin Luther King made it all the more moving.
Any additional comments?
I had no idea that JFK nearly died so many times. I liked the comparison of FDR before and after polio.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful