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A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

S. Nassir Ghaemi

Top 10 Best Quotes

“In times of crisis, we are better off being led by mentally ill leaders than by mentally normal ones.”

“we sacrifice realism in the interest of happiness.”

“The Jewish philosopher Maimonides once said that if one can only learn to say, “I don’t know,” he will prosper.”

“Is it the same, in short, when we study nature versus when we study human beings who love, and hate, and believe, and doubt?”

“He’s really a great gossip”—“terrifically interested” in hearing what others have to say. Even strangers got presidential attention: Kennedy would reply two hundred times per day to the thousands of daily letters he received.”

“the evidence for at least some bipolar condition seems strong if we apply the four lines of diagnostic evidence, not just symptoms, but also course of illness, family history, and treatment response.”

“the case history of a living person being evaluated by a psychiatrist isn’t fundamentally different from the history of a dead person being studied by a historian.”

“the Nazi leaders were much more normal than otherwise. They most closely resembled American state troopers, a finding that may say much more about the kind of person who seeks power over others than anything specific about Nazi ideology.”

“resilience—“good outcomes in spite of serious threats to adaptation or development.” Resilience isn’t simply something one is born with; it grows out of an interaction between factors that promote it (like hyperthymic personality) and harmful life events—producing a good outcome in the end. In psychology research, two lines of evidence support this notion. First, when people experience harmful events, some are injured psychologically, but others are not. Second, sometimes people even get stronger after such events, a “steeling” effect that protects them against future stresses. Resilience is the mind’s vaccine.”

“resilience emerges from a combination of social support (good friends and family), hardship (bad luck), and certain personality traits (especially hyperthymia). Let’s consider each of these factors. Social”

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