book hack

A First-Rate Madness

S. Nassir Ghaemi

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

A First-Rate Madness shares the stories of how many world leaders prevailed despite mental illness and struggles – through their lessons, we'll learn how to turn our psychological disadvantages into leadership strengths.


A First-Rate Madness

A First-Rate Madness

by S. Nassir Ghaemi


We all know some really brilliant people who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses.

Look throughout history, and you'll see many influential people had similar ailments. Although not all great leaders are depressed, there is some evidence to back up the belief that madness and brilliance are interlinked.

Nassir Ghaemi's A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness gives some strong arguments for this hypothesis, and it's a fascinating start to an important conversation. Mental illness often gets cast in a bad light. Because of this, there is a stigma around it that runs strongly throughout society.

However, by acknowledging the struggles many world leaders had, and the possible benefits that mental health has on society, we can break the stigma.

Favorite quote

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

- S. Nassir Ghaemi

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