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Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities

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Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking research into biographical narratives that are deeply embedded in our culture. From Marilyn Monroe's borderline personality disorder to Charles Darwin's anxiety, Kalb provides compelling insight into a broad range of maladies, using historical records and interviews with leading mental health experts, biographers, sociologists, and other specialists. Packed with intriguing revelations, this smart narrative brings a new perspective to one of the hottest new topics in today's cultural conversation.


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Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking Was Andy Warhol a hoarder? Did Einstein have autism? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? In this surprising, inventive, and meticulously researched look at the evolution of mental health, acclaimed health and science journalist Claudia Kalb gives readers a glimpse into the lives of high-profile historic figures through the lens of modern psychology, weaving groundbreaking research into biographical narratives that are deeply embedded in our culture. From Marilyn Monroe's borderline personality disorder to Charles Darwin's anxiety, Kalb provides compelling insight into a broad range of maladies, using historical records and interviews with leading mental health experts, biographers, sociologists, and other specialists. Packed with intriguing revelations, this smart narrative brings a new perspective to one of the hottest new topics in today's cultural conversation.

30 review for Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Absolutely fascinating. So little is still understood about the human brain. Taking twelve well known figures from the past, their upbringing, genetic markers and diagnosing them in the present day, the author presents interesting case studies on how these individuals were effected by events and environment. Marilyn Monroe to Dostoevsky, Einstein to Warhol, various addictions or mental afflictions, all well researched, well presented. Shows how different areas in the brain are actually different Absolutely fascinating. So little is still understood about the human brain. Taking twelve well known figures from the past, their upbringing, genetic markers and diagnosing them in the present day, the author presents interesting case studies on how these individuals were effected by events and environment. Marilyn Monroe to Dostoevsky, Einstein to Warhol, various addictions or mental afflictions, all well researched, well presented. Shows how different areas in the brain are actually different or changed by these diseases. How hard they are to diagnose with so many overlapping symptoms. Treatments that have success, treatments in the past that were non existent or just did not work. Mental illness funds are drying up in the present day, diagnoses still carry a terrible stigma. Often diseases are seen as a weakness not a real illness. Temple Grandin relates a very informative warning about the danger of trying to manipulate genetic markers, that we may not like the result. What amazed me after reading this is how successful these people were despite the handicaps they had to live with. Made me admire them even more, feel a great deal of sorrow form what they had to go through. More aware and sympathetic for those who are fighting these battles today. ARC from publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    abby

    At times, this book felt more like reading high-brow celebrity gossip than an analysis on mental health issues. That's just one of the many reasons I give it 5 stars. There's always a risk when it comes to a book like this. Sure, the blurb sounds amazing, but is it going to be dry? Is it really going to be about these compelling public figures, or will that be a diving board to enter into a broader discussion on mental health issues at large? I have no inherent interest in mental health science-- At times, this book felt more like reading high-brow celebrity gossip than an analysis on mental health issues. That's just one of the many reasons I give it 5 stars. There's always a risk when it comes to a book like this. Sure, the blurb sounds amazing, but is it going to be dry? Is it really going to be about these compelling public figures, or will that be a diving board to enter into a broader discussion on mental health issues at large? I have no inherent interest in mental health science-- or science, really-- so I was a bit weary about what direction this book would take. My concern was unfounded. This book is a fascinating look into 12 public figures and the issues that might have plagued them, as well as have inspired their genius. Did Marilyn Monroe have borderline personality disorder? Was Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissist? Some of the author's theories are more supported than others-- Princess Diana admitted on television that she suffered from bulimia, and Betty Ford has been honest about her struggle with addiction. And as for the title question, Warhol died in the possession of 610 time capsules among other "treasures," so it seems a pretty safe bet. Each chapter focuses on one person and their possible disorder, most of the focus staying on the individual and how it shaped his or her life. I did find my attention wavering a bit during chapters about people I hadn't heard of before. Overall, very engaging and interesting non-fiction, and I do feel like I walk away with more knowledge about mental disorders than I started with.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ERIN SCHMIDT

    Andy Warhol was almost certainly a hoarder, although he may have been one of history's classiest hoarders. The masses of items that filled all six stories of his home contained fine furniture and a Pablo Picasso painting as well as things he picked up at one of his favorite places, the five-and-dime store. Charles Darwin failed to become a physician like his grandfather, father, and brother because he became so anxious at the sight of blood. Fyodor Dostoevsky was a gambling addict until one day Andy Warhol was almost certainly a hoarder, although he may have been one of history's classiest hoarders. The masses of items that filled all six stories of his home contained fine furniture and a Pablo Picasso painting as well as things he picked up at one of his favorite places, the five-and-dime store. Charles Darwin failed to become a physician like his grandfather, father, and brother because he became so anxious at the sight of blood. Fyodor Dostoevsky was a gambling addict until one day he had some mysterious epiphany and never had to pawn his clothes for gambling money again. The 12 people Kalb writes about in this compulsively readable work were all outstanding in their fields, with accomplishments that still amaze and delight today. Yet all of them had behaviors that a psychologist versed in the DSM 5 would consider at least problematic, even if they didn't quite meet the criteria for a serious mental health disorder diagnosis. Some of their behaviors are questionable - was Albert Einstein on the autism spectrum, or was he neurologically different in a different way that we don't understand yet? Other subjects were full of insight into their own conditions and likely would have agreed with Kalb's notes - Betty Ford, for one. This is a different kind of celebrity book. Because Kalb is a talented and experienced science writer, she's able to portray the complexities and uncertainties of trying to describe something as complicated as human behavior (especially in retrospect). Non-scientists and scientists alike will be able to appreciate these tales of the delicate interplay between game-changing, world-shaking innovation and pathological behavior.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Interesting book. I knew the least about Einstein, so his chapter was the most fascinating. The author believes he had autism/asbergers. I love this quote from a psychiatrist explaining ADHD to his kid patients: "You're really lucky, you've got a Ferrari for a brain, but the problem is you have bicycle brakes."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Book Club Mom

    Charles Darwin was a worrier, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a compulsive gambler, and Howard Hughes had OCD. Was Andy Warhol a hoarder or simply a collector? Was Albert Einstein autistic or just focused? And how do these and other personalities compare to the rest of us? You might be surprised at how similar their quirks and problems are to our own personality oddities. In this excellent collection of mini biographies, Claudia Kalb looks at twelve famous personalities and explains their known or likely b Charles Darwin was a worrier, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a compulsive gambler, and Howard Hughes had OCD. Was Andy Warhol a hoarder or simply a collector? Was Albert Einstein autistic or just focused? And how do these and other personalities compare to the rest of us? You might be surprised at how similar their quirks and problems are to our own personality oddities. In this excellent collection of mini biographies, Claudia Kalb looks at twelve famous personalities and explains their known or likely battles with mental illness. In her extensive research, she studied medical journals, interviewed mental health professionals, and consulted numerous scientists and academic researchers. In addition to a compassionate explanation of the problems these entertainers, artists, musicians, leaders, writers and groundbreakers suffered, Kalb wonders how many would have fared had they been accurately diagnosed and treated with modern methods. Some would have been better able to battle their conditions, but would others have lost their creative sparks? Here’s a quick summary of the successes these famous people achieved and the problems they faced. Marilyn Monroe was a sex icon, but she likely suffered from borderline personality disorder. An empty and lonely childhood left her feeling abandoned and, while she rose to superstar status, she never overcame these feelings. She sought help, but the treatment at the time did not necessarily help her. Modern therapy for this condition teaches patients how to move forward with their lives. Howard Hughes made his millions in filmmaking and aerospace, but he was an obsessive worrier about germs. As an adult, Hughes became progressively obsessed with the rituals of germ avoidance and also became addicted to painkillers. Hughes would probably have benefited from modern treatment which includes behavioral therapy and mindfulness treatment. Andy Warhol was fascinated with many things and could not throw them out. He believed and lived that more was better. Kalb writes, “Hoarding may provide comfort to those who feel neglected,” but would he have been able to create and become a famous pop artist if he’d received treatment? Princess Diana was always in the public eye and her marriage to Prince Charles was not the fairy tale we thought it would be. She dealt with these pressures in private and developed bulimia nervosa. To her credit, she went public with her battle and helped others by raising awareness about eating disorders. Abraham Lincoln knew he was depressed and sought treatment, but many argue that the 16th President of the United States was a better leader during the Civil War because he was able to realistically view both sides of the battle. Lincoln was also known for his sense of humor. Perhaps he instinctively understood that laughter made him feel better. Christine Jorgensen was born male, but from early on, she knew she was different. In 1950, she went to Sweden, had sex reassessment surgery and came back a woman. Kalb explores the many questions of gender identity and sexual orientation. In this case, Jorgensen took charge of her gender dysphoria and led a happy life. Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous architect, but he may also have had narcissistic personality disorder. He wasn’t much of a family man and was slippery with his facts; instead he focused on his building designs. Perhaps his creative mind would have dulled if he’d been treated. Betty Ford was First Lady to President Gerald Ford, but she was also an alcoholic and addicted to painkillers. She made her battle public, and opened the Betty Ford Center to help others overcome addiction. Just like Princess Diana, telling the world of her struggles led to better understanding and treatment for others. Charles Darwin suffered from anxiety, but he managed to develop the controversial theory of evolution. He had stomachaches, headaches and many other ailments, including panic attacks and was certain he would die of these conditions. Doctors were unable to find a cause. George Gershwin was a prolific composer and he most likely had AD/HD. He ran wild as a boy, but music rescued him. It was his way of finding focus and was also his salvation. Would he have written “Rhapsody in Blue” if he’d been treated? Fyodor Dostoevsky was arrested for political crimes, was subjected to a mock execution and sent to Siberia for four years. He had a tumultuous personal life, was forever in debt and became a compulsive gambler, but he also wrote Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, and The Idiot. Dostoevsky was determined to quit gambling and he did at age 49. Albert Einstein had a larger than normal brain, preferred to be alone and was always disheveled.  He also came up with the theory of relatively. Perhaps he was on the autism spectrum, but could he have envisioned his theories if he’d been treated? The above summaries give you an idea of what these famous people faced, but Kalb goes into greater detail and helps you understand their conditions as they relate to the general population. I recommend Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder to readers who enjoy history, biographies and studies about mental health.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Starbubbles

    This was different than what I expected. I originally picked it up thinking it would be filled with quirky stories about weird celebrity idiosyncrasies. It was filled with celebrity stories and stuff, but they were quirky stories. It was combined with defining the disorder or whatever, signs of said disorder, and a small history of how it came to be defined as such. Made me feel like we just have to define everything and not let people just be their odd selves, but whatever. That is a topic for This was different than what I expected. I originally picked it up thinking it would be filled with quirky stories about weird celebrity idiosyncrasies. It was filled with celebrity stories and stuff, but they were quirky stories. It was combined with defining the disorder or whatever, signs of said disorder, and a small history of how it came to be defined as such. Made me feel like we just have to define everything and not let people just be their odd selves, but whatever. That is a topic for a different time and book. This was really good and informative. It fit its focus well as well. It was also interesting reading something with up to date stats. That normally doesn't happen for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    dianneOnRBG RIPmalaiseBreak

    An excellent junior college thesis. A series of very cursory looks at simple, mostly correct DSM diagnoses given retrospectively to famous dead people. This, followed by a superficial explanation of said diagnosis, and some bits about the famous person’s childhood - ALL of which is easily obtainable information. But, see, we didn’t obtain it… Claudia did. So good on Claudia. And for those who have yet to achieve their DSM diagnosis (believe me, sisters and brothers - one is coming for you) there An excellent junior college thesis. A series of very cursory looks at simple, mostly correct DSM diagnoses given retrospectively to famous dead people. This, followed by a superficial explanation of said diagnosis, and some bits about the famous person’s childhood - ALL of which is easily obtainable information. But, see, we didn’t obtain it… Claudia did. So good on Claudia. And for those who have yet to achieve their DSM diagnosis (believe me, sisters and brothers - one is coming for you) there is still time to bask in the specious belief that you, in this one way, were superior to this amazing person. Feels good in the way that an episode of Jeremy Kyle might. But i did learn about Christine Jorgensen. What courage to be the first truly transgender woman to act on it openly and return to the States as a fabulous blonde; gorgeous, really gorgeous. In November 1952, doctors at Copenhagen University Hospital performed a penectomy. In Jorgensen's words, "My ...operation... was not such a major work of surgery as it may imply." (This last bit is from Wiki, not Claudia).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Bullock

    WOW!!! What a phenomenal book!!! I picked this up as an ARC from my local bookstore thinking at first it was a book of mini biographies (this is what happens when you go in for a haul of books & you see a cover that catches your eye)--but for me? It was fantastic find!!! Absolutely loved the indepth introduction & immediately knew that the new psychology teacher at the high school where I work would love to have this in his class. He has thus repeatedly asked me to "hurry up" because he is really WOW!!! What a phenomenal book!!! I picked this up as an ARC from my local bookstore thinking at first it was a book of mini biographies (this is what happens when you go in for a haul of books & you see a cover that catches your eye)--but for me? It was fantastic find!!! Absolutely loved the indepth introduction & immediately knew that the new psychology teacher at the high school where I work would love to have this in his class. He has thus repeatedly asked me to "hurry up" because he is really interested!!! Thank you Claudia Kalb for writing such an amazing piece!!! Diverse & complex and basically chocked full of the intricacies of the human mind!!! If you love psychology and learning about different mental illnesses? This is a MUST have!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book is a fascinating study of 12 prominent historical figures in the context of 12 distinct mental disorders as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV. Each of these celebrities offered amazing contributions to history, as imperfect as they were in certain aspects of the mind, or brain, or personality. As I finished this book, I am compelled to dig deeper into the biographies of each of these personalities and learn more about the intricacies of their behaviors and the ex This book is a fascinating study of 12 prominent historical figures in the context of 12 distinct mental disorders as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV. Each of these celebrities offered amazing contributions to history, as imperfect as they were in certain aspects of the mind, or brain, or personality. As I finished this book, I am compelled to dig deeper into the biographies of each of these personalities and learn more about the intricacies of their behaviors and the experiences that impacted their lives and lifestyles. I personally prefer to think of mental illness as 'imperfect behavioral health' and I think this book supports my own definition nicely.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Colona Public Library

    This was an interesting book about famous individuals that had common disorders that could be treated today. This book contains stories about Marilyn Monroe (bipolar), Howard Hughes (OCD), Andy Warhol (hoarder), Princess Diana (eating disorder), Charles Darwin (anxiety), George Gershwin (ADHD), Albert Einstein (asperger), and others. There is a great passage in this book that reads: It turns out that the lives of some of these historical figures intersected in very tangible way. Darwin and Linco This was an interesting book about famous individuals that had common disorders that could be treated today. This book contains stories about Marilyn Monroe (bipolar), Howard Hughes (OCD), Andy Warhol (hoarder), Princess Diana (eating disorder), Charles Darwin (anxiety), George Gershwin (ADHD), Albert Einstein (asperger), and others. There is a great passage in this book that reads: It turns out that the lives of some of these historical figures intersected in very tangible way. Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day. Einstein loved reading Dostoevsky. Frank Loyd Wright had dinner with Einstein and designed a house for Marilyn Monroe. Howard Hughes and George Gershwin traveled in the same circles, and both dated Ginger Rogers. Andy Warhol printed silk screens of Einstein, Monroe and Princess Diana.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    This was a very interesting book to read. I enjoyed how the author intertwined personal information about the individuals in the book with their medical characteristics (proven and unproven). It was well written and engaging. I definitely would recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liz Engstrom

    Totally approachable and interesting -- loved the chapters on various famous people, the interesting insights about these people, their conditions and the history of treatment of different conditions. Most interesting was Kalb's ideas related to over treatment and the question she poses -- what if these people had received "treatment" -- would their impact on society still be felt? Quick read -- would recommend to history buffs, fans of psychology, and anyone interested in some interesting nonfi Totally approachable and interesting -- loved the chapters on various famous people, the interesting insights about these people, their conditions and the history of treatment of different conditions. Most interesting was Kalb's ideas related to over treatment and the question she poses -- what if these people had received "treatment" -- would their impact on society still be felt? Quick read -- would recommend to history buffs, fans of psychology, and anyone interested in some interesting nonfiction.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Besides offering insights into famous people's behavior, Kalb gives easily understood insights into psychological diagnoses. I now know what "borderline personality" really means and understand my own ADHD much better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hiser

    An OK book, though at times I felt like I was alternating between People Magazine and a Psych 101 textbook.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    This was a fun, easy read where each chapter is a famous person that suffered with a mental condition that would have got them diagnosed under some edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Primary Care Version. Marilyn Monroe: crippling, career-limiting identity crisis; Howard Hughes OCD; Andy Warhol hoarder; Diana Princess of Wales was an anorexic, bulimic and sometimes cutter; and Abraham Lincoln a noted depressive. Christine Jorg This was a fun, easy read where each chapter is a famous person that suffered with a mental condition that would have got them diagnosed under some edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Primary Care Version. Marilyn Monroe: crippling, career-limiting identity crisis; Howard Hughes OCD; Andy Warhol hoarder; Diana Princess of Wales was an anorexic, bulimic and sometimes cutter; and Abraham Lincoln a noted depressive. Christine Jorgensen was an American trans woman who was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery. "Gender dysphoria" is the label this troubled pioneer gets here. Betty Ford substance abuse and Frank Lloyd Wright a narcissism that caused him to house his customers under expensive leaky roofs and be the basis for Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. Charles Darwin could have been dealing with many things giving him incapacitating panic and the author of The Gambler had a gambling addiction. George Gershwin perhaps wouldn't have given us An American in Paris nor Albert Einstein General Relativity had Adderall and Ritalin been available. At least, that's my opinion after reading this and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. (I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Corky Cobon

    Definitely 5 stars!!! I have to say that I really learned alot about the people that the author chose for her book. Some of the people you may be familiar with(Pricess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, Howard Hughes), some you may not know much about(Charles Darwin, Dostoyevsky, Frank Lloyd Wright, Betty Ford) and some that you may know anything about at all like Christine Jorgensen. The author takes you on a tour of different mental health issues that affected all of the persons in this book. Weth Definitely 5 stars!!! I have to say that I really learned alot about the people that the author chose for her book. Some of the people you may be familiar with(Pricess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, Howard Hughes), some you may not know much about(Charles Darwin, Dostoyevsky, Frank Lloyd Wright, Betty Ford) and some that you may know anything about at all like Christine Jorgensen. The author takes you on a tour of different mental health issues that affected all of the persons in this book. Wether it was addiction(pills and booze for Betty Ford, Gambling for Dostoyevsky), autism and asperger's with Einstein, debilitating OCD with Howard Hughes, or gender dysphoria with Christine Jorgensen, Ms. Kalb did a major service to the mental health community by presenting this as a need for better understanding and research into the varying mental health conditions that expereienced by these historical figures but also by everday people like myself. The author's writing style works very well as she does not "talk" over you. I did not feel that I had to be a neurosurgeon or psychiatrist to be able to understand the different and varied forms of mental conditions. I also did not become bored with this book at all. It was very gripping and compelling. I truly appreciated the time and effort the author took to present these people as people, not some monster or deviant that should have been institutionalized because they were not "normal". I highly recommend this book. It is a very quick read and very thought provoking as well. Maybe, just maybe, this book will inspire someone who could make a major beakthrough in the study of the brain and how it works when it comes to various mental issues. I truly hope so.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. While knowing some on the subjects of this book, and dare I say a little on psychology as a whole, the objective/ speculative viewpoint of 'informal, but informed psychologist' aids to the notion that some of history's most brilliant and notable persons were alas, the most vexed. To see such disorders finally described as they are with only the bias of how the person with the disorder may 'come off as' to others, it was refreshing to he I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. While knowing some on the subjects of this book, and dare I say a little on psychology as a whole, the objective/ speculative viewpoint of 'informal, but informed psychologist' aids to the notion that some of history's most brilliant and notable persons were alas, the most vexed. To see such disorders finally described as they are with only the bias of how the person with the disorder may 'come off as' to others, it was refreshing to hear it told through a more journalistic approach, without being a rigid as say, reading the DSM handbook yourself. As a person with Borderline Personality Disorder (which is vastly left out of most writings as it remains a hellish disorder which "meshes" with others' so often it gets overlooked) it struck me as deeply comforting to hear about Mrs. Monroe having the same affliction. BPD is less favored than the classic Bi-Polar disorder or the notorious Multiple Personality Disorder as depicted in movies, and yet, to hear it told as a 'she was lost to herself, alone and felt alone because she did not know herself' was so kind to hear and again, so welcomed. The torments she too must have endured. I was more than thrilled to read this book every chance I got and I dare say I may have been so engrossed into it at work some had to remind me to, return back and yet I had wished it had continued into so many other historical figures as my curiosity was not only sparked, it was like reading a book about a close friend, intimate, and seemingly no stone un-turned.

  18. 4 out of 5

    A. S.

    “Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities” by Claudia Kalb covers a variety of interesting characters, including Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes, Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Abraham Lincoln among others. It’s centered around an interesting premise—using the celebrity personality’s biographical details to determine what their issues were. Besides discussing Andy Warhol’s hoarding tendencies—mentioned in the title, the book “Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities” by Claudia Kalb covers a variety of interesting characters, including Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes, Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Abraham Lincoln among others. It’s centered around an interesting premise—using the celebrity personality’s biographical details to determine what their issues were. Besides discussing Andy Warhol’s hoarding tendencies—mentioned in the title, the book also explores Howard Hughes’ obsessive compulsive disorder, Princess Diana’s bulimia, Abraham Lincoln’s depression, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s gambling disorder, Albert Einstein’s Asperger’s syndrome, etc. For each personality, Kolb simultaneously provides a biographical sketch of their lives, and emphasizes details which support their “diagnosis.” When picking up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, apart from the unique subject matter, but found the book very readable, mixing celebrity stories with a psychological analysis of their personalities. Overall, I found this to be a great read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    Thanks to goodreads and Claudia for a free copy of this book. Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities is a well written, well researched book by Claudia Kalb, a science journalist. Twelve famous personalities, mostly from the 20th century, are represented in a fascinating and easily readable manner. Each chapter includes a short biography along with a mental illness diagnosis and an in depth look at the mental illness. While I thoroughly enjoyed all the chapt Thanks to goodreads and Claudia for a free copy of this book. Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History's Great Personalities is a well written, well researched book by Claudia Kalb, a science journalist. Twelve famous personalities, mostly from the 20th century, are represented in a fascinating and easily readable manner. Each chapter includes a short biography along with a mental illness diagnosis and an in depth look at the mental illness. While I thoroughly enjoyed all the chapters, my favourite was the one on George Gershwin. I will certainly play and listen to his music with new insights. I've also found Youtube videos of Dr. Richard Kogan, the pianist/psychiatrist referenced in this chapter. I am looking forward to viewing his lectures on how psychological factors influenced certain composers' music. This book is informative, entertaining, inspirational at times and might make you think about these personalities in a whole new light.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I thought this book was fascinating. Not only do you learn more about these well-known historical figures and the times in which they lived, but you also look at them and their behavior in a completely different way. Einstein was a womanizer who married his first cousin! (Ewww, and ewww.) Andy Warhol was a major hoarder! Howard Hughes....where do I begin; I want to read a biography of him now. The author quotes Temple Grandin and her thoughts on autism. She makes a great point when she says that I thought this book was fascinating. Not only do you learn more about these well-known historical figures and the times in which they lived, but you also look at them and their behavior in a completely different way. Einstein was a womanizer who married his first cousin! (Ewww, and ewww.) Andy Warhol was a major hoarder! Howard Hughes....where do I begin; I want to read a biography of him now. The author quotes Temple Grandin and her thoughts on autism. She makes a great point when she says that if we somehow found the cause of/cure for autism and eradicated it, we may end up suppressing some of the great ideas and developments which those "on the spectrum" could contribute to the world. Food for thought. It's interesting to look back and ponder what they might be diagnosed with if they lived today. I would love to read another book by this author with more profiles like this! (Joan Crawford?) Recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    What a fascinating book! With so much emphasis being put on mental health issues these days, it's interesting to look at some of history's most well-known -- and influential people -- and find out that they may have had a mental illness. Was Einstein autistic? Did George Gershwin have ADHD? Did Marilyn Monroe have borderline personality disorder? Claudia Kalb delves into their lives and makes a case for them having a mental health condition. She also shares expert opinions on each person. She als What a fascinating book! With so much emphasis being put on mental health issues these days, it's interesting to look at some of history's most well-known -- and influential people -- and find out that they may have had a mental illness. Was Einstein autistic? Did George Gershwin have ADHD? Did Marilyn Monroe have borderline personality disorder? Claudia Kalb delves into their lives and makes a case for them having a mental health condition. She also shares expert opinions on each person. She also writes about Betty Ford and Princess Diana, pointing out that alcoholism and bulimia are, in fact, mental health issues. So many intriguing questions are posed in the book that you'll want to talk with everyone about it. It opened my eyes to so many new thoughts and ideas. If you'd like to hear Claudia talk about the book, you can go to http://wesb.com/on-demand.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    The is one of the most interesting books I have come across in awhile. A nonfiction look into the lives and minds of twelve well known personalities. There is tons of information about mental illness and the effects that had on these historical figures. Of course it is only working theories, but it makes you wonder if what life would have been like (or what the world would have looked liked) if there was more treatment for these faces of the past.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    This was a really fascinating book about famous historical figures and mental illness. There were quite a few tings I didn't know, such as Andy Warhol was a hoarder! I seriously had no idea! I also didn't know George Gershwin died at such a young age, and that many people think he was able to write so much music so quickly was because he had ADHD. The chapters on Betty Ford and Princess Diana were also fascinating. Some of it was a bit too sciency, but overall a great book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I bought this off a #GoodreadsDeal. A bunch of interesting trivia, including a few I had never heard of, and the links to contemporary psychology were pretty timely. The portraits differed greatly in how much I connected with them, and the book was definitely front-loaded with some of the more compelling ones at the start. If you don't like the first few, definitely don't bother with the rest. But overall an enjoyable, quick read. I bought this off a #GoodreadsDeal. A bunch of interesting trivia, including a few I had never heard of, and the links to contemporary psychology were pretty timely. The portraits differed greatly in how much I connected with them, and the book was definitely front-loaded with some of the more compelling ones at the start. If you don't like the first few, definitely don't bother with the rest. But overall an enjoyable, quick read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I found the biographical information on the twelve famous people she chose to highlight very interesting. However, more interesting were the discussions about current research into the various mental health conditions that each of those people may have experienced.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Bergeron

    Summary: Profiles of 12 historical figures and their possible struggles with mental illness. Why I Read This: It was recommended by my local librarian Lauren. Review: It was fine. I think that for someone looking to learn about mental illness, this is a good book. It was a little low-level for me because I read all of the books about psychiatry. So I would recommend it, I just didn't love it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Pines

    My four star rating is based solely on my personal taste in that it was not 'un-put-downable'. The book was excellently written and very informative. Happy I read it. The author obviously did an incredible amount of research.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Interesting book with specific details about the lives (and issues) several famous people dealt with. The lesser known, at least to me, were more interesting; Einstein, Wright, Warhol. Not much new to be learned about Marilyn and Diana. The author has really done her research about her subjects.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krystle Carpenter

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a nice mix between the stories of the people they were discussing and the mental health aspect of it. It seemed well research and held my interest. And I even learned a few things along the way. Enjoyable interesting read that wasn't too long.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This was a fun read that gave me insight into the mental healthy of some very popular people. The book also has several references to Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh natives which gives me a local connection to the personalities being analyzed.

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