America's Obsessives

America's Obsessives

The Compulsive Energy That Built A Nation

eBook - 2013
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When most of us think of Charles Lindbergh, we picture a mild-mannered, 25-year-old aviator stepping out of The Spirit of St. Louis after completing his solo flight across the Atlantic. What we don't see is the boy who made detailed inventories of his toy soldiers. Sure, Lindbergh invented the pre-flight checklist, but his obsession with order also led him to demand that his wife and German mistresses account for all household expenditures in detailed ledgers. Like many of the icons that Joshua Kendall puts on the couch in his new book, Lindbergh is a uniquely American type-the obsessive. And based on his dogged archival research and extensive interviewing, Kendall also examines the inner lives of six other obsessive-compulsive personalities-Thomas Jefferson, H.J. Heinz, librarian Melvil Dewey, baseball slugger Ted Williams, sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and cosmetics entrepreneur Estée Lauder. America's Obsessives is an anecdote-rich examination of the link between greatness and...
Publisher: 2013
ISBN: 9781455518449
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Apr 14, 2015

America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy that Built a Nation --- by --- Joshua Kendall.
The premise behind this book is elegantly simple: select six significant figures, from various walks of life from America’s past; carefully and selectively extract from the lives of each facts that support the hypothesis that each exhibited, to one degree or another, from obsessive-compulsive behaviour; posit that in each case, their success can be attributed to their “malady”. The six are a diverous lot indeed: they range from Thomas Jefferson to Ted Williams; from Estee Lauder to Charles Lindberg. Kendall’s book exposes aspects of his subjects’ past that many readers will encounter for the first time. His subjects were a disparate lot: most came from dysfunctional families; it’s a given all were over-achievers; many were isolated workaholics; many were psychologically on the run, trying desperately to escape aspects of their past. The book makes for interesting reading indeed: the stories of the lives he has carefully selected are interesting in their own right: to then explain their success in terms of their own, at times painful or self-destructive psychological make-up is, without a doubt, very engaging. “Obsessive” could almost pass for a scholarly work but for Kendall’s frequent lapse of reverting to a more “popular” vocabulary perhaps characteristic of his his primary métier as a journalist. But still, a very interesting work none the less proving that non-fiction can be interesting to read.

Aug 20, 2013

I guess I thought this was going to be a critique, but it was more of a "how to succeed in business" type of thing.


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