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The Colbert Report—Nassir Ghaemi

Psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi believes that mental illness can foster great leadership, but the Republican presidential candidates are too “normal.” (06:54)

The Colbert Report

Excerpt Quotes

Ghaemi: “Mild manic symptoms through-out ones life psychiatrists call ‘hyperthymic personality’.”

Colbert: “Sounds like a mad scientist.

Ghaemi: “One of the things about mania is that it does cause a person to have many different kinds of thoughts, many of which are creative. Connections happen because the thoughts are fast and in different directions in a way that mentally healthy average people do not have.”

Colbert: “Which of them do you think seems the most—creative?”

Ghaemi: “I have to say, you ask just the right question. That’s what we should be asking about our leaders. Who are creative, resilient, empathic and realistic? These are the four traits of leadership that grow out of mania and depression. And if we ask those questions we’ll get people like that—Colbert interjects, “Who?”—and we should accept them.

Colbert: “No Drama Obama” — “One way to get a better leader in office is to gaslight them and to make them crazy—I mean, the tea party could be therapy.”

Colbert: “You’re born with this—It’s genetic?”

Ghaemi: “Yes”

Colbert: “Perhaps we should have cheek scrapings for these—or a reserve President…”

Ghaemi: “…some abnormality is actually quite good.”


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