How America’s Obsessives Built a Nation

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Some of the country’s greatest thinkers had obsessive natures, and many of their greatest achievements—from the Declaration of Independence to the invention of the iPhone—have roots in the disappointments and frustrations of early childhood. Joshua Kendall looks at the arc of American history through the lens of compulsive behavior. In his book the America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy that Built a Nation he presents portraits of American icons such as Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson, condiment kingpin H. J. Heinz, slugger Ted Williams, and Estee Lauder, and looks at how they shaped our culture and country.


Joshua Kendall

Comments [7]

Oscar from NY
Wanted to share with my npressive folks here :)

Aug. 08 2013 09:09 PM
John A

No shortage of material for sure. Perhaps 1/4 of all top performers.

Aug. 08 2013 12:58 PM
mick from Inwood

So "normal" isn't enough you have to be OCPD to make anything of your life?

Aug. 08 2013 12:58 PM
Gary from Port Washington

This is an important topic to address, without the members of our society with OCPD or Asbergers' Syndrome, humanity would never have progressed. Temple Grandin was recently on Travis Smiley on PBS where she pointed out that without people with Asberger's we would be in the Stone Age. Take away Newton, Einstein, Mozart, Bill Gates, Alan Turing we would never have advanced. I fear that we now try to medicate these people or change these people. We should have a holiday to celebrate these people, we depend on them.

Aug. 08 2013 12:57 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Some interesting bits here, but mostly b.s. generalizations from this guy.

Aug. 08 2013 12:52 PM
Nick from UWS

One only has to read the recently released autobiography of Burt Bacharach to understand exactly what this guest is talking about. A more relentless, perfectionistic and sexually driven person would be hard to find.

Aug. 08 2013 12:50 PM
Oscar from NY

I have ecd Excessive compulsion disorder

Aug. 08 2013 12:47 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.