New York Times Bestseller!

Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities

Why did Andy Warhol fill hundreds of boxes with old postcards, medical bills, and pizza dough? What made Marilyn Monroe overdose on sedatives? Why did Charles Darwin suffer from stomachaches, and Howard Hughes insist on turning doorknobs with Kleenex?

What drives creative genius, intellectual brilliance, and ingenious leadership? And what lies beneath?

These are some of the questions that launched this book: a journey into the wonder and anguish of the mind as told through the lives of 12 celebrated figures who reshaped the world. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity transformed our understanding of time and space. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves. George Gershwin’s “Summertime” intoxicated the soul. Almost all of these characters were enormously accomplished in science, business, politics or the arts—but every one of them also exhibited behaviors associated with a mental health condition like autism, depression, anxiety, addiction, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Their psyches reveal characteristics that many of us will recognize in our spouses, children, friends—even ourselves.

In her meticulously researched book, Claudia delves into historical data, interviews with leading mental health experts, and cutting-edge brain research to illuminate the intricacies of the brain and human behavior. Packed with revelations and vivid storytelling, this narrative provides a new perspective on 12 remarkable individuals. By learning more about them, we discover a greater appreciation for the depths of human experience—and gain a great understanding of ourselves.


Praise for Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder

“With keen insight and a writerly flair, Claudia Kalb, one of the nation's preeminent science journalists, has written a book that is at once profound and a great deal of fun. She takes us on an engrossing and original journey into the minds (and, yes, the madnesses) of some of history's most intriguing figures. Kalb explores nothing less than the mysteries of genius and individuality.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of American Lion

“A brilliant and fascinating journey into the perils that so often accompany genius. Spell-binding.” —Edward Hallowell, M.D., co-author of Driven to Distraction

“With a sharp eye but forgiving, deep-seated sense of humanity, Claudia Kalb takes us into the netherworld where emotions make (and break) extraordinary figures, from Marilyn Monroe to Albert Einstein. Compelling, intriguing, surprising, and fun." —Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon

Andy Warhol is not only a fun and engaging read. It also reminds us of something that can't be said enough: even people of great accomplishment, who are adored and admired by the world, who experience great joy, and who feel immense satisfaction in their contributions to humankind can nevertheless suffer from a devastating mental disorder. With the stigma attached to mental illness still keeping people from seeking help, this is an immensely important message. —Sharon Begley, Senior Science Writer, STAT

“Claudia Kalb uses insights about the great men and women of history to animate today’s most gripping mental health headlines … A wonderful book.” —Robin Marantz Henig, New York Times Magazine contributing writer and President, National Association of Science Writers