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Genius and Insanity: Do You Need to Be Crazy to Be the Best? | TIME


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Yes. Genius is obsession.

Harvard’s Howard Gardner studied a number of creative geniuses and found that to reach those heights requires enormous sacrifice in other areas of life — what amounted to a Faustian bargain.

Einstein lived in self-imposed isolation, Freud had an ascetic existence and Picasso became a selfish monster.

And Gardner’s study reveals that without these personal sacrifices they would not have been capable of their great achievements.

If hours alone determine genius then it is inevitable that reaching the greatest heights will be indistinguishable from pathological obsession.

Steve Jobs? Brilliant and obsessed.

Via America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy That Built a Nation:

He insisted that the walls all be painted white. “No white was too white for Steve,” stated Coleman. Jobs would also don white gloves to do frequent dust checks. Whenever he spotted a few specks on either a machine or on the floor, which he was determined to keep clean enough to eat off, Coleman had to arrange for an instant scrubbing.

That was in Apple’s factory — not someplace consumers would ever see.

Dying of cancer didn’t make a difference. He demanded the oxygen mask the doctors put on him be redesigned.

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