Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Medical book: "Some entrepreneurs just can't help being a**holes"

There's a new book out called The Hypomanic Edge, by John Gartner, a professor at John Hopkins Medical School, which is positing a pretty interesting theory: that most entrepreneurs and most self-proclaimed religious prophets actually share the same personalities, and maybe even the same genetic structure. And this is both good and bad, according to him:

GOOD: Both have grandiose visions and high energy; both are risk-taking and impulsive; both tend to get manic about their single-mindedness, and are able to convince others to share their vision. (And I love this quote from the author: "Hypomanics don't think outside the box, because they don't even see the box.")

BAD: Both tend not to listen to others' suggestions; both are impatient with other people; both are prone to making disparaging remarks about others without realizing that those remarks will hurt people's feelings. (In other words, their brains are hard-wired to be a**holes.)

The book also gives some tips for hypomanics on how to better do their managerial jobs within such an entrepreneurial environment, like listening to others, deliberately slowing down the decision-making process, and not assuming your company will be an instant success. Anyway, it sounds like a really intriguing read, especially to such admittedly borderline-hypomanics like myself; I'm going to check it out in more detail the next time I'm at the bookstore. (Thanks to Fortune Small Business for pointing this out.)