Achievers in a “daddy hole”

A majority of the 500 most influential people in history came from a dysfunctional home.

Michael Clarkson is the author of five books on psychology and writes for the Toronto Star. He says the most powerful person in history may be the absent father.

Clarkson’s research shows that more than 300 major historical figures were orphans or rejected by their parents, including Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev, Gamal Nasser, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, Queen Victoria, Golda Meier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the “father” of the United States, George Washington. Some 40 per cent of U.S. presidents lost a parent when they were young, four times the national average.

Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, Justin A. FrankParanoid Megalomaniac
Dr. Justin Frank, a prominent Washington psychoanalyst and author of Bush on the Couch, the younger Bush is a “paranoid megalomaniac,” partly because his father was emotionally and physically absent during his childhood, which “triggered feelings of both adoration and revenge in George W.”

Professor Robert Albert of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who studies high achievers, says “People go into politics, especially, to overcome loneliness and early deprivation of love.”