Andy WarholWhen I first heard the title of the book Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder : Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities I was intrigued. I wish I could say it drew me in because I am a cultured art lover. But, no. It was more due to the fact that I have -on multiple occasions- looked around my house and asked, “Is this hoarding?”

It was the perfect book for me at the perfect time. Not only did each self-contained chapter work nicely with my catch-as-catch-can reading schedule, but it also  more than satisfactorily answered this question that had been nagging at me recently.

In this book, author Claudia Kalb examines some of the most interesting personalities throughout history with an angle toward how their unique foibles might be regarded today. For example, according to the prevailing cultural thought on mental and emotional development Albert Einstein would be what we call “on the autism spectrum.”

If the musical genius George Gershwin were growing up today, he likely would have been diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. I can’t help but ask: if that happened, would he still have written a composition as wonderful as Rhapsody in Blue?

Charles Darwin was so wracked with anxiety that I think if he could have known the impact his work would have on science and religion today, he might have reconsidered publishing it. Today’s 24 hour news pundits would have terrified him.

Not so Frank Lloyd Wright. The famous architect had such grand ideas about himself and his work that he was said to be out of touch with reality and often flouted laws of physics (a rather important thing for an architect to consider!) Kalb qualifies him as a candidate for Narcissistic Personality Disorder if there ever was one.

Abraham Lincoln suffered from bouts of depression. If he had access to the same kind of antidepressants that we have today, would he have taken them and if so, would he have been remembered as the same great president?

Marilyn Monroe. Princess Diana. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Christine Jorgensen. Howard Hughes. Betty Ford. All famous and influential in their own time, their own ways and probably lived with conditions defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Commonly referred to as the DSM, it is the go-to reference book used by mental health professionals in identifying and diagnosing mental disorders. First published in 1952, it did not even exist when many of these personalities arrived on the scene.

If you would like to read more about these fascinating people and their interesting ways, check out The book Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder : Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities by Claudia Kalb.

Oh, and in case you are wondering: I decided that I am not a hoarder. I just happen to be in the season of life where I share a household with some enthusiastic young collectors of “treasures.” I suppose I will have to find another excuse if the house is still a disaster when the kids move out!



No, it’s not a neat hybrid of Hoarders and Extreme Couponing, but merely an impression after viewing a piece of an episode of the latter.

Widely-renowned and nationally-syndicated consumer savings columnist Jill Cataldo broke apart a recent episode of the TLC hit with Zapruder-like detail to reveal what fundamentally is theft, your perception depending on the plumb of your ethical barometer.

Far be it for me to not want a great deal or occasionally sneak one past the goalie.  There’s also the “everyone else is doing it” defense, or the “system allowed it, so it’s fair game.”   I’m very familiar.  A practitioner, in fact.  And honestly, why does a grocery’s UPC system treat all code families from certain product manufacturers as interchangeable?  I don’t know, and none of us can expect a checker to parse through 4 carts of items for validity.  On an off-note, who would pull a stunt like this in public without wanting to go take a long hot shower for want of feeling like such a sleaze?

But, it stands to reason that when you game the system for $1800 worth of merchandise for $100, there’s no down-on-her-luck-plucky determinism origin story that can explain away why the suburban mom needed sixty bottles of yellow mustard to sit on a heavy duty rack in the garage.  You aren’t going to make that much potato salad.  There’s some kind of pathology here.

It’s easy to do because of the remoteness of the nameless, faceless victim.  Guess who it’s not?  It’s not the manufacturer, or even the store.  Its the saps that have to help eat that loss.   The rest of us with a semblance of decorum.

In other news, the show also features “extreme” Nathan Engles, who rather than counting and hoarding groceries, puts together care packages for military families.  Very cool.