What draws some people to big risky ideas that might someday change the world, and what compels them to keep trying, again and again, even after repeated failures and at great personal expense?
Why are some people compelled to take big risks on big ideas, attempting to change a market or, indeed, the world in ways that others find delusional? And why do they keep trying, again and again, often after repeated failures and at great personal expense? Neil Seeman is one of those people: an internet entrepreneur steeped in North American start-up culture. He is also the son of one of Canada's most important brain scientists. Drawing on his own business experience and his father's research into the brain's processing of risk and reward, Seeman explains the entrepreneurial mindset-the world's primary wealth creation engine-is in fact a form of addiction. The highs experienced by individuals when they are solving problems or making breakthroughs are so enormously generative and exciting, and the lows so tormenting and debilitating, that they live on an unsustainable hamster wheel of constant striving and often wind up destroying the very things that they helped create. With compassion and deep insight, he suggests ways in which the vital energies of the entrepreneurial class can be directed in A more constructive and sustainable manner.
About the author
Neil Seeman is the Director and Primary Investigator of the Health Strategy Innovation Cell based at Massey College at the University of Toronto, where he is a Senior Resident in health system innovation. His work on health care innovation and health policy has been published in leading journals here and abroad, including Economist, the Washington Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Asian Wall Street Journal, Healthcare Quarterly, Policy Options and Electronic Healthcare. He has also co-published work in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and Healthcare Management Review. He was the national lead in ”health 2.0“ research at IBM Canada and a founding editorial board member of the National Post where he wrote daily editorials on healthcare topics. He is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Health Services Management at Ryerson University and has lectured to major health organizations across North America. He currently writes a column on health innovation for the National Post and for Longwoods Publishing. He also writes a blog on myhealthinnovation.com, a project of the Innovation Cell. He has been listed in the Canadian Who’s Who since 2002 for his contributions to Canadian public policy. Psyche in the Lab: Celebrating Brain Science in Canada (Hogrefe & Huber, 2006), a book on mental health research co-authored with his mother, Dr. Mary Seeman, OC, was called ”inspiring, educational and hopeful“ by Prof. Tak Mak, one of Canada’s most honored scientific researchers. Neil was a chapter contributor to Better Medicine: Reforming Canadian Healthcare (ECW, 2002). The Economist highlighted Neil’s work in a special edition by best-selling author Vijay V. Vaiseethewaran on technology and healthcare in 2009. He has published over 800 articles for magazines, newspapers and journals. His articles and editorials have appeared in the Toronto Star, the National Post, the Financial Post, the Globe and Mail and National Review, where he was associate editor for the magazine’s online edition. Neil has a law degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s of Public Health degree from Harvard University.
“Neil Seeman courageously examines the excesses of forms of entrepreneurialism unmoored from historic conceptions of innovation for the greater good. He is the first to explain how entrepreneurs, artists, and risk-takers of all types can better manage the successive bursts of dopamine swooshing in their brains.” – Lord Anthony St John, Crossbench Member of the House of Lords
“This timely book amalgamates an autobiography, frank descriptions of mission-driven or profit-driven entrepreneurs, their anguished personal and professional risks, with conceivable underlying biological drivers.” – Bertha K. Madras, PhD, professor of psychobiology, Harvard Medical School
“Combining scholarly analysis with dramatic personal history, Neil Seeman clearly frames the mental challenges entrepreneurs face, and offers hope for the future. A real dopamine rush.” – Myles Druckman, MD, senior vice president and global medical director, International SOS
“Accelerated Minds is a tour de force. Seeman offers no less than a treatise on entrepreneurship, a primer on dopamine in neuromodulation, and a touch of philosophy—and he makes it all gel elegantly.” – Frederick Lowy, OC, MD, FRCP, former dean of medicine, University of Toronto, and former president and vice-chancellor of Concordia University
“In Accelerated Minds, Neil Seeman boldly suggests a new way of thinking about mental health among entrepreneurs. These innovators or ‘wild spirits’ risk everything to turn their dreams into reality and are responsible for much of society’s economic growth. It’s a rough road, however. Seeman offers a broad and, fittingly, entrepreneurial discussion about how to support these important individuals.” —SONIA ARRISON, AUTHOR OF 100 PLUS, BOARD DIRECTOR, THE THIEL FOUNDATION
“If you are interested in what drives the entrepreneurial spirit, this book is for you. If you are entrepreneurial, it flags several warning signs for your business and mental health. If you think ‘phew I’m not like that,’ think again.” —LAWRENCE SPERO, PhD, PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOLOGY (RETIRED), UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
“Seeman’s personal, professional, and scientific threads resonate and make sense of the character types and biological underpinnings of entrepreneurial behavior.... Accelerated Minds also spotlights, in vivid detail, the true vulgarity of excess in today’s entrepreneurial sphere.” —GEORGE TOLOMICZENKO, PhD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MERKIN INSTITUTE FOR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH, CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH)