The Best Minds - Jonathan Rosen

The Best Minds

By Jonathan Rosen

  • Release Date: 2023-04-18
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 97 Ratings


Named a Top 10 Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate, and People

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2023

“Brave and nuanced . . . an act of tremendous compassion and a literary triumph.” The New York Times

“Immensely emotional and unforgettably haunting.” —The Wall Street Journal

Acclaimed author Jonathan Rosen’s haunting investigation of the forces that led his closest childhood friend, Michael Laudor, from the heights of brilliant promise to the forensic psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing the woman he loved. A story about friendship, love, and the price of self-delusion, The Best Minds explores the ways in which we understand—and fail to understand—mental illness.

When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor became inseparable. Both children of college professors, the boys were best friends and keen competitors, and, when they both got into Yale University, seemed set to join the American meritocratic elite.
Michael blazed through college in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job. But all wasn’t as it seemed. One day, Jonathan received the call: Michael had suffered a serious psychotic break and was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital.
Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Michael was still battling delu­sions when he traded his halfway house for Yale Law School. Featured in The New York Times as a role model genius, he sold a memoir, with film rights to Ron Howard. But then Michael, in the grip of an unshakeable paranoid fantasy, stabbed his girlfriend Carrie to death and became a front-page story of an entirely different sort.
Tender, funny, and harrowing by turns, The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen’s magnificent and heartbreaking account of good intentions and tragic outcomes whose significance will echo widely.


  • The Best Minds

    By fashionmaven 72
    This book is extremely well written and is a must read for everyone to help understand mental illness it’s treatment or lack of and the toll it takes on loved ones
  • It’s a lot

    By schoenbergersm
    There were several times I wanted to stop reading this book. I could have done without all the factual information. I just wanted to hear Michael’s story.
  • The history of the failures of our so-called mental health system

    By Sleep coachall
    This book is beautifully written, and informs us of the human cause of the failure of the citizens to act on behalf of establishing a mental health system.
  • Excellent and Important

    By juliusa
    This is not only riveting, it is honest and truthful. We had a friend we had to help who was just like this. I’d get calls from his company to come get him and help when he has episodes at work, and found him on our street with a knife in his hand wanting to come to our house when he saw aliens in his apartment. Needless to say we took him to a hospital. We can relate to what people go through and this book forthrightly tells that story. It’s sad and hard to read at times, but vitally important. Recommended without hesitation.