All across the globe, people revere Casey Neistat.
Over the past two decades the 36-year-old, whose eponymous YouTube channel has almost 8 million subscribers and whose videos have more than 1.8 billion (yes, billion) views, has gone from a high-school dropout living in a trailer park to a multi-millionaire entrepreneur living in New York – truly fulfilling the American Dream.
Casey is renowned as ‘cool’, ‘game-changing’ and ‘inspirational’, and praise for his original videos flood social media streams; he ‘raises the bar’, ‘pushes boundaries’ and tells ‘compelling stories’. People describe him as ‘driven’, ‘ambitious’, and ‘a born leader’.
After spending just over two hours with him on a rainy day in Manhattan, I’d agree with the aforementioned, but I’d also add one more description into the mix – that of ‘high-functioning sociopath’.
I realise I’ve just branded one of the most famous social media stars in the world with a personality disorder, so before the shit hits this fan, let me explain myself (full disclosure: I am not professionally trained in the study of sociopaths. I am just an avid reader on the subject).
Firstly, not all sociopaths are twisted, evil murderers unable to function within society. Some sociopaths, who according to recent estimates make up 1-4% of the population, are incredibly successful businessmen and women.
Known as ‘high-functioning sociopaths’, their character traits include confidence, fearlessness, intelligence and ruthlessness. They are known to be obsessive, competitive, impulsive and have a strong desire for power. Indeed, these ‘high-functioning sociopaths’ can often be found in top jobs – surgeons, politicians, editors, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Their exceptional drive and ruthless ambition, combined with their predatory spirit, risk-taking nature and lust for success and recognition give them a competitive advantage on the corporate ladder.
Fictional high-functioning sociopaths include Sherlock Holmes, Miranda Priestly [Runway magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada], and Jay Gatsby [The Great Gatsby]. Real life suspected high-functioning sociopaths include Oscar award-winning writer and director Quentin Tarantino, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs… And now YouTuber and entrepreneur Casey Neistat.
So why do I think Casey – one of the most loved creators in the world – is a high-functioning sociopath? Let’s go back to New York. It starts at 3.49am. This is when…