10 Innovators Who Did More Drugs Than You : Under30CEO 10 Innovators Who Did More Drugs Than You : Under30CEO
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10 Innovators Who Did More Drugs Than You

| August 26, 2013 | 9 Comments

Stephen King

With certain writers it can be a little obvious, I’m sure right now you’re saying, “really?”, but if we take a look at the numbers its not all that surprising. King has published 50 novels and almost 200 short stories  which includes novellas, poetry, and screenplays. The publishing of his works started when he was 12 years old with a short story entitled, “Land of 1,000,000 Years Ago”. If we do the math that means completing the publication process for about 5 pieces every year; it doesn’t sound like a lot but publishing is far from a fast process. This kind of productivity can only be explained by one thing and one thing only, cocaine! King was so coked out that he acknowledged in On Writing in 2000, that he can barely recall writing Cujo.  But of course to counteract his extreme cocaine usage, King dabbled in some downers as well like Xanax and Valium.


John C. Lily

Lily was a pioneer in the field of interspecies communication between dolphins and humans and contributed heavily to the notion that they possess a nonhuman intelligence. He created an isolation tank to test the hypothesis that if all stimuli are cut off from the brain, then the brain would go to sleep. Through experiments in the isolation tank, Lily delved into the realm of the human consciousness and all that can be achieved through a deep meditative state. In order to dive deeper into his consciousness Lily used the help of everybody’s favorite hallucinogen, LSD, relatively frequently during his experiments in the isolation tank and during his work with dolphins. But he claims to only have dropped acid (and the occasional ketamine dose) during his experiments that took place before the illegalization of those drugs; sure John, we believe you.


Sigmund Freud

The father of psychoanalysis and tons of other psychological concepts that are commonplace in our society, would have been a different man if it weren’t for a heavy coke habit. Freud regularly self-medicated, taking small doses of blow to manage his indigestion and depression. Freud even wrote essentially an ode to cocaine in his essay “Über Coca”, where he hoped that through this essay’s explanations, he would help the drug win a place in therapeutics with the likes of morphine and other widely used drugs at the time.


Thomas Edison

Similar to Stephen King, at first the notion seems a bit ridiculous but once again when you look at the numbers and what he was able to create, it makes sense. Thomas Edison holds an absurd amount of  patents, 1,093 in total. He is famous for inventions such as the light bulb, phonograph, the transmitter for the telephone speaker, and parts of motion-picture apparatuses. It’s almost absurd that no one suspected Edison of using productivity-increasing substances; but unlike King, Edison wasn’t into the nose candy variety of cocaine. Edison downed “Vin Mariani” more than regularly, a Bordeaux wine treated with coca leaves.


Andrew Weil

A leader in the world of holistic health and the founder of the concept of integrative medicine, Dr. Weil has an open mind about more than just medicine. Weil is famous for stirring up America’s concept of substance abuse with the publication of his book in 1972, The Natural Mind, stating in an interview with Newservice entitled “No Bad Drugs: An Interview with Andrew Weil” that: “I really have been interested in drugs as tools for changing consciousness and giving windows on possible states of consciousness”. Dr. Weil has traveled the globe to places like Mexico, Colombia and the Amazon, in order to experience  mind-altering substances in a light outside of its use in counterculture and experiments in the US. It’s not surprising that a guy who is into unconventional medicine is also an advocate for experiencing the world unconventionally.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is quoted in several places as having said that LSD was one of the two, or three most important things he has ever done in his life. In his biography, Jobs attributes his innovations with Apple to LSD. The broad integration of lots of unique little features: think about all the sounds, features, and tricks of Apple products,  all seem like the product of a creative genius mind. Jobs attributes his eclectic consciousness to LSD as well, and states in his biography that he thinks that it could have been useful if his longtime rival had experimented with the drug more: “he’d be a broader guy,” Jobs says about Gates, “if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

 Francis Crick

Francis Crick

Francis Crick, was an English molecular biologist, biophysicist and neuroscientist. He was a part of  the team of scientists who are credited with discovering the double-helix form of DNA. Crick later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD, an experimental drug at the time used in psychotherapy, to boost his powers of thought. As stated in his biography, Crick was a founding member of SOMA , a legalize-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley’s novel Brave New World. He even wrote a letter to The Times in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws in America. Pretty badass for a Nobel Prize winner.


Kary Mullis

Kary Mullis is the father of the DNA cutting and amplifying process known as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a process that has contributed to the wealth of genetic knowledge society has today. Most experiments that require looking at DNA today require PCR, and it’s one of the first things you learn to do when you begin to work in a wet lab, if that gives you a better idea of how crucial the origination and implementation of this process is. In a September 1994 issue of California Monthly, Mullis is quoted as saying that he “took plenty of LSD” in the sixties and seventies, even saying that his “mind-opening” experimentation with psychedelics was “much more important than any courses [he] ever took.” In an interview for BBC’s Psychedelic Science documentary, Mullis pondered his scientific achievements: “What if I had not taken LSD ever; would I have still invented PCR?” To which he replied, “I don’t know. I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.” Just let that sink in for a second.


William S. Burroughs

Is it surprising that the author of a book entitled “Junkie” was in fact a junkie? No, it’s not. But Burroughs is one of the central literary figures from the Beat Generation in the 1950s and has been addicted since he first began to write. Starting with his addiction to morphine in 1945, this lead to him selling heroin in Greenwich Village to have enough cash for his habit. His addiction is really what made him successful if we’re going to be honest, his first novel “Junkie” is a confessional novel based around his life as an addict and dealer and that book is what he was first acclaimed for as a writer.


Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche, like Freud, used drugs to self-medicate. He was suffering from numerous physical ailments: severe nearsightedness and sensitivity to light from his youth, constipation, as well as bouts with dysentery, diarrhea, and vomiting. He reported feelings of general paralysis, conditions resembling seasickness, and complete blackouts. So he battled these issues with regular usage of a  diverse array of drugs: hashish, opium, potassium bromide (a sedative and anticonvulsant), chloral hydrate (for the treatment of insomnia). Nietzsche’s drug use almost seems justifiable, since he was suffering so greatly and yet he was still able to accomplish so much.

by Mai Bar

Written with love by the editorial team at Fueled, an award winning Android application design agency in London.

About the Author: Fueled

We are Fueled, a digital product design and development incubator globally recognized for its work in the mobile space. At Fueled, we don't just build apps; with teams of designers, developers and strategists based in New York, Chicago and London, we create visually stunning products that redefine the technical boundaries of today's mobile development standards. We've built award-winning iPhone, iPad and Android apps used by millions of people for clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to up and coming startups including Barney's, Coca Cola, UrbanDaddy, JackThreads and MTV. We hold ourselves to the highest standard of usability, stability and design in every project that we touch.

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  • https://www.facebook.com/michaelamushe Michael Amushelelo

    All i can say is that it takes a bit of insanity to be creative :-)

  • Michael Luchies

    Awesome topic and post.

  • J

    This is the third time I am reading something about some of the most brilliant minds using drugs. I do not know if this is meant to be informative or just for fun but as a site that is influencing young soon to be entrepreneurs, don’t you think this is a bit unhelpful? Imagine there are people that abuse drugs,or those slowly getting into the habit, wouldnt they read this and think to themselves, well sure if Freud did it,why cant I? Forgetting the amount of discipline and passion those minds had for their work. Just something to think about.

  • Mike Darche

    I’m loving this creative post– definitely an interesting addition to the Under30Ceo page. It’s amazing what these guys accomplished!

  • http://www.twoodo.com/ Andrea Francis

    As long as people don’t all dive into drugs to write the next Beatles hit (I think Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was written on LSD?) this is an enjoyable read showing that screwing up and experimenting is more valuable for learning than trying to attain perfection.

  • phauxpa

    Class begins. “The father of psychoanalysis and tons of other psychological concepts
    that are commonplace in our society, would have been a different man if
    it weren’t for a heavy coke habit.” If we separate these two ideas from the conjunction, we get these two sentences:

    1.) The father of psychoanalysis would have been a different man if
    it weren’t for a heavy coke habit.
    2.) Tons of other psychological concepts that are commonplace in our society would have been a different man if it weren’t for a heavy coke habit.

    The first sentence stands on its own merit. The second sentence provides all the grammatical errors that confounds the poor dear reader. Combined, they make poor writing.

    Also the writer has provided no logical evidence to the very point he implies, that it was Freud’s consumption of drugs, not his ideas, that influenced our present views of psychoanalysis. He just makes a blanket statement for the reader to accept. Perhaps Freud might have formulated the same ideas regardless. Perhaps the cocaine inhibited his reasoning and actually limited his potential. Or it could be quite possible that the drug usage did help to expand his theories. Regardless, one should never attempt to connect two potentially unrelated ideas without supporting that argument with facts. Steve Jobs can belittle Bill Gates for not being as experimental, but it was their intellect and their business acumen that provided their opportunities. Both attained similar levels of success. How was this possible for Bill Gates? In the end do we contribute Steve’s success to his drugs usage prior to Apple’s existence or to his marketing savvy (and lest we forget, the genius of Wozniak)? Steve Jobs also made early software licensing decisions that allowed Bill Gates to surpass him at that time. Was this the fault of his former LSD usage as well? Or are only his success stories due to the drugs? My point is that you cannot go back in time and find one single factor that makes a person who they are; it is the amalgam of influences in one’s life. Sure Wozniak solely created the first apple computer but who had the charismatic personality to market it? Was that due primarily to drug experimentalism following a soul-searching trip to India? Or was it the multitude of other influences in Steve’s life. There is no Rosebud.

    Lastly, I may be beating a dead horse, but I believe the ‘tons of other psychological concepts’ was very unnecessary and already fit under the realm of Freud being the ‘father of psychoanalysis’. The written word deserves better, but one cannot expect the same level of innovation from writers of top ten lists.

  • tomt45


    for those whom exploring more recent music is not a fearful experience,

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  • tryingtocalmdown

    Well, if quantity of drugs consumed determined productivity then I’d have a Nobel and a Pulitzer or two by now…but I don’t. But it’s a fine line between genius and crazy, is it not? The controlled use of LSD was clearly a major source of inspiration, if not the opening of the mind to think differently and imagine new things. But as a long time Deadhead, I saw the ravages of LSD, heroin, speed and coke by friends and others, who truly lost it because they fried their brains. the only drug that appears to have the mildest long term effects is weed–including alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs.

  • tryingtocalmdown

    In the case of Jobs and Gates, Jobs’ statement that Gates would have been a “broader” person (and maybe a bit mellower, too) had he taken acid once or twice. It isn’t related to business success. I agree with Jobs on that one. I have found that those who have taken hallucinogens are indeed “broader” people in terms of their perspective. It doesn’t make them “better” by any stretch.