Sharing My Journey with Bipolar Disorder After 22 Years of Silence

#BURNRATE: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind

Andy Dunn
3 min readMay 6, 2022

This book isn’t what you think it is.

It is not a self-aggrandizing tale of entrepreneurial success. It is not an insider’s guide to launching a startup, brimming with insights packaged for tech bros or corporate leaders looking for an edge.

This book is a ghost story.

My Ghost first arrived in the year 2000 and would haunt me for the next sixteen years. It was a secret, known only to a handful of my closest loved ones.

My Ghost is an illness — one that can amplify human potential and seek to destroy it at the same time. For some, a ghost like mine might even seem life-expanding — jet fuel for the entrepreneurial drive — before the liabilities rip it all apart.

Here is the tabloid-ready summary of my book: In 2016, on the precipice of selling Bonobos, the startup I’d been building for the previous nine years, I flew into a manic spiral and was hospitalized for a week in the psych ward at Bellevue in New York. When I was discharged, I was met by NYPD officers, who took me to jail, where I was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault.

Thanks to my Ghost, I came within an inch of losing the woman who is now my wife, the company, and everything I cared for in the world.

Here’s the thing: I still live with it — but the Ghost, my diagnosis of bipolar disorder, isn’t a secret anymore.

An excerpt from the author’s note of BURN RATE.

Humbled and Haunted

My own words about this book are inadequate. These are the good ones, written by experienced investigative journalists who went out and got a 360 degree perspective, talking to my wife, my sister, my cofounder, people I’ve fired, and people who should have fired me.

The Fast Company link includes an excerpt from the book. It details a manic episode I had in Las Vegas. It is challenging material, and a brave selection by the editors.


You don’t make it this far without the loved ones who you got there.

The book’s dedication reads:

For Usha, Monica, and Charley. Without you, I have no past.
For Manuela. Without you, I have no present.
For Isaiah, and for Bella. Without you, I have no future.

I feel so lucky.


twitter: @dunn
linkedin: @andyrdunn



Andy Dunn

Spirit animal @bonobos, swan hunter @redswan, brother @monicaandandy. I love cilantro but love even more the people that hate it