"The Demolished Man" by Alfred Bester (1953)
"'No. I mean something else. Three or four hundred years ago, cops used to catch people like Reich just to kill them. Capital punishment, they called it.'
"'But it doesn't make sense. If a man's got the talent and guts to buck society, he's obviously above average. You want to hold on to him. You straighten him out and turn him into a plus value. Why throw him away? Do that enough and all you've got left are the sheep.'
"'I don't know. Maybe in those days they wanted sheep.'"
"The Demolished Man" was the first novel ever to win science fiction's Hugo Award. It was written during science fiction's "golden age" (the 50s), and the author had many stories published in the pulp magazines of his day.
Aside from the typographical flourishes which probably made "The Demolished Man" seem very modern at the time, it's a pretty good book. The plot concerns itself with Ben Reichs' attempt to murder a business competitor in an age of telepaths. He concocts an elaborate scheme involving outmoded weaponry, the collusion of telepathic friends, and an advertising jingle which helps shield his mind from those who would attempt to read it.
It's fairly plausible, though the author betrays an astonishing faith in psychiatric medicine, and this faith is grounded upon theories which are no longer popular. It is also difficult to believe that a telepath, no matter how gifted, could rise to a position of authority with something as serious as schizophrenia hanging over his head. There is, moreover, a ridiculous scene near the end where a woman mentally regresses into childhood, and the detective has to raise her back to adulthood over a period of three weeks.
All in all, "The Demolished Man" is historic enough and eccentric enough to be interesting. If you're a fan of older science fiction, I would recommend it.