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3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  179 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
From 1859 to 1880, Joshua Abraham Norton thought he was Emperor of the United States. Ann Atkin keeps 7,500 garden gnomes in her backyard. Brooklyn artist Peter McGough dresses and acts as if it were 1895. These are just a few of the eccentrics discussed by Dr. Weeks, the world's foremost expert on the subject.
Paperback, 277 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Kodansha International (first published 1995)
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Sep 30, 2011 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The historical review is probably one of the more interesting parts. The study seemed to have such a broad view of eccentrics it was hard to draw any conclusions. The scientific parts are sometimes interesting but many times a bit pointless. Some very good writing in here and I suspect it comes from the co-author Jamie James. The whole theory of a social mutation, that is the eccentric is society's way of experimenting with norms is a fascinating little tidbits. Indeed, one of many tidbits that ...more
Chandrashekar Gangaraju
I am grateful to the service user who gave this book to the Consultant Psychiatrist that I was working with a couple of years ago. I found it interesting and bought my own copy.

This book is a product of psychological research on over a thousand eccentrics. It is an absolute joy to read. It is packed with facts and quotes with some interesting details about people from history that I did not know. Some descriptions are very funny and some you would think are just unbelievable.

The authors state
Charles Berman
The strength of this book is that it is highly entertaining. Large sections of it are taken up by reportage of unusual people in history deemed eccentric by the writers, and present-day interesting personalities they have encountered. The compiled details of of these extraordinary people automatically make for diverting reading.

Unfortunately the data is gathered in the service of a psychological study with a subject, goals, and conclusions that all seem extraordinarily ill-defined. The writers
Aer Bluewilson
I'm conflicted on this book. I like it because it is very interesting and I enjoy the positive and lighthearted way the Mr. Weeks approaches his study. At the same time, I feel that the study may not be organized well,and that the he didn't do a lot of exploring into some of the subject's reasons for certain "quirks", like the lady who was a kazoo player and refused to throw away anything, she hoarded. I do agree that doctors are too quick to give a diagnosis to a person sometimes who maybe just ...more
Maxo Marc
Nov 25, 2014 Maxo Marc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book illustrated that comformity and uniformity stagnates society different must be embraced and celebrated no matter public opinion.
Aug 27, 2008 Benito rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the writing in this first ever scientific study of eccentric personalities can be a bit stuffy at times it's worth ploughing through this tome for the fascinating tales of feather-brained freaks such as the King Of San Fransisco, who brought joy to thousands everyday, including himself, through letting his perculiarities flow freely.

Interesting to note that empirical studies by the authors show show that freaks live longer, happier lives than other people in the community. So there's so
Oct 05, 2012 Mario rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful book on eccentrics written by scientists, not journalists. An interesting journey in the mind of the eccentric based on the centuries-long sampling compiled by the authors. An informative comparison of eccentric behavior with the "normal" or conventional behavior at each time a given eccentric lived, as well as a comparison with signs of mental illness.

Excellent book. I'm almost done reading it.
Dec 20, 2012 Toni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
An easy-to-read popularisation about a big (perhaps the first) study on eccentrics. Has some drawbacks, sure (see other reviewers), but it does convey an important message about respect towards abnormality. With many case examples, the book even made me think that, as a society, we should cultivate our quirks, be honest with ourselves as a way to more fulfilling life.
Eccentrics is an enjoyable work, filled with amusing anecdotes of dozens of eccentrics. The book's flaw is in its science. As the authors readily admit, there hasn't been much of any study into eccentricity, so they made much of it up on the fly. While there were a few interesting findings, the majority of the non-anecdotal writing is quite humdrum.
Apr 20, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting premise but overall the conclusions drawn simply weren't compelling enough to overcome the, "OMG, who CARES?" factor which is probably why I will never be a scientist.
Aug 10, 2011 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you do something dumb & your friends are rubbing it in or you just keep letting it bring you down, I want you to remember this: Sir Isaac "Gravity" Newton was hugely into alchemy.

Chances are, people will forget how spectacularly dumb you were & will eventually only remember the important stuff.
Mark Hundley
Jan 22, 2009 Mark Hundley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I read this because it was published by Kodansha Globe, a publisher that I grew to enjoy. Fascinating study of famous eccentics including Joshua Norton, the emperor of North America, the famous Patch Adams and a host of lesser known people with questionable sanity.
Jan 16, 2008 rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The "science" of this book bothered me. I can't tell whether the study was crappy to begin with or whether it was dumbed down for popular press. The book would have been more enjoyable if it stuck to character profiles and didn't try to make scientific claims.
Oct 19, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book when I read it. Should have been 4 stars but i had to give it 5 because Emperor Norton grew up in Grahamstown, the town in South Africa where I studied.
Apr 19, 2012 Shayne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay. I enjoyed hearing about the eccentrics encountered in the study, but not nearly as much fun as an Oliver Sacks.

Did decide to nurture some more eccentric aspects of my own life.
Sep 25, 2011 BLACK CAT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, brain, eccentrics
A little light on the scientific side, but an interesting read nevertheless.
Jul 23, 2010 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-away
Quite fascinating, though more a series of anecdotes than the presentation of a scientific study.
Aug 08, 2011 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun read that always makes it a little easier to walk through my beloved Willy 'hood.
Jul 26, 2007 Eucryphia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty tasty oddities. Not quite as eccentric as you might hope, however.
Katie Muffett
People are crazy. If you need proof, read this.
Sep 22, 2007 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had greater expectations for this book...
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