Eccentrics
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Eccentrics

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  19 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.
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published October 3rd 1995 by Villard (first published 1995)
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Jon
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
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...more
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
Benito
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...more
Mario
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.
Toni
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.
Katherine
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.
Amber
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
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.
rachel
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.
Tim
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.
Shayne
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.
BLACK CAT
COOL AND INTERESTING PEOPLE ANALYZED FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE. IT DEFINES ECCENTRICITY FROM A PSYCHOLOGICAL VIEW.
Leah
A little light on the scientific side, but an interesting read nevertheless.
Mike
Quite fascinating, though more a series of anecdotes than the presentation of a scientific study.
Ron
A fun read that always makes it a little easier to walk through my beloved Willy 'hood.
Eucryphia
Pretty tasty oddities. Not quite as eccentric as you might hope, however.
Katie Muffett
People are crazy. If you need proof, read this.
Jessica
I had greater expectations for this book...
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