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Eccentrics

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  212 Ratings  ·  29 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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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
...more
Jon
Sep 30, 2011 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
Lucy
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly interesting book, but it had a lot more potential than was fulfilled. I would have appreciated deeper research into, say, eccentricity and schizotypy (they only assessed them for schizophrenia) or schizoidism. I would also have loved to have learned more about the people in the study - the quotes given were tantalising at best!
Mary Alice
William Irvine, in "On Desire: Why we want what we want" explains eccentrics better than David Weeks. Weeks just discusses how eccentrics are odd. Irvine explains that "Eccentrics, . . . refuse to relinquish sovereignty over themselves. They refuse to live for other people. They have their own vision of what is valuable in life and which lifestyles are worth living. If their vision is at odds with the common view, so much the worse for the common view."
Balloon Bruce
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun observations about oddballs.
Jan
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. Some of the examples are highly entertaining. The authors state that eccentrics are generally happier and healthier than non-eccentrics.
Suzie Sims-Fletcher
I wanted this to be ... more.

I kept reading because there were shining moments.

I felt like I would get to a potential juicy part-and was let down.

um. eh.
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
Michelle
A very interesting book about how and/or what makes Eccentric people behave the way they do. This book looks into the physiology, psychology, and environment of Eccentric people. It will be interesting to anyone who has ever known an eccentric person (everyone seems to have that one strange Aunt or Uncle), or fears they may be that Aunt or Uncle...

A good read for everyone interested in the subject, but I would say it will be most helpful to Drs. and nurses, and anyone who works with people.

I le
...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
Aug 27, 2008 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
...more
Mario
Aug 09, 2012 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.
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
Sep 12, 2008 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.
Toni
Nov 22, 2012 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.
Mark Hundley
Jan 22, 2009 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.
rachel
Dec 29, 2007 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.
Debbie
Mar 16, 2015 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.
Eucryphia
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty tasty oddities. Not quite as eccentric as you might hope, however.
Tim
May 05, 2012 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.
BLACK CAT
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eccentrics, brain, science
COOL AND INTERESTING PEOPLE ANALYZED FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE. IT DEFINES ECCENTRICITY FROM A PSYCHOLOGICAL VIEW.
Shayne
Feb 08, 2012 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.
Mike
Jul 12, 2010 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.
Leah
A little light on the scientific side, but an interesting read nevertheless.
Maxo Marc
Nov 16, 2014 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.
Ron
Aug 04, 2011 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.
Jessica
Aug 04, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had greater expectations for this book...
Matthew Kowalski
rated it liked it
Jun 26, 2010
Bert
rated it liked it
May 03, 2007
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