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Guest Post: How To Think Like A Mad Man, Find Your Edge & Risk Little For Lots

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Thomas Gresham of Gresham's Law

How To Think Like A Mad Man, Find Your Edge & Risk Little For Lots

The enigma that is eccentricity can be unravelled by grasping of this single statement; that which you perceive is both a matter of the object of your perception (in this case; the eccentric person) and your apparatus of perception. Eccentricity, then, is as much a quirk of the popular mind as it is of a particular person. So with the assumption that you seek creativeness and intrigue — here’s how to think eccentrically, find your edge and risk little for lots.


Eccentric People

Eccentricity over the ages. Click to enlarge.

‘How to think’:

It may sound peculiar that contrary thinking is required to achieve creative thoughts… This, however, becomes self-evident when we realize that thinking the way someone else thinks results in mimicry — a “copy-cat” requires the minimum of creative thought… Therefore, the inference is that to achieve any creativeness, some change has to be made. From this, it stands to reason that the optimum in creativeness must approach the maximum change… and the maximum change must be close to the opposite.

Zuce Kogan, Founder of the Creative Thinking Institute

  1. Rid Yourself of Nebulous Terms – Define, Redefine & Refine.

    Unless you’re an orator or something it’s highly likely that nebulosity is your enemy. If you speak and think in vague terms, then simple, logical deductions are likely to evade you. But since life involves doing one thing or another, chances are that you’ll default to linking concepts in the ‘default’ way — the way suggested by the crowd. In that case it is likely that the succession of vague, emotive images will govern your action.


    The power of words is bound up with the images they evoke, and is quite independent of their real significance. Words whose sense is the most ill-defined are sometimes those that possess the most influence. Such, for example, are the terms democracy, socialism, equality, liberty, etc. whose meaning is so vague that bulky volumes do not suffice to precisely fix it. Yet it is certain that a truly magical power is attached to those short syllables, as if they contained the solution of all problems. They synthesise the most diverse unconscious aspirations and the hope of their realisation.

    Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd, A Study of the Popular Mind


    Since eccentricity involves a capacity to deal with reality in a supposedly ‘odd’ manner and since the crowd deals mainly in vague images, one clear way to surpass them is simply to define the terms in which you speak and think.

    This can seem daunting — especially at first. However, since the crowd remains ever-ponderous and dogmatic, it takes but a very small amount of clarity to achieve oversized gains. One need not plan out the redefinition of one’s entire vocabulary — just start with one concept that you use a lot in your daily life. I expect that the incentive gleaned from the initial reward will be enough to prompt further redefinitions and refinements.

  2. Allocate All of Your Available Resources Contrarily.

    Contrary allocation of capital seems to be well-acknowledged as a key to success in certain investment and entrepreneurial communities. However, it also seems to remain compartmentalized as a theory about allocating capital and capital only – I say that if you wish to reach the honourable status of the ‘Mad Man’, it is prudent to apply this theory to all of the resources at your disposal:


    Everything that should be managed

    Everything that should be managed lies here. Click to enlarge.

    The truth is that you should allow your mind ruminate contrarily for more than just your money – but also for your time, energy and your attention. The integrated eccentric is he who doesn’t give up in any of these fields.

    Whenever you are next faced with a seemingly trivial matter (such as whether or not to read a newspaper, take a taxi or express interest in an uninteresting matter) allow yourself to consider what the ‘common way’ is and just try the opposite.

  3. Adopt a Kantian Distaste for Intellectual Discussion & Stop Checking with Others.

    Sometimes, if not most of the time, it is quite unnecessary to acquire the opinions of others before you act. Yet nevertheless I see a strong tendency for people to check and verify trivial and non-trivial matters with one another. This brings about two serious hindrances to the wannabe wacko; 1) it forces you to adapt your language to that of someone that is probably confused and using nebulous terms and 2) it will likely introduce unneeded emotions into your mind.

    In order to acquire a sense of creativity I suggest that you act before you tell others about your actions and – in particular – adopt a Kantian distaste for intellectual discussion:

    By and large Kant, unlike Socrates, avoided the company of philosophers and philosophically minded fellow citizens. He did this not because of any conviction that philosophers as a breed are inevitably frivolous or consumed by the need to prattle on about their most recent publications; some are, to be sure, and these one would seek to avoid in any case. He was certainly aware that in his field of study there existed colleagues with whom he could talk about bank accounts, ball games or battle plans. But philosophyers tend to talk about philosophy. And even if such talk is motivated by infinite charity and fraternal goodwill, it provokes some response, comment or counter-arguement to the ideas and theories presented. In print the same arguments have quite a different impact; they can be simply registered without requiring an immediate response, or can be interpreted to suit one’s frame of mind, and as a last resort a page can be turned and a book can be closed. But in conversaation courtesy demands that the addressee react and relate himself. And this, in Kant’s view, is a dangeerous exercise and one that certainly lacks the productive element that Socrates may have found in it. Philosophyers, or so Kant thought, work best in isloation…

  4. Test Your Revelations in Small Ways. Proceed to Fail Small & Win Big.

    So by now hopefully you’ve defined at least one term that has significance to your life, considered allocating your time, attention and money contrarily and considered doing something big without checking with anyone at all. Chances are that you may have thought of something interesting. The default consensual reaction is to elaborate a plan in a manner that requires significant resources (be that money, time, energy, attention or whatever else). I urge you to take a step back and consider how you might test it in the smallest possible way.
    I’m always astounded by the degree to which people attempt to impose the property of permanence upon themselves. [facepalm] Why oh why? [/facepalm] Permanence through life is most frequently a large and onerous speculation — and indeed a type of speculation that is likely to be unattainable due to the ever-changing nature of each and every living individual. I suggest that if you wish to maintain your newfound eccentric temperament and demeanour, then risk little, lots rather than lots, little. If you risk little, lots you will not suffer the emotional turmoil that accompanies a large drawdown – and if you’re thinking contrarily you’ll likely be risking little for lots.

  5. Acquire Refined Senses of Ignorance & Stubbornness

    The final step to eternal quirkdom is to maintain both a refined sense of ignorance and a refined sense of stubbornness. In the first instance, I should define my terms:

    By ignorance, I mean a lack of knowledge. By stubbornness I mean an unwillingness to move from one’s intellectual position.

    The former ‘sense of ignorance’ is merely a sustained application of point 2) about properly allocating all of your resources. By carefully selecting what enters your mind, you can maintain a temperament where you decide the content of your ignorance (or more precisely the content of your non-ignorance). This term – most commonly used as an insult – is in this sense quite neutral. We all must be lacking in knowledge (since we are not beings of perfect intelligence). Acquiring a refined sense of ignorance is merely rejecting the notion that the crowd should determine what you are not to ignore (and to be sure that determination is perilously nebulous anyhow!).

    The latter ‘sense of stubbornness’ is merely the unwillingness to forego logic for the vague images of the crowd. Once again – it is a rejection of the crowd’s vague concept of when you should and should not give up your intellectual positions. 

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Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:17 | 2289894 AU5K
AU5K's picture

You've inspired me to launch a blog the exact opposite of zerohedge.  infinitelong.  on a short enough timeline, everyone survives.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:19 | 2289897 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

You are too late. You just described the monetary policy of the entire western world.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:25 | 2289907 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

How bout Ted Kaczynski?



Kaczynski graduated from Harvard University in 1962 and subsequently enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in mathematics.[12] Kaczynski's specialty was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory. His professors at Michigan were impressed with his intellect and drive. "He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students", said Peter Duren, one of Kaczynski's math professors at Michigan. "He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth." "It is not enough to say he was smart", said George Piranian, another of his Michigan math professors. Kaczynski earned his PhD with his thesis entitled "Boundary Functions" by solving a problem[16] so difficult that Piranian could not figure it out.[17] Maxwell Reade, a retired math professor who served on Kaczynski's dissertation committee, also commented on his thesis by noting, "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it."[18] In 1967, Kaczynski won the University of Michigan's $100 Sumner B. Myers Prize, which recognized his dissertation as the school's best in mathematics that year.[18] While a graduate student at Michigan, he held a National Science Foundation fellowship and taught undergraduates for three years. He also published two articles related to his dissertation in mathematical journals, and four more after leaving Michigan

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:45 | 2289947 YBNguy
YBNguy's picture

Visit the "Crime & Punishment Museum" in DC, lots of eccentric folks in there including the above.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:57 | 2289964 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



Now everyone is gonna try and be eccentric.  As if we don't have enough assholes already.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 14:17 | 2291821 Quaderratic Probing
Quaderratic Probing's picture

The rich are eccentric
The poor are crazy

Assholes are assholes

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:01 | 2289974 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Eccentric. Like a gear that moves differently. Word saya it all.

Society and contorllers want a "fit", "linear" world. Mis-fits are eccentric.

The more you "fit" the faster you can be moved.

A wobbly wheel get's left behind or forcibly balanced.

I'm wobbly and so should you be.



Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:30 | 2290013 Decolat
Decolat's picture

I would love to be left behind in a world going straight to hell.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:50 | 2290038 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Precisely Decolat. Precisely......in a slightly imprecise way of course! ;-)


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 05:11 | 2290169 malikai
malikai's picture

I'll just pop in here and add four of my favourites as well, useful in any time.


  • Tao Te Jing
  • Art of War
  • The Prince
  • 48 Laws of Power
Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:03 | 2290242 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

The book that started me off (gettign wobbly) was 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull. And by the same author... Illusions.

Nice list Malikai.


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:58 | 2290482 DeltaDawn
DeltaDawn's picture

We were born that way. Exposure to other free minds kindled the fire.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:43 | 2290284 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Eccentric wheels, (ie a circle with two axii, one centrally located, and one offset) are neccessary to either produce reciprocating motion, (example, a mowing machine) or to reduce reciprocating motion (ex: a steam engine drive wheel).

So, in certain cases, eccentric wheels are absolutely neccessary. Apply these facts to sociology or economics as you please. When do we want smooth, rotary motion to be transformed into up and down motions, or vice versa?

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 05:41 | 2290183 Marc_W
Marc_W's picture

Nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 01:18 | 2290063 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

All that math and the poor guy couldn't figure out the bankers were the problem, not the industrialists.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:08 | 2290320 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

I'm sure bankers love the anti-industrial narrative... keeps focus off of them.  I'm sure that they fund and support it through various nebulous organizations and "charities".  Not to any sort of tipping point, mind you, just enough to keep people corralled.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:06 | 2290314 Golden monkey
Golden monkey's picture

Yeah, my dad's favorite.

His brother ratted on him to the police, just like Luc did to his (criminal lawyer) brother Roger.

On a long enough timeline, everybody will meet a con man, as we all know.

The funny part of it is that in North America, most will be fucked by their wifes.

(You read that right)


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 01:39 | 2290076 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 03:51 | 2290142 TheGardener
TheGardener's picture

Eccentricity is not needed for contrarian thought, the
outside world might consider you eccentric but that`s not
what one should strive for.

I knew an artist who invited a large crowd to his
birthday party and did not show up himself. Just to make
a point about his supposed eccentricity, to show off
he is sooo different, his main asset as a mediocre artist.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:11 | 2290324 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

That's not eccentricity, that's narcissism.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:38 | 2290405 Sanksion
Sanksion's picture

I know a man who did that. But he was no artist, so we just called him a douche.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:16 | 2290384 Golden monkey
Golden monkey's picture


(Almost) Rich eccentrics : Case no1, doctor Turcotte and his blondie wife, doctor Gascon.

Turcotte, at his trial : "I killed my 2 kids, stabbing them over 65 times with the knife"

(Watch the crazy chick on the link. Is she looking at you the very same way?)

Plus une putain fait la belle, plus elle a de client... - http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/justice/326785/guy-turcotte-est-reconnu-non-criminellement-responsable-du-meurtre-de-ses-enfants


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:58 | 2290479 jayman21
jayman21's picture

+1 for your handle.  +1 for you avatar.  After a good laugh, I finally got to your comment.  Total of +3

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 11:40 | 2291170 A_S
A_S's picture

i'm very long silver

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 03:04 | 2296601 natty light
natty light's picture


Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:24 | 2289905 Eireann go Brach
Eireann go Brach's picture

Eccentricity is something that all the great minds of our lifetime possess! But Jim Cramer is the worst side of eccentricity! He is eccentricity combined with douchebaggery!

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:38 | 2289932 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

cramers fucking with peoples money and lives,,,,,he's actually a complete psychopath

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 01:43 | 2290078 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

Cramer is not eccentric; Cramer is status quo douchebag acting the fool to get the moron investing sheeple to "pay attention" since they need fucking clowns popping out of boxes and hitting themselves in the head with honking hammers to notice which fucktard thinks which fucking turd to invest in.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:48 | 2290292 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

I agree. Cramer is the epitome of bourgeoisie.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:51 | 2290294 AmazingLarry
AmazingLarry's picture

This sounds kinda fun. Where do I find this "Cramer" you speak of?

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:30 | 2289916 Seditious Blasphemer
Seditious Blasphemer's picture

"infinatelong" ... A.k.a "MSNBC"

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 05:10 | 2290168 DrStrangelove
DrStrangelove's picture

I think rawdoglet started an anti youtube site  http://www.breakthewrist.net/

an anti-hedge... mehhh, that seems like every other trading site..



also on the rawdoglet note he professed his love for stellaconcepts!!  lol



Mon, 03/26/2012 - 05:40 | 2290182 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

I don't think you are contrarian enough if you launch the blog as response to other blog.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:17 | 2289895 AgShaman
AgShaman's picture

When I'm looking to spark fresh ideas from outside the box....I go down to the river and get 'Luv'd Up' by some "Sy-reens"...then take a long nap.

I know it'll work eventually....when I'm finished with being an under-achiever.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:02 | 2289952 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Shrooms, bitches!  Use them at turning points in your life to slough away all that does not matter, get some outside perspective, find your piece of the puzzle.  It will all make sense.  If everyone tried them just once, so many evil plans would fail due to an inability to herd sheeple.  This is why they're illegal.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 04:36 | 2290156 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

True for all mind-altering substances (natural ONLY) NWC. Reality is quite different from what we are made to believe it is.


Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:50 | 2290250 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Thanks and true.  Acid is real interesting stuff but full of potential black swans which vary by person.  So a lot of people are lathering up with steak sauce and running naked through the Lovecraftian Serengeti.  Sooner or later, shit happens.  The horror stories aren't just propaganda- I think every trip drives you subtly nuts.  Sometimes not so subtly.  Despite all this, I think the first couple trips cure more insanity than they cause and the world would be a better place if everyone got their questions sorted and then got one phone call to God.  Just don't keep chasing that experience.  You'll go nuts trying.

As for synthetics in general, half the time you don't even know what you're getting or what byproducts are in it.  Not to say natural=good either.  Do your homework (starting with erowid.org).  Find a hippie or a shaman.  Get all the crap out of your system first, both physically and mentally.  No weed, no caffeine, no meds, no other psychedelics in the past month, no psycho partner, no Iraq.

I think we will see a lot of Ayahuasca healings after this shit is all over.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 07:52 | 2290296 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Yah. On my last acid trip the black swans were circling, circling, and then bam! Away went the ice fishes into a frying pan full of clouds and pink slime where Katy Perry wore her fur in the most attractive shade of ...lampstands with the gas on and burning full of tigers...

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 08:54 | 2290464 xxxxx
xxxxx's picture

True the first couple of trips were the greatest experiences of my life. The next 100 trips confirms the law of diminishing returns. Not to mention going a little batshit crazy......

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 06:34 | 2290230 SISSYFUSS
SISSYFUSS's picture


Squeegee your third eye - BH

(note, nothing wrong with substituting psilo with ergot based medicine)

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 09:36 | 2290609 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

It seems that I do not require mind altering substances, except in the case where I need to understand the generally agreed reality - in which case I drink savagely until I can barely remember my name.


I am often derided for my refusal to believe anything - anything at all, including physical reality, god or his non existence.  Actively preventing the mind from forming beliefs (and therefore admitting to anything as fact or truth) requires constant vigilance, because beliefs are simply mental shortcuts and our mind exerts an effort for economy at all times. 


A belief is a way of saying "OK - I now 'know' the answer on this topic, it no longer requires revision, challenge or examination."  A belief also creates a filter in our mind which prevents the careful examination of any evidence or data which challenges the current belief - thus robbing us daily of vast amounts of good information.  Beliefs may arise from economy of thought, and a desire for practical action - they are however our own greatest enemy in fully understanding our environment or ourselves.


Understanding something does not require beliefs, nor facts, nor truth - but rather it requires observation and a theory constructed from evidence, and it is understanding things that allows prediction - to my understanding;  in all recorded history, believing in something has never forced that something to deviate from its own internal properties (or lack therof).


Where they say 'fact' I say 'data, evidence, observation, record or calculation', where they say 'known', I say 'observed or recorded', where they say ''truth' I say 'theory', where they say 'belief', I say 'misguided fool'.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:18 | 2289896 Coke and Hookers
Coke and Hookers's picture

You are not going to be good proles if you read this, comrades.

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:31 | 2289917 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

All of the quotes in the infographic sound more like common sense than eccentricity to me.

For example, no cure, no pay for medical. What is so ground breaking about that idea?

When I worked as an automotive technician, I got to "eat" a "comeback" or rework if I did not correct the problem I was to have repaired the first time.

A customer, a doctor no less, was irate with me about not repairing a problem to his satisfaction, and fortunately, my shop foreman asked the doctor if he diagnosed his patients correctly every time when I was hauled onto the rug.

That was the only time I got a write up working at that shop.


Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:37 | 2289929 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

it is not a lie, if you believe it

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:04 | 2289977 ViewfromUnderth...
ViewfromUndertheBridge's picture


Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:46 | 2289950 rehypothecator
rehypothecator's picture

"Unless you’re an orator *or something* it’s highly likely that nebulosity is your enemy."

Or something.  

Sun, 03/25/2012 - 23:52 | 2289958 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Eccentricity...what's that?

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:42 | 2290031 newengland
newengland's picture


It is you, thankfully. A genuine eccentric doesn't realise that he or she is eccentric. Only pretenders presume to be so.

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 02:51 | 2290113 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

at least he has a sense of humor!

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