If you jump off a roof to challenge the laws of gravity, you will break your legs. But as the saying goes: if you want to make an omelet, you’ve gotta break a few legs…

Sometimes (well, most of the time), it’s the people who aren’t afraid to explore crazy notions and push the boundaries of what is generally accepted in society, art, life, business, science, etc. that become the successful creators, artists, and innovators in this world. Those who question the status quo, turn it on it’s head and see what falls out, pick up the pieces and reassemble.

Often these people get labelled freaks, outsiders, crazy… maybe they are. Then, after their successes, they are labeled: visionary, or genius. And there is the whole interrelation between mad and genius that is bandied about; typified by painter Salvador Dali or Sid Barrett from Pink Floyd. Lesser known mad-geniuses of the musical world such as Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnson remain underrated and relatively unknown to this day. Their strange behavior having been detrimental to their careers. Check out this song by Daniel Johnston to see the tortured musical genius at work:

No? Not grabbing you? Try Roky Erickson with his band the 13th Floor Elevators:

Perhaps you have close personal friends you refer to as “nuts”? Perhaps you think of yourself this way…


You may have heard of the book Freakonomics that brought this way of thinking to the fore about 10 years ago. Check out their weekly podcast:

Outsiders by Design: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast.

But this way of thinking is not new. For instance Robert Frost explored this notion in 1920:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Our new counter display explores the work of freaky thinkers in our collection: Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris, Jon Ronson, Oscar Wilde, Einstein.

Pick up one of their books today -it may just change your way of thinking.

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