Many of us have heard of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Advice like “be proactive” and “synergize” is all well and good, but at the end of the day, I want to know exactly what great feats these highly effective people have achieved before I adopt their habits.

It’s obvious that genius doesn’t come without a price—namely, mean streaks, cross-dressing, and mind-boggling weirdness.

What follows is three famous geniuses with their weird habits that may inspire you.

1. Leonardo DaVinci
DaVinci has a couple of things in common: vegetarianism and the misfortune of being both perfectionists and terrible procrastinators. However, he did manage to complete masterpieces like Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Some say DaVinci preferred taking small naps throughout the day instead of sleeping for eight hours at night. Maybe that erratic sleep cycle is why he had such trouble paying attention to projects long enough to finish them—in fact, he may be one of the earliest sufferers of attention deficit disorder.


2. Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven was famous among his contemporaries for more than just his hauntingly beautiful compositions. He also had a nasty temper and often alienated his household staff. (Bear in mind he was a musician going deaf—that’s enough to make anyone grumpy.) He fought with everybody, including landlords, relatives, and friends. As a result of his temper tantrums, he had trouble keeping maids and servants because he’d often throw things at them or accuse them of stealing. Supposedly, he also wore dirty clothes and left food out to rot, which perhaps also explains why he never married.

3. Thomas Edison
Edison was another proponent of the power nap, believing that most people sleep far too much and are unproductive as a result. He took pleasure in people seeing him as the hardworking inventor who didn’t need something pedestrian like sleep to be exceptional. He felt similarly about eating, exercising, and spending time with his family—all of which he eschewed for working hours on end. Edison demanded that his employees generate a set amount of ideas for inventions (which he reportedly wasn’t above taking credit for). He refused to hire research assistants if they seasoned soup before tasting it. Having them over for soup was part of his interview process.

The other highly eccentric geniuses

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Funny cartoon of the day