Was Michael Burry on the ‘Wrong Planet’?


This  blog is kind of going to be all over the place.  I am addressing Aspergers Syndrome again and  how difficult it is  to connect with people.

We with Aspergers tend to be obsessive about our interests.  Mine was and has been dogs.    I learned a lot of breed standards.  I learned  a lot about the unique features of specific dog breeds, including disqualifying faults. Later, I became obsessive about learning about Africa (still a major interest).

Several years ago, when I had my own grooming business  away from my house, a prospective client called and started asking me questions. We had a bit of a discussion, & she said (I am not joking) , “You are so nice!  I’ve tried talking to other dog groomers and they are so rude!”  Guilty.  I am rude—or actually, direct–too.  I said to the woman, “We’re dog people, not people people.”

But you know, non-dog people  who don’t do the actual labor—the bosses who hire us—want people who are good with customers, not necessarily good groomers.  I wish I could put up a sign that says, “I have Aspergers. Please bear with me.”

I didn’t realize this until I read Tempel Grandin’s book, “Thinking in Pictures.” It was a good description of ME.

I majored in anthropology because I wanted to learn how normal humans behave.   A lot of good it did me!

Year passed.  Several months ago, a client who has a Ph.D. in psychology, and who has taught at the college level, asked me if I had ever checked out http://www.WrongPlanet.net   I hadn’t.  It’s a great site for information on Autism and Aspergers.  We may all be depressed, or frustrated, or anxious—but we are not psychotic or dimwitted.

Writer/former  trader Michael Lewis has recently published a book called The Big Short, and an excerpt was published in the April 2010 issue of Vanity Fair magazine.  In the article, he profiles Michael Burry.  Even if you are not  interested in financial trading, or the recent economic meltdown, if you want  a good read, you have to check this out.  In fact,  check out Michael Burry on Wikipedia and then check out the article.

Now, for all you people who  may not believe we are afflicted (if that is the word for a personality type) because we haven’t been specifically diagnosed by a psychologist…I want to remind you all that psychologists are not scientists. Their degrees are in the arts (M.A.—not M.S.)  They are the foxes watching the henhouse.  Like lawyers—they have arranged society in America—along with lawyers—to get credibility from politicians.  Many practicing psychologists—especially clinical psychologists—have serious mental/psychological disorders.  Because they are the ones in charge of the rules, it is very hard to out them.

As for psychiatrists….remember, they are M.D.s  first  They can prescribe drugs. They may not have an intense understanding of psychology or cultural anthropology & social dynamics.  For the most part, however, the drugs are developed by biochemists, not physicians. The  psychiatrists rely on the  marketing of the drug companies to  decide if a drug is effective.  Years ago, an internist had me try Prozac.  He didn’t promise anything.  He just told me that it had worked for many of his depressed patients.  He told me it might take several weeks to work.  In 3 days, it was like a curtain had been lifted.  No counseling. No mumbo-jumbo.  I didn’t spend thousands of dollars I didn’t have on sessions.  Just a seratonin re-uptake inhibitor.

So here’s Michael Burry  learning he has Aspergers.  Because of his Aspergers—and his fixation on learning, he became a billionaire.  He didn’t do anything  extraordinary.  He just used common sense and focused on what was happening.  His obsession happened to be the stock market.  And  that led him to  trading, and hedging, and the rest is history.

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