OCD: A Researcher’s Best Friend

by Bill Brenner on July 8, 2015

For all its insidious characteristics, OCD has it’s pluses. For me, one advantage is that when I grow obsessed about something, I research it to the ends of the Earth.

Mood music:

There’s the musical obsession: I’m currently locked on to all things related to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. An obsession with the likes of Van Halen, Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and more led me to devour every book and album having to do with them.

As a result, I can tell you the names of each album in chronological order, the year they were released and, in numerical order, the track listings. I can tell you about the highs and lows of these musical acts and the stories behind the songs, because I’ve inhaled one book and documentary after another.

There’s my obsession with criminal history. I’ve read just about every book about the Manson murders, Whitey Bulger’s reign of terror in Boston and the Amityville murders. I’ve seen scores of documentaries about each and recite the dates of the murders, names of prosecutors and defense attorneys and names of victims.

That obsession has also led me to visit the crime scenes of the Tate-LaBianca murders and the Bulger killings and the Amityville house.

My broader obsession with history has led me to read pretty much everything about the Roosevelts, Abraham Lincoln, the White House and Boston’s past. I’ve been to Roosevelt homes in Hyde Park, NY, and on Campobello Island, and I’ve been inside the West Wing of the White House and seen the spot at Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was shot, as well as the room across the street where he died.

One might consider this a lot of useless information, but I don’t think so. In my work and personal life, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned about many of these things. And, if nothing else, the research has been fun.

Researching the idle curiosities has given me skills that come in handy with work research.

It all goes to show that if you can bring the destructive side of your mental disorder to heel, what’s left can be a gift.

Brain Sponge

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fernando Montenegro July 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Great post,

Just to comment that one of the more interesting characters in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short (about the subprime crisis) was someone who channeled his OCD/Asperger’s into value investing. Made millions of dollars.

jonee July 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Hope this doesn’t sound patronizing or weird, but in reading this post and others I often find you impressive in what you say and do.

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