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Peter Thiel on Creativity: Asperger’s Promotes It, Business School Crushes It

Peter Thiel on Creativity: Asperger???s Promotes It, Business School Crushes It
Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

PayPal co-founder, billionaire, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel mused in a San Francisco ballroom on Saturday about the benefits of mild autism and not being competitive. In a wide-ranging talk before hundreds at a conference for gay MBAs, he also took a direct shot at the culture of business school and posed some provocative, if unusual, questions about the entrepreneurial spirit of gay people.

“So many of the successful companies are formed by people who seem to be suffering from a mild form of Asperger’s,” Thiel said, referring to Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism. People with Asperger’s often have limited socialization skills and, he said, are unafraid of pursuing ideas seen as strange. “What is it about our society where anyone who does not have Asperger’s gets talked out of their heterodox ideas?”