The history of cybernetics is filled with curious characters, and Stafford Beer was not an exception. He wore a long beard for much of his life, habitually smoked cigars, and drank whiskey from a hip flask while discussing scientific ideas late into the night. He included his own poetry and drawings in his scientific publications. Later in his life he gave up many of his material possessions and lived in a small cottage in Wales lacking running water, central heating, and a telephone line. Beer has been described as a “swashbuckling pirate of a man,” a “cross between Orson Welles and Socrates,” and a guru. His writings addressed subjects as diverse as economic development, socialism, management science, terrorism, and even tantric yoga.