They were quite eccentric, often going barefoot and living outside, which is where they picked up the moniker Cynic - based on the Greek word for dog. The most famous Cynic was Diogenes of Sinope. He commented, "I am called a dog because I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals."
Diogenes was known for his scathing social criticism. He often carried a lantern around Athens in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. His teacher was Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates who declared, "I would rather be mad than feel pleasure." Diogenes took the message to heart, voluntarily rejecting property and opining that Godlike men have few wants in life. Diogenes' life influenced Crates, a wealthy heir who abandoned his fortune to live on the streets of Athens. Cynics were also common in Rome later in antiquity.
Think there is nothing that we can learn from this band of wackos? Think again. We need not live a Cynic life ourselves to learn from the Cynic example. The best Cynic teachings offer us fabulous advice for practical living: