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Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior Paperback – 2 Jan 2006

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Paperback, 2 Jan 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc; Reprint edition (2 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156031442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156031448
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description



"Neurology has Oliver Sachs, nature has Annie Dillard, and the lucky animal world has Grandin, a master intermediary between humans and our fellow beasts . . . "Animals" is one of those rare books that elicits a 'wow' on almost every page. A."--"Entertainment Weekly"

"Inspiring . . . Crammed with facts and anecdotes about Temple Grandin's favorite subject: the senses, brains, emotions, and amazing talents of animals."--"The New York Times Book Review"

About the Author

TEMPLE GRANDIN earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal Thinking in Pictures. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

CATHERINE JOHNSON, Ph.D., is a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry and the brain and is the author of three previous books. She lives in New York.

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First Sentence
People who aren't autistic always ask me about the moment I realized I could understand the way animals think. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Johnson on 11 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Temple Grandin was profiled in a BBC Horizon documentary a year or two back as `the woman who thinks like a cow'. A somewhat uncomplimentary portrayal you might think, until you appreciate that Grandin is a gifted professor of animal science and champion for autism, and that cows are far more interesting creatures than might often be assumed.

Grandin discovered that her way of viewing the world corresponded very closely to the perceptions of many animals. As a trouble-shooter on farms and ranches across the USA, she found that she could very often just `see' the problems which were scaring cattle and bringing their owners to the brink of despair. Combined with her prolific research and writings, autism has been a rare gift, enabling her remarkable work.

As a novice in the field of animal science, I felt fascinated and challenged by the wide mix of ideas this book presents. Topics as diverse as why pigs enjoy snuggling up to each other and genetic aggression are introduced in easy, layman's terms, giving interesting details about the research but also recognising that scientists don't yet have all the answers. Grandin challenges us to question a lot of what we might believe about animal behaviour - and for that matter autism - and does so with humility and humour.

A wealth of down-to-earth anecdotes ground the research and open questions posed. For example, we learn about a friend's cat who knew when `mother' was entering the lift of their apartment block some 12 floors below and of the prairie dogs of Arizona who've not only evolved a language involving nouns, verbs and adjectives, but even different dialects amongst local colonies!

At the same time, familiar stories are looked at a new light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tami Brady TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
Animals in Translation is an amazing book. This book states that by looking at human autism, we can better under animals, the way they think, the way they behave, and how they see the world. The author is an animal scientist who works primarily with slaughter houses. She is also autistic.

Before reading this book, I had very little comprehension about the way that autistic people see the world. I simply had no idea that seeing the world in a visual way was that much different than the way that I think. I now see that this different way of thinking has a lot of really interesting benefits, particularly when it comes to understanding other visual thinkers like the animals around us. As I read this book, I started to comprehend how much detail in life we normally ignore. So much of what we need to understand animals is simply looking at life from their perspective, both literally and figuratively speaking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By edrm on 14 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
To be quite honest, at first, I couldn't associate autism with animal behavior. However, I felt as if animals had taught human beings how animals live. And I gradually noticed something in common between people with autism and animals: Both of them are non-verbal but are able to think in pictures. Because of that sort of intuition, they are more sensitive to the surroundings than non-autistic people.

When it comes to animals, they have to cope with fear if they sense the predators coming closer. That is one of the ways to survive and ironically without fear, animals would be a target for predators. I found the example of the tragedy of fearless guppies on P.196. Perhaps for piranha fearless guppies are the easiest targets because they didn't sense any danger until they got eaten. That explains why fear is necessary to sense danger.

How about people with autism? They do have speech delay, which makes it difficult for parents to socialize them. But for autistic people, solitude is one of the ways to protect their own world. The main reason is that they are hypersensitive to normal school or office environment, which sound like the noises in construction sites. In short, they have such a terrible sensory overload that they can't stand loud noises. That's why people with autism prefer quieter places to mixing with their peers. Autistic people feel fear like animals when they recognize something unpredictable. Of course not all non-autistic people look scary to autistic ones, just in case.

Overall, I'm not sure enough what it is like to think in pictures. However, I'd say Temple Grandin knows quite well how to deal with animals because of her pros of autistic traits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Scout on 11 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
Fascinating insight from the perspective of an extraordinary autistic woman, into the minds and emotions of animals. Dr. Grandin shows empathy for animals that is almost unheard of. Her understanding of cattle led to her single-handedly transforming the meat packing business in the US and Canada.

At the heart of the book is her firm assertion that her condition means she thinks like an animal, not as 'normal' people do as she puts it, this enables her to communicate to and empathise with animals on their level.

Her erudition is vast with citations from hundreds of research papers and experiments that have been carried out in the last century. She rejects Behaviourism for approaches that allow us to study the animal from the inside out.

Full of amazing stories and documented case studies, this book is a must for anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of autism or indeed their understanding of the animal mind.
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