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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2017
Wonderful book by an amazing lady. Everyone should read this book, autistic or not, as it explains about people who are visual or auditory, and you might live your life in a more visual than auditory way, or vice versa. Also gives info on sensitive senses which is important to note.
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on 28 June 2017
very informative
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on 29 August 2002
A really good insight into autism. This book captures you from the beginning and you feel that you can see into the world of the writer.
She helps 'normal' peolpe to understand some of the difficulties that autistic people have in communicating and understanding the world around them.
The writer proves how being autistic need not be a barrier in achieving in life.
An interesting account for all readers.
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Temple Grandin grew up with Asperger's Syndrome before it was understood by anyone but a handful of researchers. She has turned her insights and special interest in animal science into a successful career designing livestock handling systems. She claims that the image-based thinking of the autism spectrum is similar to the language-free thought processes of animals. This insight leads to interesting conclusions about communication.

The book weaves together accounts of Grandin's life and the development of knowledge about autism. Its eleven chapters are organized by autism topics and cover visual thinking, diagnosis, sensory problems, emotion, developing talents, treatments, relationships, connecting with animals, animal thinking, autism and genius, and religion. Temple Grandin provides a clear, readable account of scientific findings supplemented by experiences from her life. This expanded version includes updated information about autism spectrum causes, diagnosis, and treatment that have become available since the book was originally published in 1996.

The author is candid about her life's hard-won lessons. She also shares the things which bring her the greatest satisfaction and what these insights may mean for others. A sample:

- Her innovative design of a "squeeze machine" to restrain cattle is based on how calming she found gentle pressure as a child.
- Temple visualized large transitions in her life as stepping through a doorway--and often found an actual doorway to step through and reduce the stress of change.
- One way to get a feel for visual, associational thinking is to play with the Google search engine for images.
- Autistic fixations are not always a problem; some people are able to channel them into successful careers.
- Early in her career, Temple often made business contacts on the phone so she didn't have to interpret and respond to complex social signals. She believes that phone and internet contact can be useful in more gradual development of social skills.

Grandin's blend of research reporting and personal reflection works well. Her book covers the basics of autism, grounded in the author's life. It is both a contrast and a complement to another excellent book, Tony Attwood's The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, which offers a drier and more exhaustive presentation of the same subject. Both are highly recommended for anyone on the autism spectrum or who wants both breadth and depth in their understanding of it.
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on 22 February 2014
This is a fascinating book and insight into the complex and not easily understood world of autism.

It is clear, and I think readers should note, that Temple's autism is not typical; the spectrum is wide, and she has found a wonderful way in which to live her life where she falls along the spectrum. She also appears to have been fortunate to have found some incredibly supportive people. However this does not take anything away from the resolve, courage and determination to live her life to the full and do what she enjoys doing.

This lesson, among others, provides much that can be learnt by people who do not have such challenges. For example knowing that she lacks certain social skills she works extra hard to find clues and ways to interpret what is going on, if only non-autistic people could behave in such ways, how much better our world might be!

A truly inspirational insight into a mysterious and difficult to understand world.
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VINE VOICEon 10 January 2005
Whether or not you are familiar with Autism or Aspergers, I think it worthwhile reading Temple's earlier book first. This one is then written 10 years later, and based upon her successes and failures, she takes you through some of her thoughts and ideas.
The prevailing theme is that how she uses her experience and expertise at working with cattle (and other animals), understanding their basic fears, dislikes and preferences, and how this has given her an insight into the equivalent fears, dislikes and preferences of autistic people.
This animal-human empathy may seem weird to some, but it really does seem to come up with some rational ideas. For example autistic children don't like things that look out of place, just as cattle interpret a broken branch or disturbed earth as signs of a predator in the vicinity.
There is also some potentially useful discussion on the role of more modern drugs, such as clomipramine and fluoxetine.
Finally, to demonstrate that this is not just a 'light' book with a rudimentary index, we get a Bibliography, with nearly 200 references for further reading.
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on 21 June 2012
An interesting autobiography of an autistic women who has achieved much in her career as a brilliant scientist in animal husbandry, who has designed machinery to make the slaughter of cattle, less terrifying and painful to the animals.
She provides insights into autism, but tends to generalize, describing some of her own experiences and conditions, as being general to all autistic, where they are not always so-not all of her generalizations are correct , and the limitation in relationships she ascribes are not true for all who have these disorders.
Nonetheless there is valuable information here about autism, as well as milder related disorders such as Aspergers syndrome, and the difficulties these lead to in social lives and careers.
She also highlights those who have suffered from such abilities or parts thereof, but have still achieved much, including Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Vincent Van Gogh.
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on 22 February 2013
One interesting thing with this aubiography is that Temple Grandin sets herself apart from most of us - in a positive way - by treating her problems as somehing she has to learn to cope with through research and investigation rather than choosing to accept defeat. Perhaps living with autism is such hard work that a little more doesn't seem to rattle her.

Grandin is at her best when writing of her personal experiences, which give an insight into autism that can probably not be reached in any way other than hearing the voice of people with this condition (or, more rightly, spectrum of condition). Similarly her capacity to understand others with autism means that she can provide insight from beyond her own direct experience, and I was enthralled by her description of one friend with autism who took years to understand that the meaningless noises his speech therapist insisted on making were in fact a way of conveying meaning to another mind.

She's less engaging when writing about the medicine behind autism and how it might be treated. Whilst a fact-based mind like hers will be drawn to this, it makes for less insightful writing and is possibly double-edged because she's not a medical professional and some of the information in the latter sections may not have the authority it appears to show. it's dIfficult to be confident on that statement because a common theme within the book is that existing medicine and psychology is at an early stage when helping people with autism, but it would probably be wise to treat this part of the book as a useful source of information rather than a definitive guide on how therapies can or should develop.

It's a fascinating book for anyone that could be hugely helpful to anyone with a family member on the autistic spectrum, but the best of it is Grandin herself.
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on 19 January 2008
This is a book about autism and the author's struggle for acceptance, education and fulfilment, as a world authority on the humane handling of livestock. As the title suggests, the book offers a fascinating insight into Grandin's idiosyncratic way of thinking, which is both enthralling and sometimes amusing. It might offer guidance for those attempting to manage autism and explanations as to what autism is for the curious. It explains how it affects the lives of those who are identified as autistic, from Kanner's to Asperger's. And, whether from the descriptions of the physiology of the condition or the biography, there emerges important philosophical questions about different ways of being in the world. It offers inspiration in the author's description of the way she manages her condition, and might offer others encouragement and inspiration in managing their own physiological or psychological disadvantage. Autism, it seems, covers a wide spectrum and it is very amusing, as you can't help noticing autistic traits, in the personalities of many so-called 'normal' people. It seems impossible not to conclude that the existance of autism is a precious gift for the progress and creativity of mankind, and from the perspective of an autistic person, normal society shows itself to be a very cruel and rejecting entity indeed. Grandin comes across as a very likeable and compassionate person and my admiration of her is unstinting. I am very glad that she took the trouble to write this book. I liked it very much.
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on 10 June 2008
Having previously read Liane Holliday-Willey's "Pretending to be Normal", I bought Grandin's book when I saw it in my local bookshop. Her description of thinking in pictures has many resonances for me. I don't have AS or HFA but I do exhibit the Broad Autism Phenotype, which is enough in itself to cause some problems similar to those described by people with ASD.

Tiny things in the book were enormously helpful to me. At one point Grandin says that she finds books or films about relationships boring or confusing. In the TV documentary on her she said she would prefer to watch Wallace and Grommit. Ditto - and it was very cheering to find that I am not alone in that idiosyncrasy :-)

It's hard to convey just how helpful such biographies are to those of us who have struggled, even with the mildest manifestations of autism.
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