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Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition): My Life with Autism (Vintage)

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Temple Grandin Ph.D.

"I hardly know what to say about this remarkable book. . . . It provides a way to understand the many kinds of sentience, human and animal, that adorn the earth." --Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author ofThe Hidden Life of Dogs    "There … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Temple Grandin Ph.D.
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Vintage
1 review about Thinking in Pictures (Expanded, Tie-in Edition):...

A Truly Fascinating and Enlightening picture

  • May 27, 2010
I read Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin last year and loved it. I found her insights and speculations about the thought processes of animals (and people) truly intriguing. Reading the book felt like taking a privileged journey into a world so different from my own that nevertheless exists side by side with my own. In the case of my dog, that magical world lived entirely intertwined with my own, and I remember the absolute delight I felt when the author suggested that people and dogs might have co-evolved to distribute character traits.

Thinking in Pictures was, of course, first published a long time ago, and my only knowledge of it was references in Animals... and in one of Oliver Sachs' books. But it's been reissued recently to coincide with the HBO film, and each chapter includes updates that I suspect would make it a fascinating read even for someone who'd read the original.

For me, the book gave delightful insights into Temple Grandin's different way of thinking, nicely narrated in a written voice that sounded in my head like that of a dear friend with Asperger's Syndrome. Before reading, I hadn't really understood how one might "think in pictures," but the author explains it so clearly I found myself realizing that sometimes, like when we play memory games, I think in pictures too.

The author makes a point of showing how important her "difference" is to the job she does, and likewise how important it has been for many famous people. A small amount of Asperger's might be a wonderful thing, might even be genius, but too much can mean disaster. Similarly depression and creativity often go hand in hand, and a world where all of us are "normal" would be sadly boring. Her comments about genius students with Asperger's left behind in special ed classes were particularly disturbing, and went hand in hand with her many comments about each individual being different. I found myself wondering to what extent we've "normalized" our education system to a level where everyone's expected to be the same, rather than where everyone can be treated as uniquely as they deserve.

I enjoyed the book and the many ideas, yes and word-pictures, it presents, and I'm very glad to have found it reissued and ready for new readers like me.

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