After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS. Later, he drifted into a "real" job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be "normal" and do what he simply couldn't: communicate. It was not until he was 40 that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger's syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself - and the world.
A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy teachers and other adults regarded as "defective". He also provides a fascinating reverse angle on the younger brother he left at the mercy of their nutty parents: the boy who would later change his name to Augusten Burroughs.
Ultimately, this is the story of Robison's journey from his world into ours, and his new life as a husband, father, and successful small business owner. It's a strange, sly, indelible account, sometimes alien, yet always deeply human.
©2007 John Elder Robison; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"Thoughtful and thoroughly memorable." (Publishers Weekly)
What a great book! I began reading this book for educational purposes and wasn't expecting to be entertained. The humor is exceptional, but also gives insight on real life childhood differences. I listen to audio books in the car & must have looked pretty funny laughing so hard while driving alone! It's one of the best books I've read in a very long time!
Having heard about Asperger's over the years and having some idea of what it meant this book made it all more real for me. The insight that the author gives as to why people with Asperger's are viewed as difficult and arrogant is refreshing.
Yes, some of the book is repetitive but the candid reflection of how 'normal' behaviour is incomprehensible and confusing to someone with Asperger's is great. When I got to the end of the first part and realised that I didn't have the 2nd part on my iPod and would have to wait overnight to continue listening I was gutted.
The only truely appalling thing about this book was the English accent that the narrator used for some of the characters, but thankfully they didn't have too many lines
With my recent diagnosis, I've been reading all I can on the subject of Asperger's, mainly personal accounts, of which this was one. Though I do wish I had paid better attention and read this book about 5 years ago, I am very glad to have read it now.
I really like when things connect. This book connected me to a new way of thinking about my life, in addition to connecting to my previous obsession with every work of Augusten Burroughs.
Some explanations might seem dry to Nypicals, but pay attention, and you'll stand to learn a lot about that loved one in your life who has always puzzled you. If you are Aspergian, they will make perfect sense and find yourself gesturing wildly and bemoaning agreement while listening to many parts of this book.
If you are looking for something more self-help than memoir, check out Robison's latest, "Be Different." Also, keep a look out this spring for his upcoming book about raising his son "Cubby" after his own diagnosis. Or, David Finch's "Journal of Best Practices," which I found also very comforting, on so many levels.
Incredibly well written, fast moving, almost novel-like, this autobiography is well worth the read/listen. Especially helpful for anyone who is friend of family of an "Asbergian>"
I listened to this book before I heard Mr. Robison speak at a conference. He speaks as he writes--very authentic, sometimes with humor, and committed to explaining the disorder from his own viewpoint. I enjoyed the stories he recounted in the book, even though some of them were filled with troubling experiences. He does not feel sorry for himself, but we can use some of his experiences to understand people who may view the world in a similar way.
The author does not have any training in science, psychology, or logic; which is not a crime in itself, but he constantly uses "I'm autistic, so therefore I cannot help but think logically!" to explain away some very illogical lines of thought and fabricated narratives. As an autistic scientist myself, this drove me up the wall.
He comes up with a lot of mighty tempting narratives that sound pretty plausible, and states them as facts and logic (think: bad evolutionary psychology papers). Nobody is born with a solid grasp on logic or science, not even autistic people (although they might have a leg-up on the competition). This is why there is extensive coursework and schooling for these subjects.
I would have much preferred that the author frame this story as an interesting autobiography of somebody with a very weird and interesting life who happened to be autistic. Did his autism influence and affect his life and perception? Certainly it did, and that makes his accounts very interesting, but he should have left out his countless "autism teaching moments" where he pauses the story to say "now see, this is all because of my autism, clearly I had no choice and clearly I was the only logical one there."
I would have removed these parts, partly because they got repetitive and obnoxious, and mostly because there is no way to parse out how much of his reactions are due to his autism and how much are due to his traumatic and tumultuous childhood (or even some combination of both).
I love autism self-advocacy and I think it is very important, but he loves to make "scientific" and "psychiatric" evaluations of his actions post-hoc, when he doesn't have any training in these fields (and this is painfully obvious). Just as a woman is uniquely qualified to speak about her experiences and feelings as a woman, she cannot describe her own biology accurately unless she had received sufficient education in biology or performed sufficient biological studies and learned that way.
For these reasons, if you are interested in autism self-advocacy or you want to learn more about autism, I would suggest sticking to Rudy Simone or Temple Grandin instead. They are more scientifically-minded than John Elder Robison and are more versed in the nuances of autism and individual experiences. If you just want to read a fun autobiography from a man who had an incredibly unusual (even for an Aspergian) life and you don't necessarily need to learn anything about autism, then Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's will fit the bill. Because don't get me wrong, it was still a fun and exciting narrative.
Commuting 2 hours a day to and from work allows me the pleasure of listening to many books where I would otherwise not have time to read
I've had this book in my wish list for quite some time and I finally made the decision to buy it. I was more than surprised when I started listening and low and behold one of my favorite authors, Augusten Burroughs, had written the forward. Augusten authored "Running with Scissors" a highly recommended memoir. I was even more surprised to find out that this book was written by his brother. Unlike his brother, John Robison lacked the talent to craft his story into a mesmerizing account of his childhood, but John's story was raw, entertaining, educational, and down right fun! I enjoyed it immensely. I would highly recommend listeniong to this book and the accounts of John Robison as he grows from a boy with Aspergers into a man that is nothing more than a genious. I would also recommend that you read "Running with Scissors" first. Only then could you truly understand the household that these boys grew up in and a perspective of childhood that few of us had to endure...luckily.
Starting in young childhood, and concluding in fatherhood, this book has some engaging and interesting revelations. The farther I got into it, the more it seemed that the author's ego intruded on the content. By the end, I was fairly exhausted with being reminded of the "Aspergian" viewpoint. This became the dominant theme of the last quarter of the book. By then the reader is aware of the author's situation, and repeating it over and over, hobbled the forward motion of the story.
Interesting for sure, but plodded in the last quarter.
100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.
I am interested in books regarding autism, anorexia,the various human disorders, dysfunctions, and any psychological difficulties -- thus, the reason for choosing this title. I read this in August 2009 and didn't know it was written by the brother of the author of Running with Scissors, Aguststen Burroughs, until I listened to the forward. Apparently, this brother is, of course, Aguststen referred to in his book. I really enjoyed it -- very interesting, yet sad, to hear about the struggles of having a disorder that made him just different enough where it was a problem most of his life. It was never diagnosed until he was well into adulthood and then by accident. However, this isn't the point of the story. It makes you think of the kids that you saw being made fun of and wish that children could be more kind -- but there will always be the few out there so it's up to people to intervene. It is a story about John Elder Robison's entire life and it's worth reading, especially so, if you are interested in this sort of subject matter.
It was fascinating to understand the Asperger's syndrome
It was great
Great book I already recommended to many people
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