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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband | [David Finch]

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, "What is wrong with my husband?!" In David Finch's case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David's ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility. But it doesn't make him any easier to live with.
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Publisher's Summary

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, "What is wrong with my husband?!" In David Finch's case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David's ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical strength inflexibility. But it doesn't make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband - no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter's, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism spectrum condition makes seeing his wife's point of view a near impossibility.

Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing, yet hilarious, zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, The Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection, both comic and painful. They include "Don't change the radio station when she's singing along", "Apologies do not count when you shout them", and "Be her friend, first and always". Guided by The Journal of Best Practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world's most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest - the husband he'd always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

©2012 David Finch (P)2012 Tantor

What Members Say

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  •  
    Patrick United States 05-02-12
    Patrick United States 05-02-12
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    "I wish I had read this many years ago"

    My kids are now grown and I missed most of it. I was there, but I was almost never really present. I have Asperger Syndrome (self-diagnosed), but not nearly as far on the spectrum as the author. My wife always tried to tell me how much trouble I was causing for everyone and how frustrated she was with me, but It always felt like an attack, and naturally I went into defense mode. After all, I was doing very well at work and bringing home lots of money.

    I'm now divorced and alone and would give everything I have for a chance to do it over again. If only I had heard another dad talk about it in this way, I may have swallowed my pride, put down my defenses and stepped up be the dad every kid deserves and the husband every wife deserves. By hearing someone else talk about and even laugh at themselves, it made it much easier for me to see these behaviors through someone else's eyes (while not being attacked).

    If there's even a chance you have AS (if you happen to be a software engineer, there's a very good chance) and you have kids or plan to have kids, then you MUST listen to this book.

    I don't think anyone could have read it better than the author, who is very funny. He does great voices.

    If you are a guy and you are married, I think it's very unlikely you are lucky enough to have found someone like Kirsten. Even so, there are several good ideas in here about how to change yourself.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 05-09-13
    brenty United States 05-09-13 Member Since 2008
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    "A heartbreaking and hilarious look into Asperger's"

    I should have written this book, but David Finch beat me to it!

    The journey he took me on in this book was akin to that which Ebenezer Scrooge embarked on with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in "A Christmas Carol": I relived my early life, my current relationship, and saw the future -- MY future, if I continue on my current trajectory.

    What I gained from this book is a better understanding of myself through the perspectives of both someone very much like me, and also his loved ones. Not everyone has access to that kind of insight. And you can't beat the price.

    Even if you just want to learn more about a large subset of the population whose brains are wired differently than most -- and have fun doing it -- I can't recommend this book highly enough. But if you are an 'eccentric', 'outcast', or 'misfit' like me, or someone you love just struggles with connecting with others or getting through their day without having a meltdown, this may be the book that changes your life. After a lifetime of not making sense to even myself (much less others), it has changed mine for the better.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Gunsmoke Carson City, NV, United States 11-09-12
    Tom Gunsmoke Carson City, NV, United States 11-09-12
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    "Can you fold laundry?"
    Any additional comments?

    Wonderfully real (especially... if you might be an Aspie). Mr. Finch's stories are touching, humorous, sad, enlightening and heartfelt. As an Aspie myself, I found this audio to be a goldmine of insights into behaviors of those on the spectrum, and the relational challenges which accompany the syndrome. The Author relates, with moving and witty examples, just how some of the relational challenges affected his neuro-typical loved ones and acquaintances, his path to realization (with the help of his loving Wife) of how different Aspie perspectives are, and offers practices which helped him mitigate the effects. For me, helped make sense of many of my life experiences and presented some practical ways to adjust my view and actions for the benefit of loved ones. Great listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Corinth, NY, United States 04-16-12
    Julia Corinth, NY, United States 04-16-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Great for people with Autism, too"
    Where does The Journal of Best Practices rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is easily in the top ten of audio books, ever.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The character of Mary -- I understand her and relate to her.


    Have you listened to any of David Finch’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I read an essay about him about a year ago, this lead me to try this audiobook.


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Journal of Best Practices?

    My husband and son are people with autism -- I have friends with Asperger Syndrome as well. They are thriving, and their lives are like his -- not slow moving disasters. I love the impact of being able to point out hopeful outcomes.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so glad that I read this book, my highest reccomendations!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Jacobus, PA, United States 06-30-12
    Stephen Jacobus, PA, United States 06-30-12 Member Since 2011

    A Big Fan of Non-Fiction and Business Books as I am always looking to learn something New!

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    "Amazing book on relationships. Must read!!!"

    Even if you do not have anyone with special needs in your family, you will still love this story and laugh out loud.

    As a man on a quest to improve my marriage and relationship with my family (my daughter's needs are on the autism spectrum scale as well) this books story really hit home. I learned a lot about what goes through others minds, the fact they go through the same challenges too. It was an inspiring story, expertly told by the author and it was hysterically funny. You will love this true story! its a must read (hear!)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra 05-17-14
    Alexandra 05-17-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Recommended to anyone with an autist in their life"

    As an autistic person, I could see a lot of myself in this book and very much related to the narrator. He was very lucky to find someone understanding, patient and generous enough to give him honest feedback. Similarly, my best (almost only) friends growing up a) married a preacher and b) became a nun. He does a good job capturing the seemingly irrational upsets we experience and simultaneously the self-hatred we feel when we know our discomfort is screwing up things for everyone else. The author also makes a good case for the fact that we can change, but will only do so once we feel motivated to and capable of doing so and understand how. I'm going to recommend this book to all my friends who are autistic or are dating autistic people.

    As for the technical execution of the book, it felt pretty slow at first, but by the end, I was almost surprised it was over. If you can get through the first third, the last third is worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Erik 02-01-14
    Erik 02-01-14 Member Since 2012

    the man

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    "Entertaining guide Best practices for all husbands"
    What did you love best about The Journal of Best Practices?

    Author does a great job of reading the bookand relating his personal story. I bought this to gain more insight into the world of people with autism and asbergers. Turns out I could stand to put in to practice quite a few of these best practices in my own marriage.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mesmer2011 01-23-13
    Mesmer2011 01-23-13
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    "The Qurky Male Brain"
    If you could sum up The Journal of Best Practices in three words, what would they be?

    Quirky male brain


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Journal of Best Practices?

    Early chapters where he describes how he discovered his over focused brain


    What about David Finch’s performance did you like?

    I think any other Author this might've been a too big of a challenge type of book however this author described his life in wonderful terms and gentle kind voice with a lot of compassion for himself his wife and his family it was very endearing and enlightening


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt that more men needed to know what that the mail has the potential for this type of overfocused brain as we have two communications centers versus five in the female brain I was delighted and is static and relieved to find this point well written and documented


    Any additional comments?

    All geeks need to read this book. If they want the relationship to go right in their life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Potsdam, NY, United States 07-27-12
    Catherine Potsdam, NY, United States 07-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Rather enlightening"
    What made the experience of listening to The Journal of Best Practices the most enjoyable?

    I liked the honesty that I felt from the author. He told it like it was for him going through the experience of discovering something about himself. I found the story to be very enlightening for myself as well, since many of the things that they author mentioned were the same for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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