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
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.
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.
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.
This is easily in the top ten of audio books, ever.
The character of Mary -- I understand her and relate to her.
I read an essay about him about a year ago, this lead me to try this audiobook.
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.
I am so glad that I read this book, my highest reccomendations!
A Big Fan of Non-Fiction and Business Books as I am always looking to learn something New!
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!)
For anyone who’s ever wondered, ‘maybe I have Asperger’s’, this is a MUST read. For the other two people you know it was very well written and EXTREMELY well delivered. Everyone who takes the time to purchase this audio book WILL receive great enjoyment.
This was an amazing book. It was like reading my life story, only with the names and places changed. It was reassuring to hear someone else go through the exact same things. It was very well written and hearing the author read it added quite a bit to the authenticity. It certainly gives a jerk and his princess hope for a happier life.
funny and insightful. Gave me a lot of insight into what a relationship with someone who has aspergers is really like, and how to improve things
I was looking for a book to help me deal with my AS friend whom I love dearly. Actually having this book from AS perspective was enlightening. He is now reading it.
The narrator was captivating - I finished the book 3 days after receiving it.
I will pass it on to others.
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.
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