• An Outsider's Guide to Humans

  • What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are
  • By: Camilla Pang
  • Narrated by: Camilla Pang
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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An Outsider's Guide to Humans

By: Camilla Pang
Narrated by: Camilla Pang
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Royal Society Science Book Prize

An instruction manual for life, love, and relationships by a brilliant young scientist whose Asperger's syndrome allows her - and us - to see ourselves in a different way...and to be better at being human.

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of eight, Camilla Pang struggled to understand the world around her. Desperate for a solution, she asked her mother if there was an instruction manual for humans that she could consult. With no blueprint to life, Pang began to create her own, using the language she understands best: science. 

That lifelong project eventually resulted in An Outsider's Guide to Humans, an original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from the outside looking in - which is helpful to even the most neurotypical thinker. 

Camilla Pang uses a set of scientific principles to examine life's everyday interactions:

  • How machine learning can help us sift through data and make more rational decisions 
  • How proteins form strong bonds and what they teach us about embracing individual differences to form diverse groups 
  • Why understanding thermodynamics is the key to seeking balance over seeking perfection 
  • How prisms refracting light can keep us from getting overwhelmed by our fears and anxieties, breaking them into manageable and separate "wavelengths"

Pang's unique perspective of the world tells us so much about ourselves - who we are and why we do the things we do - and is a fascinating guide to living a happier and more connected life. 

©2020 Camilla Pang (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“An enlightening hybrid of popular science, memoir, and self-help... By leavening scientific theory with personal anecdotes, Pang draws up a life guide that’s accessible and entertaining... A unique take on life’s big questions.” (Publishers Weekly)

"In this book, Pang uses her extensive scientific knowledge to help readers understand the world of humans. With topics like thinking outside the box, forgetting about perfection and finding harmony, learning from your mistakes, and cultivating empathy and connections...Pang's Outsider’s Guide will help readers embrace their individuality while also finding their place in the greater humanity." (Booklist)

"A vivid picture of how an individual with Asperger’s views the world...Ingenious pop psychology." (Kirkus)

What listeners say about An Outsider's Guide to Humans

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Life manual

Neurotypical here. Loves this book. As a person who has struggled with anxiety all my life, I found social stuff perplexing. A manual like this would have saved me years of fighting against the current. Now I'm a Counseling Psychology graduate and Autism post graduate student. I can relate to everything said and explained here. Humans work best with analogies so this is a great manual for life.

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Excellent review of scientific principles

This is a great perspectve on human personality. It would also be helpful to students struggling with basic science concepts in that they can see how scientific processes are intimate examples of human interaction. It may help with better comprehension of science.