BE DIFFERENT by John Elder Robison

BE DIFFERENT

Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A guide to making the most of living with Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Aspergian Robison (Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, 2007) offers down-to-earth life advice for his “Aspie” peers and their friends, families and teachers. The author grew up never fully understanding why he, an intelligent, capable man, could never quite fit in. It was only when he was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40 that he realized his quirkiness arose from having been born with a mind that made connections in ways different from what he calls “nypicals” —people with neurotypical or “normal” brains. Unlike so many other Aspergians who end up alienated, alone and unemployed, Robison gradually found ways to overcome his social and communication deficits and transform his differences—such as superior concentration, abstract reasoning and mechanical skills—into gifts. Beginning with a chapter that gives a human face—his own—to the “restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior” associated with Asperger’s, Robison proceeds with a discussion of the thornier interpersonal issues Aspergians face. Compensation for all or most of these challenges is possible, argues the author, by combining the Aspergian strength of logical analysis with observation, an awareness of past experiences and practice. Learning to live in a “nypical” world was not easy for the author—“[i]t’s been a lifetime job for me”—but the rewards have made his efforts undeniably worthwhile.

Recommended reading for anyone seeking to understand Aspergian children and adults.

Pub Date: March 29th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-88481-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011




Kirkus Interview
John Elder Robison
author of SWITCHED ON
March 14, 2016

In 2007, John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation: would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, in an effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism? Switched On is the extraordinary story of what happened next. It has long been assumed that people living with autism are born with the diminished ability to read the emotions of others, even as they feel emotion deeply. But what if we’ve been wrong all this time? What if that “missing” emotional insight was there all along, locked away and inaccessible in the mind? “A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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