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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 Paperback


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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 + 22 Things a Woman Must Know: If She Loves a Man With Asperger's Syndrome + Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439189749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439189740
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“In relating his story, Finch is compellingly honest, a trait that works well with his self-deprecating humor. [His] ability to put his experiences on paper will no doubt help more people—and families—understand [Asperger’s disorder]. “

--Publishers Weekly

“In this funny, endearing, lesson-packed memoir, Finch shows what a couple

can accomplish with acceptance, forbearance, determination and love.”

— More Magazine

“As a science writer who’s written about the psychology of love and affection, I was struck by the clarity and honesty that illuminate this work. Finch provides a clear and unflinching look at the ways that this disorder leaves a person struggling to navigate through the complexities of our “neurotypical” social world. But he tells his story with humor, affection for others, and without self-pity. In his deep desire to be a good husband, a better father, a decent human being who connects with and care for others, Finch tells a universal tale, a fulfilling and even inspiring story of the difference that love – genuinely giving love - can make in our daily lives.”

--Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

About the Author

David Finch grew up on a farm in northern Illinois and attended the University of Miami, where he studied Music Engineering Technology. In 2008 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. His essay, “Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy” appeared in The New York Times and became the basis for this book. David lives in northern Illinois with his wife Kristen and two children and is still a total nerd.

More About the Author

David Finch grew up on a farm in northern Illinois. He earned a degree in music engineering at the University of Miami, where he stunned the locals with his gleaming, pasty white skin, then returned to Illinois, where he worked as an audio engineer and studied sketch-comedy writing at the Second City in Chicago. He and his wife, Kristen, married in 2003, and in 2008, David was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. His essay "Somewhere Inside, A Path To Empathy" appeared in The New York Times and became the basis for his first book, The Journal of Best Practices. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and Psychology Today. David lives in northern Illinois with Kristen and their two children.

More information about booking David for lectures and other private appearances, including book clubs, can be found on his website: www.davidfinchwriter.com

Customer Reviews

This is an informative and enjoyable book to read.
Cindy
If you'd like to read about how they did that, and you'd like to see the world through the eyes of someone with AS, you will certainly enjoy this book.
O. Brown
This book is a must read for anyone with questions about Asperger Syndrome.
Christopher C Bacon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By O. Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
*****
This is a great story, a memoir of an experiment in which the author, recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, works really, really hard on his marriage and his role as a husband and father of two young children. As an engineer, he believes that if he can apply the same dedication and to his marriage that he has historically applied to his job (in which he is very successful), he can achieve success and happiness in his personal life as well. It's written in a tender, honest, and humorous style, and is worth the read not just for those of us who are interested in AS, but for anyone who would enjoy the story of a man overcoming obstacles and prevailing.

It is of note that although the author always knew that he was different from other people, he never knew that he had AS until after he was married and his problems began to destroy his marriage. His wife, who is a speech therapist, helped his to suspect this diagnosis, which was then verified by medical professionals.

We only see his wife through his eyes, but this is her story too, and in many ways, this book is his love letter to her.

I chose this book to read because my husband is quite eccentric with many problems similar to the author's, and although he does not currently have an AS diagnosis (and probably never will), I thought it would be interesting to see how someone who was not neurologically typical and who is very articulate about himself views life. It was indeed a fascinating read.

The author is to be commended for working very hard on his marriage and being so generous to share about it in this memoir; his wife is a delight and a joy to love her husband deeply and with strong boundaries. This couple figured out how to get through life together and be happy. If you'd like to read about how they did that, and you'd like to see the world through the eyes of someone with AS, you will certainly enjoy this book.

Highly recommended.
*****
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By BookLover on January 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
About 2 days before stumbling upon this book, I bombed the very online Aspie quiz the author references in chapter 1 of this book. Honestly, I was laughing so hard at this chapter that I had to take a break. It is possibly the hardest I've ever laughed at a book. Oh, to be understood!

I was officially diagnosed a few days after that and one of the first things my doc said was, "You're probably kind of hard to be married to. You might need a little help with that." Who knew this book would actually be a powerful tool, too? I only bought it because it was funny. Now I can use it as a reference guide.

I don't think you'd have to be an Aspie to get a kick out of this book. Sensitivity levels seem to be imbalanced between many spouses. I'd think Best Practices could be cathartic and educational for the insensitive types. And I'd have to assume it would be a healing read for the people married to them, because Finch does an excellent job illustrating that he can and does love, regardless of the fact that he has a tendency to bungle the expression of it.

I admire Finch's guts. He bares it all.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A. Lamas on January 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Normally I don't seek out books about marriage, being happily divorced myself, but I do enjoy memoir. Intrigued by the title, I decided to give The Journal of Best Practices a go. Wow! I was totally pulled in from the first sentence and the thrall just kept on coming. The author, David Finch, is one kooky, awesome, hilarious dude and although I can't say I'd like being married to an Aspie, I do appreciate a helluva great story, writing that sails, humor both silly and droll and warts and all truthfulness. Here is a man who wants to save his marriage and loves his neurotypical wife so much (she loves him back as fully) he's willing to try and re-wire his hard-wire. Prepare to laugh out loud. Prepare to enter the mind of an Aspie and learn about Asperger Syndrome. Prepare to mull over your own behavior and quirks. This is a book about the Finches getting back their pre-marriage friendship and love and "getting" each other again. (The author has some major challenges to overcome; hence the journal of the best ways to approach a problem.) Bottom line, Best Practices is a love story. Wherever we all are on the human spectrum, isn't that what we're looking for? I loved this book. Bet you will, too.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DanJM on January 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am a 53 year old male about 6 years out from an Asperger's diagnosis. I think it is wonderful that someone as articulate as David has sat down and written a book like this. It's the kind of book I wish I could write.

We were 10 years into our marriage when I got my diagnosis. Just the fact that both of us knowing that the behaviors are caused by a neurological condition and not thoughtlessness or "not caring" has made a huge difference in our marriage. David does an excellent job of verbalizing the frustration of knowing that you are "screwing up", and not knowing why or how to prevent it. This book, along with the movie "Adam", are like owners manuals for anyone in a relationship with someone with Aspergers.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wendy A. B. Whipple on January 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I read The Journal of Best Practices, sort of as research; I suspect I may be an undiagnosed aspie, myself. In Finch's memoir, I caught uncomfortable glimpses of myself, of some of the difficulties I've had in my almost twenty year marriage (this year is our 20th).

Best Practices is funny. Finch has a great way with words. Some people might be turned off by the profanity, but I found it refreshing. It's raw, it's real, and his desperation to "fix" himself to be a better husband in spite of his Asperger brain is clear. The title comes from his habit of writing notes to remind himself of what he's supposed to do, "Always be her friend." The sort of things that most spouses have already learned to do, are very challenging for him. Empathy is something that eludes him; he struggles to understand it, and learn how to be empathic.

I'm not sure that everyone who has a relationship they're trying to repair will find it practical to keep a nightstand drawer full of scribbled notes. However, it's definitely a story of triumph, of one man's goal to be a better husband and succeeding. His wife, a speech pathologist, and something of an expert in autism (and the one who suggested he get a formal diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, after an informal quiz she gave him) had her hands full when his rather obsessive personality caused him to attack the problem with a little more zeal than she could comfortably handle. (He insisted that she give him a job performance review, based on how he was coming along with his Best Practices.)

I liked the book, I liked Finch and his wife, and I loved the fact that they approached his diagnosis with an "aha!" instead of "oh no!" When I finished the book, I was left with a feeling of satisfaction and optimism. He did it, or rather, is DOING it. He's never going to be NT (neurotypical) and they will always have a mixed-brain marriage, but they're making it work.
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