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Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism Paperback – Print, January 26, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

Oliver Sacks calls Temple Grandin's first book--and the first picture of autism from the inside--"quite extraordinary, unprecedented and, in a way, unthinkable." Sacks told part of her story in his An Anthropologist on Mars, and in Thinking in Pictures Grandin returns to tell her life history with great depth, insight, and feeling. Grandin told Sacks, "I don't want my thoughts to die with me. I want to have done something ... I want to know that my life has meaning ... I'm talking about things at the very core of my existence." Grandin's clear exposition of what it is like to "think in pictures" is immensely mind-broadening and basically destroys a whole school of philosophy (the one that declares language necessary for thought). Grandin, who feels she can "see through a cow's eyes," is an influential designer of slaughterhouses and livestock restraint systems. She has great insight into human-animal relations. It would be mere justice if Thinking in Pictures transforms the study of religious feeling, too. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her second autobiographical volume (after Emergence: Labelled Autistic), Grandin, a high-functioning autistic profiled by Oliver Sacks in his recent book, An Anthropologist on Mars, offers a series of original, linked essays on her life and work. An assistant professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, her heightened ability to visualize allows her to make sense of the world by constructing concrete visual metaphors; for her, every concept must be tied into her nonverbal "video library" of particular people, places and associations. By thus enabling Grandin to put herself in the place of cows and other animals, her visual imagination has helped her to design humane livestock-processing equipment (these designs have been so effective that they now handle one-third of the nation's cattle and hogs). Throughout these essays, Grandin blends personal anecdotes with plainspoken accounts of scientific approaches to autism and methods of treatment, like drug therapy and a "squeeze machine" she invented to modify sensory stimulation. Although her prose is uneven, her insights and achievements are astonishing. Ultimately, Grandin finds within science and autism the basis for belief in God, given that her designs, which spring from her powers of visualization, reduce suffering and promote calm in both the animals and herself. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Second Edition edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307739589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307739582
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Temple Grandin is one of the world's most accomplished and well known adults with autism. She has a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois and is a professor at Colorado State University. She is the author of six books, including the national bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation. Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism, and her work has been covered in the New York Times, People, National Public Radio, and 20/20. Most recently she was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of the year. The HBO movie based on her life, starring Claire Danes, received seven Emmy Awards.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 138 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a must-read book for parents, professionals, and teenagers/adults living with autism (it is not appropriate for younger readers). It is easy to read, entertaining and informative. Readers will come away with a greater understanding of autism and how widely the spectrum of autistic disorders can vary, as well as what to do to help someone with autism.
Ms. Grandin's greatest gift lies in her ability to understand both the worlds of non-autistics and autistics alike. Using her personal experiences as well as significant contributions from other people, she explains how baffling the world is to a person with autistism, in terms of unwritten social codes, our reliance on verbal thinking, relationships, appearances, etc. She discusses concrete ways in which autistics can be helped to integrate with society -- in families, friendships, other relationships, schools, and jobs.
Her chapter on medication is valuable, discussing how autism often requires different doses than are commonly prescribed. This is information that isn't readily available unless you are working with a physician who has extensive experience with autistic patients. Since an autistic person is highly sensitive, the effects of behavior modification medications are often amplified, requiring a lower dose. Particular attention needs to be given to medication combinations.
There is also information on many of the related disorders that often accompany autism, such as sensory integration disorders, Tourrette's Syndrome, ADD, etc. Everything is written from the perspective of the autistic with Ms. Grandin acting as translator.
Besides being informative, the book is optimistic in its view of autism. Ms. Grandin plainly credits autism for her success in her chosen profession.
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128 of 133 people found the following review helpful By T. Burgess on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely amazing. I have 2 children with Asperger's and Temple Grandin's insight into why people with autism have certain behaviors was eye-opening. It also gave me a whole new perspective on what thought processes may effect their ability to learn abstract things and socialize with others. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Even if you don't personally know someone with autism it can certainly give you a first-hand look at how different people think differently.
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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Clinton B. Mckinlay on September 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have a 6-year-old autistic son. Though we love him tremendously, my wife and I have struggled greatly in raising him. This breakthrough book has helped us approach our interactions with him in a more effective manner. It also sheds precious insight into the autistic world for any curious or thoughtful person with an interest to know more. Thank you Temple Grandin for your remarkable achievements in life, which give us great hope for our son. And thank for giving us invaluable perspective on autism. You have blessed the lives of countless people.
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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Lynetta Anne on November 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whether you know anyone with Asperger's or not, this book will enlighten and expand your thinking about how minds work and what it means to be human. As in most areas, most people assume that other people think and perceive the same way that they do, and that this is the "only right way to do it." But when everyone thinks the same way, break-through thinking is almost impossible.

Reading this book I wondered if, without the awe-inspiring differences, we would have ever moved out of mud huts. It seems to me that the lessons stretch far beyond what it means to have Aspergers, although learning what that means is an incredible gift.

We need to treat our differences with awe, wonder and respect and recognize how people who are "differently wired" have helped to shape our world.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Peggy on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin (page cites)
Emergence: Labeled Autistic, by Temple Grandin
The Way I See It, by Temple Grandin

These are excellent books for anyone dealing with autistic people. Temple Grandin, Ph.D. describes her own autism in Thinking in Pictures, with her brain's profound difference from other people's. Oliver Sacks, the brilliant neurologist, says "Temple does not romanticize autism, nor does she downplay how much her autism has cut her off " from others (xviii). For her words are a second language; basically her perceptions, her understanding of the world is in pictures. Emergence is devoted to her early childhood while Thinking concentrates more on her adult life. She used her faculties successfully and now one-third of cattle and hogs in the United States are processed in systems she has designed. To design this equipment, Temple uses her special visual thinking abilities to examine blue-print simulations three-dimensionally. She can run images over and over in her head, from different angles, to study them and improve their design.

After talking with hundreds of families and individuals with autism or Asperger's, Temple has come to see three basic categories of specialized brains: visual thinkers, music and math (or pattern) thinkers, and verbal logic thinkers, and recommends that there be more educational emphasis on building the strengths of each individual rather than trying to repair deficits. Each group brings its own strengths. After briefly describing her own early childhood behavior, Temple notes that within each brain pattern category there are different levels of ability, from high performing to savant, from Asperger's to Kanner-type autism.
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