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Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions Kindle Edition
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“A powerful and provocative testament to the diverse coalition of minds we’ll need to face the mounting challenges of the twenty-first century.” —Steve Silberman
“An absolute eye-opener.” —Frans de Waal
A landmark book that reveals, celebrates, and advocates for the special minds and contributions of visual thinkers
A quarter of a century after her memoir, Thinking in Pictures, forever changed how the world understood autism, Temple Grandin—the “anthropologist on Mars,” as Oliver Sacks dubbed her—transforms our awareness of the different ways our brains are wired. Do you have a keen sense of direction, a love of puzzles, the ability to assemble furniture without crying? You are likely a visual thinker.
With her genius for demystifying science, Grandin draws on cutting-edge research to take us inside visual thinking. Visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed, she reveals, and a more varied one, from the photo-realistic object visualizers like Grandin herself, with their intuitive knack for design and problem solving, to the abstract, mathematically inclined “visual spatial” thinkers who excel in pattern recognition and systemic thinking. She also makes us understand how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing over them in the workplace. Rather than continuing to waste their singular gifts, driving a collective loss in productivity and innovation, Grandin proposes new approaches to educating, parenting, employing, and collaborating with visual thinkers. In a highly competitive world, this important book helps us see, we need every mind on board.
“Ms. Grandin has. . . written an indictment of America for its witting or unwitting dismissal of those hidden gifts. . . . Ms. Grandin crafts a strong depiction of visual thinking, assembling personal history, historical anecdotes, scientific studies and societal trends. At stake is more than manufacturing, but a vivid recognition of the full breadth of human ingenuity.” —Wall Street Journal
“All of us could benefit from realizin that we need different kinds of minds to solve society's biggest problems. Hopefully this book will inspire readers to look at the world in different ways so that we might better recognize the many assets each of us brings to the table.” —Science
“Drawing on cutting-edge research, the history of science, recent discoveries in creativity and innovation, and her own lived experience, Grandin has created a powerful and provocative testament to the diverse coalition of minds we'll need to face the mounting challenges of the twenty-first century.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
“Those who believe that human intelligence rests on language are in for a sophisticated lesson from Temple Grandin, who better than anyone knows all the other ways of grasping the world. An absolute eye-opener.” —Frans de Waal, author of Mama’s Last Hug and Different
“Temple Grandin has concocted a delicious dish of provocative ideas and new research, served in clear, logical, fluid prose. What I love most about her work is herseamless fusion of scientific detachment and passionate empathy.” —Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
“If you want to understand how a self- described 'visual thinker' apprehends, understands, and explains the world, Temple Grandin's fine book is for you.” —Howard Gardner, author of Multiple Intelligences and Frames of Mind
Praise for Temple Grandin:
“We’re lucky to have Temple Grandin.” —The New York Times
“Temple Grandin may well think in pictures, but she has mastered the written word.” —Los Angeles Times
“An iconic example of someone who puts her strengths, and even her limitations, to good use.”
—KQED, San Francisco
- ASIN : B09Q89CG86
- Publisher : Riverhead Books (October 11, 2022)
- Publication date : October 11, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 3051 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 352 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #19,810 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I would have given this book 4.8 stars, had the rating system allowed it. My rating of 4 stars does not take away from how interesting and important this book is.
Comments that might lead to improvements:
1. The quality of the writing might have improved had the book been written as a full collaboration with a verbal thinker. Although the book is broadly well organized into 7 sections, readers who think sequentially will sometimes find the organization less than ideal. As an example, the author says that an animal recognizing itself in a mirror is viewed by many scientists as
“…the gold standard for the highest level of animal consciousness: self-awareness. If you have a dog, you’ve probably noticed that upon seeing its reflection, it will either bark or not react at all, and never get past this stage” (p.258).
Now, an experience in my own life contradicts this conclusion about consciousness. On one ordinary day, our dog Meg was chasing a rabbit up our long driveway. The rabbit circled back clockwise and ran right in front of Meg. But Meg was hot on the rabbit’s scent trail. Instead of following the rabbit, she took the same clockwise loop in her pursuit. (She did not catch the rabbit.)
Because of this observation, I don’t take the mirror test as saying much about dog consciousness. It is not until page 266 that the author writes
“The reason dogs do not engage with their image in the mirror is likely because their primary senses for socializing are smell and hearing, with vision a distant third.”
Placing all these sentences in one paragraph (on p.258, with the reference to scientists’ “gold standard”), along with other evidence of dog consciousness, would improve the reader’s experience.
2. Throughout the book, Dr. Grandin often repeats the same concepts and stories, such as the observations she made when visiting cattle chutes.
3. Each chapter opens with drawings of cattle handling facilities, presumably drawn by the author. As you may know, she has worked extensively for slaughter houses, and, if you love animals, you would want to know at the very beginning of the book how she reconciles this life choice while claiming to be an animal lover herself. She provides a reasonable, intelligent answer, but you won’t find it until page 272.
4. Temple Grandin is both a visual thinker and autistic. As a child and young adult, she was treated unkindly, unfairly, and sometimes abusively because of the ways she processed information. I am therefore somewhat sympathetic when I read what I see as incomplete, biased, or inaccurate descriptions of some of the individuals she uses as examples. For example, she referred to Thomas Edison as the inventor of over one thousand devices. Biographies and the description in Wikipedia say that
“Edison was legally credited with most of the inventions produced there [Menlo Park], though many employees carried out research and development under his direction. His staff was generally told to carry out his directions in conducting research, and he drove them hard to produce results.”
Dr. Grandin seems enamored of Elon Musk. She omits the fact that Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning actually founded Tesla, Incorporated. Musk is a successful businessman and showman, but he is not an inventor.
5. The book focuses primarily on two kinds of visual thinking and contrasts it to verbal thinking. However, a more complete description of other modes of thinking would have enriched the book and better engaged readers. For example, my step-mother had an extraordinary auditory memory. This ability enabled her to vividly and precisely recall the words she heard spoken. She said it was almost like a recording, along with a memory of where and when she heard those words. The same thing applied to song melodies and lyrics.
6. Another example that Grandin omits is people who “think” kinesthetically. Those are the people who become dancers, Olympic wrestlers, and gymnasts.
7. I have no doubt that computer programming is an area where Temple Grandin’s Spatial Visual thinkers excel (p.178). What she does not reveal is that even for relatively simple programming tasks, the algorithms that each computer programmer creates is usually a unique solution. Analysis of each algorithm is needed in order to discover precisely how each programmer’s mind is unique.
It’s likely that individuals think and experience the world in many ways, each of which is on a continuum. Many of these differences remain hidden. Dividing people simply into the book’s categories of verbal, object visual, and spatial visual, is overly simplistic. However, Temple Grandin’s Visual Thinking calls attention to some of the ways different people think. Hopefully, by doing so, more people will value these differences.
This book starts off seemingly as an apology for the ill behavior inflicted upon autistic people and perhaps those neurotypicals with special abilities, by the mainstream educational system which has seemingly betrayed them !!!
She goes on and on about how these children are an elemental necessity to the survival of humanity, but I was thinking that all of these jobs that she was insisting our being held vacant by this prejudice against the autistic spectrum are actually being filled by reasonably competent people, so that this claim of hers may not have to weight that she think it does ( ? )
One odd thing is that she and many others that may be characterized as neurodivergent have often talked about how they're bullied as children, and I've often thought that it's extremely odd that I never experienced anything like that at all !!! In fact I have rationalized it as the politeness of Bullies, or as some kind of code that they must adhere to ??? And it would work like this; I suppose many people think that the weekend defenseless are the first victims of bullies, but it was my experience that they perceived that I was too fragile for their attentions and so they left me alone, or it may have been-- and this is probably the more realistic solution, is that I just happened to go to a grade school that had very few, if any bullies...?
Then after that; the second half of the book just goes off into a lot of different directions and not really sure what she was trying to get at, just a lot of how the brain and emotions work and she would often cite cases where her special ability to think visually allowed her to see solutions to problems that ordinary people... ( which I personally like to call The Damp Masses or possibly Muggles ! ( I've been told that both of these however are considered very derogatory and I'm not supposed to do that ! ) ) ... Are unable to do, essentially this visual thinking ability is like a superpower, but her claims often seem severely untested ???
All in all; a nice enough book.