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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 Hardcover – Jan 3 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (Jan. 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439189714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439189719
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“David Finch has Asperger Syndrome – a disorder that, in some ways, means ‘acting like a guy.’ His often-hilarious efforts to understand and cope with his condition will resonate with every guy whose wife has ever asked him, ‘What the hell were you THINKING?’”
--Dave Barry, author of I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood

“I loved The Journal of Best Practices by fellow Aspergian David Finch. This book perfectly captures the essence of succeeding at married life from the perspective of an Aspergian male. If you're in an AS-NT relationship—or any relationship--you absolutely must read this book! It's an upbeat and refreshing change.”
–John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In the Eye

“Hilarious. Gives some of the finest explications of Asperger’s out there… a primer of sorts for all of us on how to be better partners.”

--People Magazine, 4-star review

“What makes the book compelling is how funny Mr. Finch is about himself. He’s great company.”

--The New York Times

“Extremely amusing and compelling…This poignant memoir is a great read for those with Asperger Syndrome and the neurotypical alike.”

--Shelf Awareness

"A remarkable love story and a fascinating account of how two people saved a marriage."
--Columbus Dispatch

"Funny, moving and insightful."
--Kirkus Reviews

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.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This self examination is written with wonderful humour while struggling with a brain wired differently in that empathy, tolerance, socializing & 'going with the flow' are alias concepts. Fortunately, with "the love of a good woman" with amazing patience, & solid friendship that came before romance, he has a champion on his side. Due to the quirkiness of his condition, there is interpretive license towards humour in the telling - by the one who has it, but we also receive an insider's honesty of the drama & chaos he inflicts upon those he loves, & is deeply wounded by his self-loathing.

His eagerness & commitment into changing so as to be worthy of his wife, & a present being in his children's world, makes him incredibly endearing because he has to work against his own impulses or learn 'normal' behaviours without OCD tendencies.

Quite truthfully, this is a funny memoir - meant (it's not ME laughing inappropriately!) to be humorously conveyed...with a Sally meets Harry (Hairy!) or Helen Hunt with Jack Nicholson's character's OCD/Asper type quirks. Except this is reality & will more than likely inspire those with, or without, this condition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So appreciative of the author sharing his and his wife's experiences in dealing with Aspergers in their marriage! I would recommend this to any couple where one person has Aspergers, as much can be learned his "lessons learned". Even for those who are not struggling with Aspergers, seeing how he implemented various "best practices" from his newfound understanding of himself (diagnosed as an adult) can inspire other members of a couple to make whatever necessary changes to their marriage practices in order to improve their marriage relationship.
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Format: Paperback
First book I bought about Autism/Asperger after realizing I was and it is now full of post-it (because I don't underline in my books) pointing out the bits that resonated with me. I felt a connection to someone else for the first time in a long time while reading this book. If you think you are or if you know people who are autistic, reading this might give you a good insight on how our brain works. Of course everyone if different and have different ways of being, but if you add this to other information, it is a good step.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 390 reviews
138 of 142 people found the following review helpful
Memoir of a Marriage of a Remarkable Couple Jan. 7 2012
By O. Merce Brown - Published on
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.
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
So honest and funny Jan. 22 2012
By BookLover - Published on
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.
67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Best Practices is the Best Jan. 17 2012
By A. Lamas - Published on
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.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The Insight I Was Seeking Into My AS Husband's Mind Feb. 25 2012
By Sherri - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is quite unique compared to the other AS books out there. It provided me with exactly what I wanted... an understanding of what it's like to have AS and be a married man having severe marital problems. I did not want another book telling me the definition, the list of symptoms, etc... but a true account of someone who deals with AS, as an Aspie, daily. I wanted to know the "insider" stuff. I wanted to know how married males see things, IF there was an AS married man on the planet who would actually attempt to address some of the issues in a marriage (seems to go against their AS nature, as far as I have seen), and IF one DID attempt to address the issues what issues would they feel needed addressed and how would they go about addressing them? (See my note below for why I really wanted to read something like this...better communication during divorce) This book is quite remarkable and was written by an AS man who became determined to save his marriage. He recounts in great detail his challenges and how he faced, and ultimately overcame, what he and his wife determined to be the major problem areas. Often times his way of dealing with an issue was unusual, but by seeing how he knew and used what worked for him those of us NT's in the world can see just how resilient and adaptable those with AS really are (Yes, they ARE adaptable!). The author's amount of effort and thought and downright perseverance leaves you cheering him on and hoping, if their is justice in the world, that he will succeed. His personal limitations, daily routines, and feelings of loneliness, etc... are very candidly described, all leading (me anyway) to a far better understanding of an AS mind. His willingness to share so much about himself was very moving, and helpful. For those with AS, whether they intend to attempt to "address" some issues or not, I would think that this book would provide understanding. It would let you know that you are not alone, and that it IS possible to make life easier for yourself (and those around you). In fact by the end of the book the author is actually having fun in social situations, something he had always dreaded in the past. Life was far easier for him and his wife, he learned how to "connect" to his children, and at an absolute minimum was able to see what others experienced when they were with him. Instead of constantly being fearful of what others thought of him he learned to appreciate himself for who he was. In the case of my husband I could see where this alone would help his feelings of low self esteem. I really admire the author for his willingness to share his personal life with others, and the incredible efforts he went to solely for the purpose of helping his wife be happy. I know what things are like from the NT side of a marriage and his resolve, among other things, taught me that those with AS CAN care. They can care a great deal. Thank you for teaching me that. I would have been happy with the book if I had learned nothing else.

One other note: I have decided against purchasing many other AS books because the reviews or description made them sound like a self-help kind of book that was supposed to help me understand my husband, learn to forgive him, suck it up and live with far less expectations, and save my marriage. Hogwash. I did NOT want to save my marriage and was not looking for a book that would help do so. In fact when I purchased this book I purchased several on divorce at the same time. My only purpose in getting this book was to hopefully learn something that might enable me to talk to my husband for more than 10 seconds without being screamed at. We have 2 children together and even divorced we would need to talk to each other. I just wanted to be able to talk constructively occasionally, and perhaps limit a little of the abuse. In honestly my AS husband seems like a real jerk... selfish with no empathy or compassion. He lives in his own world and cares nothing (seemingly anyway) for anyone but himself. His behavior can be incredibly odd, he never lifts a finger to help me but constantly complains that I do to much. Basically he is everything you do not want in a husband...the absolute opposite in every way of hardworking, gentle, affectionate, loving and kind. He is a verbally abusive alcoholic and after 26 years of this our children are grown and I am done. Well... maybe not quite done. The book, even though I didn't want it to, made me see some things I didn't see before, primarily just how difficult life is for those with AS. I thought I understood before that they didn't do things to hurt people but simply didn't know any better (sounds good but difficult to believe when being very personally attacked), but perhaps there is more to it than that. I suppose that the author, by being so forthcoming about his own feelings and struggles, gave me hope that men with AS can adapt themselves to living with NT's if they want to bad enough. Will my husband be willing to work a fraction as hard as the author did? We'll see, but for now at least I know that a man with AS IS capable of caring. That's huge. If they can care, and maybe my husband does care somewhere deep inside his strangely wired brain and seemingly missing heart, there's a glimmer of hope that he will care enough to try. Lord knows I am willing to help... and I do have a little patience left.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Awesome March 24 2012
By Tico - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an Aspi husband going through a tough time in my marriage, this book opened my eyes clearly and so easily...I read parts of it to my wife and she was scared of how similar he and I are.

No it will not fix your marriage, but to the Aspi, it will show a glimpse of what he/she needs to do and to their partner what the Aspi goes through as well if he/she is willing to work at it.