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Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism [Paperback]

Temple Grandin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 26 2010 Vintage
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one-third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autism--because Temple Grandin is autistic, a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us.

In this unprecedented book, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectivies of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity.

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"I hardly know what to say about this remarkable book. . . . It provides a way to understand the many kinds of sentience, human and animal, that adorn the earth." --Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

"There are innumerable astounding facets to this remarkable book. . . . Displaying uncanny powers of observation . . . [Temple Grandin] charts the differences between her life and the lives of those who think in words." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A uniquely fascinating view not just of autism but of animal--and human--thinking and feeling, [providing] insights that can only be called wisdom." --Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand

"How does a true marvel let you know it has arrived?. . . . It's hard to imagine even an intellect as towering as Sacks's coming up wtih perceptions as rare and completely out of left field as Grandin herself does in this mind-blowing book." --Newsday

"Temple Grandin's window onto the subjective experience of autism is of value to all of us who hope to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind by exploring the ways in which it responds to the world's challenges." --The Washington Times

"Temple Grandin, the anthropologist from Mars, takes us on a journey through her inner life and, with exquisite scientific detail, offers us a near photograph of the workings of her visual mind." --John Ratey, coauthor of Driven to Distinction

"Temple Grandin's legacy is the invaluable gift of compassion. This is a journey of courage, determination, and, above all, worth. Society is the better for Temple Grandin having left her mark on it." --Alex Pacheco, President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

"Thinking in Pictures is a beautiful book. . . . Grandin has created a beautifully odd and fascinating picture of her life and mind, and her abiding love of animals." --Elle

"A tireless researcher with a bionic memory and a superb education, no one can write wtih Temple's authority because nobody knows as much as she does! This is an outstanding book that every parent and professional in the field of special needs will want to read, and the general reader will acquire a new appreciation of autism, its liabilities, and its formidable assets." --Annabel Stehli, author of The Sound of a Miracle

"Even Sacks's fine writing about autism does not really compare to writing from within autism, because autism is a disorder of interiority. . . . Grandin has replaced the teleology of autobiography with something much closer to her heart: a diagram, in this case a diagram of her own mind." --Voice Literary Supplement

About the Author

Temple Grandin has a Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois and has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States, and many in other countries. She is currently an associate professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University and a frequent lecturer at autism meetings throughout the country. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking in Pictures April 10 2004
I have no connection with autism. This book was recommended to me because I cannot think in pictures; my mind works with ideas and words. Temple Grandin has written a book about a way of thinking that is so alien to me she might as well be from a different planet. Absolutely amazing. I did not know that the world could be seen from this perspective. This book has changed the way I try to see the world. No TV program or lecture will cause you to shake your head in bewilderment like this book.
Temple Grandin is the Helen Keller of the 21st Century. Only her words can describe the world she lives in. Or maybe pictures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography About Autism and Animals Feb. 22 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Temple Grandin grew up with Asperger's Syndrome before it was understood by anyone but a handful of researchers. She has turned her insights and special interest in animal science into a successful career designing livestock handling systems. She claims that the image-based thinking of the autism spectrum is similar to the language-free thought processes of animals. This insight leads to interesting conclusions about communication.

The book weaves together accounts of Grandin's life and the development of knowledge about autism. Its eleven chapters are organized by autism topics and cover visual thinking, diagnosis, sensory problems, emotion, developing talents, treatments, relationships, connecting with animals, animal thinking, autism and genius, and religion. Temple Grandin provides a clear, readable account of scientific findings supplemented by experiences from her life. This expanded version includes updated information about autism spectrum causes, diagnosis, and treatment that have become available since the book was originally published in 1996.

The author is candid about her life's hard-won lessons. She also shares the things which bring her the greatest satisfaction and what these insights may mean for others. A sample:

- Her innovative design of a "squeeze machine" to restrain cattle is based on how calming she found gentle pressure as a child.
- Temple visualized large transitions in her life as stepping through a doorway--and often found an actual doorway to step through and reduce the stress of change.
- One way to get a feel for visual, associational thinking is to play with the Google search engine for images.
Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Thought-provoking! Jan. 15 2009
By edrm
I admire Temple Grandin's way of thinking - visual thinking, which draws my attention. Although she had a speech delay in her childhood, she can turn every word she heard into pictures, where I believe she can make the gist of the framework. Then she usually turns it into the whole picture. Dr. Grandin does it every day, which has made her an avid thinker and has reinforced her imagination skill. It seems so effective to me because I think she organizes many pictures in her brain to get her message across. Therefore, she understands animals quite well, because autistic people, esp. non-verbal ones and animals basically rely on visions instead of using words. She couldn't become what she is now if she were an NT person, I'd say.

I wasn't quite sure if I talked about some scenes of Dr. Grandin's seminar on my review of The Way I See It, but I didn't expect she would make such articulate presentations. Many people with Asperger's/autism are likely to be so nervous in public; I must admit that's a stereotypical idea because she has made a lot of effort to socialize by meeting her mentor, her science teacher at high school. And that motivated her to study animal science and now she teaches that at Colorado State Univ. Also she has made a bunch of presentations on Asperger's/autism.

After all this book made me think twice about developmental impairments - Even challenged people can have opportunities to succeed in life. They might be able to make the best use of their potentials NT people have never thought of!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a bird's eye view Feb. 10 2006
Temple gives us neuro-typicals a birds eye view into the world of autism. As a parent a question I found my self asking was "why do they do that?" and Temple explains very well the world she lives in. It gave me a better understanding into the world of my son. Definitely, a keeper. Thank you Temple Grandin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Feb. 8 2005
This book opened up my eyes to what life might be like with autism. Temple Grandin has an amazing honesty and a commendable willingness to share her world. To any parent/caregiver who is looking for information about autism, I would recommend this book along with Tanis Morran's "A Place Within the Sphere" as the best starting point on the way to gaining a broad understanding of how different, challenging and wonderful life can be for these people. How much there is to learn from these amazing people!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer for understanding autism March 14 2004
I borrowed this book from a parent of an autistic child when I began working with autistic students in the public school system. It was invaluable to my understanding autism. Ms. Grandin gives an inside look at autism and not only outlines the challenges, but also gives possible benefits. If you are a parent of an autistic child, work in the public school system, or merely wish to understand autism better; I highly recommend this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
The book focuses on cattle. It is an eye-opener to the treatment of the cattle. The lies and the hurts by the Wealthy owners and Caregivers. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2011 by toby
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read
Temple Grandin is a high-functioning autistic (i.e., she has Asperger Syndrome). This book is her explanation of what it's like to live as an autistic, and how that life has given... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2010 by A. Volk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into the autistic mind
In some passages, Ms. Grandin reflects on her humanity, her mortality and directly addresses her difficulties. I cannot wait to read her other books. Just wonderful.
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Mike Citykin
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting...
An interesting autobiography of an autistic women who has achieved much in her career as a brilliant scientist in animal husbandry, who has designed machinery to make the slaughter... Read more
Published on June 15 2003 by Gary Selikow
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read
I find I usually loose interest in books that are not novels quickly. Temple's writing and life experiences shared in this book are so interesting I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on April 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Candid Look into the Mind of a Brilliant Woman
I have only recently learned enough about Autism
to understand that affected individuals
share some of the attributes of Bipolar and ADD. Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by Leslie A. Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars An articulate account of a wordless life.
As a father of a two year old diagnosed with autism/PDD, I was encouraged and amazed by Ms. Grandin's articulate account of her professional and personal lives. Read more
Published on March 6 2003 by David Jones
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