Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers
“I believe those of us with Asperger’s are here for a reason, and we have much to offer. This book will help you bring out those gifts.”
In his bestselling memoir, Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison described growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis didn’t exist. He was intelligent but socially isolated; his talents won him jobs with toy makers and rock bands but did little to endear him to authority figures and classmates, who were put off by his inclination to blurt out non sequiturs and avoid eye contact.
By the time he was diagnosed at age forty, John had already developed a myriad of coping strategies that helped him achieve a seemingly normal, even highly successful, life. In Be Different, Robison shares a new batch of endearing stories
about his childhood, adolescence, and young adult years, giving the reader a rare window into the Aspergian mind.
In each story, he offers practical advice—for Aspergians and indeed for anyone who feels “different”—on how to improve the weak communication and social skills that keep so many people from taking full advantage of their often remarkable gifts. With his trademark honesty and unapologetic eccentricity, Robison addresses questions like:
• How to read others and follow their behaviors when in uncertain social situations
• Why manners matter
• How to harness your powers of concentration to master difficult skills
• How to deal with bullies
• When to make an effort to fit in, and when to embrace eccentricity
• How to identify special gifts and use them to your advantage
Every person, Aspergian or not, has something unique to offer the world, and every person has the capacity to create strong, loving bonds with their friends and family. Be Different will help readers and those they love find their path to success.
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Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & TeachersUser Review - Book Verdict
In his second autobiographic work on Asperger's syndrome (a milder version of autism), following his Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, Robison includes additional episodes while providing "actionable advice" intended to help explain Asperger's. He uses short chapters to showcase different character traits of Asperger's; some are quite strong, such as his account of his nonemotional reaction to a horrific automobile accident. Many of the chapters, however, are weak and lack real value. He discusses at great length and with no clear purpose why the nicknames he provides are more appropriate than given names. The book has a good deal of useful content but repeats his chronological first work in a topical fashion. Many of the stories appear in both books, and there is only a bit of new material here for readers of his first title. VERDICT While Robison provides a nice understanding of the Asperger's mind, this follow-up does not adequately supplement his previous work. It is recommended only for libraries with comprehensive autism and Asperger's collections. Others should have Look Me in the Eye.—Corey Seeman, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian, with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, and Their ParentsUser Review - Book Verdict
We first met Robison in brother Augusten Burroughs's eye-popping Running with Scissors. Then Robison himself spoke up, detailing his life with Asperger's syndrome in the best-selling Look Me in the Eye. Here he uses examples from his own life to advise Aspergians and their parents—including his "Mom Army" of over 10,000 online followers—and also shares recent scientific research. There's an audience; this syndrome is increasingly in the news.
Aspergers and Me
Rituals Manners and Quirks
Wh1ts in a Name?
Mind Your Manners
A Reason to Care
Vihat Are You Afraid Of?
Dealing with Bullies
Getting Chosen and Becoming Choosable I 53
Tuned In Sensitivity to the Nonhuman
Managing Sensory Overload I 81
A Xalk in the Woods
Finding Your Gifts
What Is Love?
Making and Keeping Friends
Feeling Bad ll5
Keeping Cool in a Crisis
Getting Along with Others
The Art of Conversation