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.
"For anyone who has difficulty fitting in, this book is fantastic."--Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures.
"In a love poem to his wife, Pedro Salinas, the Spanish poet, wrote, 'Glory to the differences / between you and me.' John Robison teaches us to celebrate differences like Salinas did, but also offers clear insight and valuable advice on how to cope with the challenges that being different can create. This book transcends the specific case of Asperger's syndrome and is a lesson in humanity and the human condition."--Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"Anyone with Asperger's, if not everyone else, will derive knowledge and pleasure from the wonderful stories told in John Elder Robison's newest book, Be Different. Clearly, John is one of our community's leading voices."--Michael John Carley, author of Asperger's from the Inside Out and executive director of GRASP and ASTEP.
John Elder Robison grew up in the 1960s, before the diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome existed. Today he blogs for Psychology Today and is an adjunct professor at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. John serves on the Science Board of Autism Speaks and on the Public Review Board for the National Institutes of Health, where he considers research to improve the lives of autistic people and their families. He is also currently involved in autism research and programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Mass General Hospital, two teaching hospitals of the Harvard Medical School. When he's not writing, speaking, or involved in studies, John can be found at Robison Service, the automobile company he founded twenty-five years ago. Robison Service has established a reputation as a leading independent restorer and customizer of BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley automobiles.
304 pages. 2011