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Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behaviorby Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
One of the most revealing, readable books about the mind to come along in years. A simply fascinating glimpse into animal behavior — on the farm, at home, and even in the mirror.
"Grandin's prose alone makes her new book, Animals in Translation, well worth a read. Fresh and irreverent, yet almost completely emotionless, the style suggests a cross between Holden Caulfield and Star Trek's Mr. Spock — which is so much better than it sounds that I wish Grandin would try her hand at fiction....[Animals in Translation] is well researched and insightful. Its main thrust is that life cannot be classified in terms of a simple neurological ladder, with human beings at the top; it is more accurate to talk of different forms of intelligence, each with its own strengths and weaknesses." B. R. Myers, the Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Synopses & Reviews
I don't know if people will ever be able to talk to animals the way Doctor Doolittle could, or whether animals will be able to talk back. Maybe science will have something to say about that. But I do know people can learn to "talk" to animals, and to hear what animals have to say, better than they do now. --From Animals in Translation
Why would a cow lick a tractor? Why are collies getting dumber? Why do dolphins sometimes kill for fun? How can a parrot learn to spell? How did wolves teach man to evolve? Temple Grandin draws upon a long, distinguished career as an animal scientist and her own experiences with autism to deliver an extraordinary message about how animals act, think, and feel. She has a perspective like that of no other expert in the field, which allows her to offer unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas.
People with autism can often think the way animals think, putting them in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Grandin is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense and will forever change the way we think about animals.
*includes a Behavior and Training Troubleshooting Guide
Among its provocative ideas, the book:
"Philosophers and scientists have long wondered what goes on in the minds of animals, and this fascinating study gives a wealth of illuminating insights into that mystery. Grandin, an animal behavior expert specializing in the design of humane slaughter systems, is autistic, and she contends that animals resemble autistic people in that they think visually rather than linguistically and perceive the world as a jumble of mesmerizing details rather than a coherent whole. Animals — cows, say, on their way through a chute — are thus easily spooked by novelties that humans see as trivialities, such as high-pitched noises, drafts and dangling clothes. Other animals accomplish feats of obsessive concentration; squirrels really do remember where each acorn is buried. The portrait she paints of the mammalian mind is both alien and familiar; she shows that beasts are capable of sadistic cruelty, remorse, superstition and surprising discernment (in one experiment, pigeons were taught to distinguish between early period Picasso and Monet). Grandin (Thinking in Pictures) and Johnson (coauthor of Shadow Syndromes) deploy a simple, lucid style to synthesize a vast amount of research in neurology, cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology, supplementing it with Grandin's firsthand observations of animal behavior and her own experiences with autism, engaging anecdotes about how animals interact with each other and their masters, and tips on how to pick and train house pets. The result is a lively and absorbing look at the world from animals' point of view. Forecast: Anyone who's enjoyed the work of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson — and especially those who liked it but felt it a bit warm and fuzzy in spots — should appreciate this valuable, rigorous book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Grandin makes her philosophical challenges through simple descriptions of scientific data...but without scientific murkiness....Animals in Translation may end up being the best animal book of the year, certainly the most human." Los Angeles Times
"This fascinating book will teach readers to see as animals see, to be a little more visual and a little less verbal, and, as a unique analysis of animal behavior, it belongs in all libraries." Booklist
"The book is a valuable, if speculative, contribution to the discussion of both autism and animal intelligence....Delving into animal emotion, aggression and suffering, Grandin gives tips that may be useful for caretakers of pets and farm animals." Scientific American
"Not since Jane Goodall's research on the chimpanzee's use of tools has there been a book that so successfully challenges our definitions of what is human and what is animal." BookPage
"Extensively footnoted, and with a 'Behavior and Training Troubleshooting Guide' as an appendix, the book aims to offer something to experts and pet owners alike." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"While the book at times is repetitive and occasionally makes points using anecdotal evidence, it remains entertaining and insightful." Rocky Mountain News
Temple's professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Standing at the intersection of autism and animals, she offers unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas about both.
"Inspiring . . . Crammed with facts and anecdotes about Temple Grandin's favorite subject: the senses, brains, emotions, and amazing talents of animals."--The New York Times Book Review
People with autism can often think the way animals think, which puts them in the perfect position to translate animal talk.” In this groundbreaking book Temple Grandin draws on her own experiences with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver an extraordinary message about how animals think, act, and feel. Funny, inspiring, and full of incredible insight, Animals in Translation will forever change the way we look at our fellow creatures.
Animals in Translation is wonderful! The most important book Ive read in 30 years.”--Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash
Grandins focus in Animals in Translation is not on all the normal things autistics and animals cant do but on the unexpected, extraordinary, invaluable things they can.”--O, the Oprah Magazine
This new addition to the Peterson Reference Guide series is highly readable and full of curious facts. For example, did you know that when an opossum plays dead it isn't pretending? Opossums actually do enter a catatonic deathlike state. Or look at armadillos, who sequester air in their guts, blow up to twice their normal volume, and paddle across the water. A guide not for identifying mammals, but to understanding what they do, Behavior of North American Mammals provides detailed information on more than 70 species of mammals and includes illuminating and attractive photographs and drawings. Comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible, the book includes information on daily and seasonal activity, food and foraging, home range and habitat, communication, courtship and mating, development and dispersal of young, interactions with their own species, and interactions with other species.
About the Author
TEMPLE GRANDIN earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal Thinking in Pictures. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
CATHERINE JOHNSON, Ph.D., is a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry and the brain and is the author of three previous books. She lives in New York.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: My Story
Chapter 2: How Animals Perceive the World
Chapter 3: Animal Feelings
Chapter 4: Animal Aggression
Chapter 5: Pain and Suffering
Chapter 6: How Animals Thinks
Chapter 7: Animal Genius: Extreme Talents
Behavior and Training Troubleshooting Guide
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