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Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  10,081 Ratings  ·  793 Reviews
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 fr
Paperback, Expanded Edition, 240 pages
Published January 10th 2006 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Phoenix Blackdove Yes. I found it helpful both for the way Temple describes her personal ways of seeing the world, and for the references she lists. There's something…moreYes. I found it helpful both for the way Temple describes her personal ways of seeing the world, and for the references she lists. There's something both revelatory and slightly creepy about reading, for the first time, an account by another person that so closely mirrors aspects of my life and thinking processes.(less)

Community Reviews

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Oh, I love Temple Grandin. I didn't expect that I was going to. See, there's this boy - I'll call him Blake - who comes into the library with his mom every Wednesday. He gets some movies, and his mom gets the baby sign language DVDs, and he always gets a couple of science books. He waits patiently at the desk, and he's this picture of quivery anticipation when I walk up to help him, because he knows what he has to do. And he grins and he waves, awkwardly, a sort of half-wave, practiced over and ...more
Mar 21, 2009 Marcy rated it it was amazing
Temple Grandin made it very clear how autism affected her as a child and as an adult. She was lucky to have her mom's, her aunt's, and teachers' help to help Temple through the hard times. Being a visual learner, Temple has a memory which retains visual pictures in her head like a CD. She has a video library in her head with all of her memories. She uses these videos to create livestock design projects and humane facilities for cattle.

Temple has always identified with animals, in their thinking
Madelyn Clare
Feb 17, 2010 Madelyn Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saw her on C-Span in an hour and a half long sit down w/Steve. It's still up. Moved me to tears, am dyslexic, and loved her characterization of our difficulties. She's a treasure. Too many of my friends have born children who are somewhere on the spectrum. I've been promoting her, and gifting her books to them, in hopes that they'll hear her central message, which is:
people on the spectrum only ever get better.
May 15, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People working in Human Services
The tragedy of this book is that even as Temple Grandin's crusade to help slaughter farm animals humanely led to many changes, I tend to doubt these changes are still in effect. Particularly management imparting a sense of care and concern for the animals. I live near a plant she designed. This plant, until a year ago, was staffed by many illegal immigrants. Many of the current staff are Monolinguals (non-English). And some from cultures that do not revere (and in fact mutilate)female human bein ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Dawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: cr-book-group
This is a fascinating book written by a woman with high-functioning autism. Temple Grandin describes her life struggles and triumphs. Her unique way of thinking allows her to really identify with animals and to be able to look at situations from their point of view. This talent has allowed her to design very humane slaughterhouses for cattle. She has revolutionized the cattle industry in the US with her designs, which are also being widely copied. Grandin has an analytical mind and earnest feeli ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I didn't read this book because I particularly wanted to. As a parent of an autistic child, many well-meaning people will ask, "Do you know about Temple Grandin?" I initially picked up the book just so I could say that I was familiar with her, and had read some of her work. I didn't expect to actually enjoy the book as much as I did. Dr. Grandin writes in a very straight forward, no nonsense fashion that I really found easy to follow. She does a fantastic job of explaining how h ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Homeschoolmama rated it did not like it
I give this book one star. I know most people will probably disagree strongly with me, but I found this to be a difficult and tedious read. While I admire Temple for her talent, ingenuity, courage and determination in pursuing her education and career goals, I find her writing to be all over the place, rambling, difficult to follow and limited- in that she makes sweeping generalizations about autistic people, based on her own personal experience of course. What she fails to realize is that not a ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Mom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hope you all aren't disappointed but I am so in awe of Temple Grandin after reading this book that I can't find the words to express it. What an awesome woman she is, we can all learn a great deal from her. On to the next book!
Mark miller
Aug 14, 2012 Mark miller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genome, mark
The book is about Temple Grandin and living with autism. She is really a remarkable and amazing person. She was able to receive a Ph.D in Animal Science and currently an associate professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University. She frequently lectures about autism. Many people don't understand autism, so in effect they are afraid of it. People and scientists work on finding a cure for the "disease", which in my opinion it is not a disease but a natural progression of evolution.Many in ...more
Nikki Fordey
May 02, 2012 Nikki Fordey rated it it was ok
I was expecting more of a memoir, but this really ended up being Ms. Grandin's opinion on different aspects of autism with her own experiences only sprinkled in. It was difficult to get through the more technical aspects of the book and it was frustrating how often information was repeated. There were points that were interesting and I do feel like I have a better handle on autism in general, but that just wasn't what I was expecting when I decided to read this book.

If you are curious about aut
Dec 27, 2010 Bethany rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend! One of the top reads of 2010. My son was diagnosed with autism earlier this year and I felt like this was a great way to get some insight to the way that he thinks. In a world where it seems that everyone is looking for the magic "cure" for autism, I was glad to read that Temple wouldn't change a thing. Autism is a part of my son's entire being and personality. Gave me a lot of hope that he will lead a successful and happy life as an adult doing something that he loves. "Differ ...more
Etta Mcquade
Apr 12, 2010 Etta Mcquade rated it it was amazing
Since I have two grandsons who are autistic, I was interested in learning more. Temple Grandin seemed very honest, educated and sincere in her appraisal of autisim. Because I basically "think in only words," I had difficulty seeing how Temple and other autistics think. However, the book was extremely enligthening. I hope to be able to use some of things I learned in working with and understanding my grandsons.
Matthew Dumay
Jan 14, 2017 Matthew Dumay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visualizing every word

This has been a quite touching read. I have had a growing interest in here and autism as a whole.
Dec 13, 2008 Suzy rated it it was amazing
One of the theories about people on the autism spectrum is that they lack "theory of mind." Wikipedia defines that as: "the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own." But the more I read about autism and spend time with children on the spectrum, the more I become convinced that we could as easily say that the world lacks the a ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good, not great, book. So why 4-stars and not 3? The subject matter. I have never seen someone better walk through Autism and the way autistic people think and relate it so clearly to the way "normal" folks think.

If you're interested in how people think (which I am) or you simply know someone with Autism, then this book is a must-read. Temple Grandin lays out her book in a series of essays that hit topics like: the different kinds of ways people think, and in-depth look at Visual Thou
Jul 02, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, audiobook
Temple Grandin's book "Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism" is certainly a unique book. Grandin writes in simple, understandable prose about how she and others with autism cope with life. She describes the difficulties she has had with social encounters, and how she has learned how to relate to others on an intellectual, rather emotional level. Grandin has a Ph.D. in animal science. She has made a career of designing equipment for handling livestock.

Grandin describes
Nov 04, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
This is a hard book for me to rate. There were parts I really liked and some that I had to skim through. Overall, I am incredibly impressed by Temple Grandin and I enjoyed learning more about autism through the eyes of someone who lives with it. I enjoyed discussing it with my book group, though our discussions veered off to real life experiences quite often. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about her family, but I guess since personal relationships are often difficult for people wi ...more
Apr 28, 2010 Catherine rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at what its like to be autistic. Her mother was an amazing woman, no doubt, but she has a very valuable ability to interpret her inner life for the rest of us. I learned a great deal about the different ways of thinking that are not verbal--visual images, nonverbal sounds, patterns, match--and the problem of sensory overload that afflicts many autistic individuals. Her message of hope and her obvious passion for the lives of those who may be brilliant but need a great deal of ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
What an inspiring human being! I never had considered autism/Asperger's traits to be potentially a genetic BENEFIT before. This book taught me so much about what it means to live with a Dx on the spectrum as well as how not all human beings think the same. I guess I'd never really thought about it much before but had assumed that everyone thinks the same way I do. I chalked my talents up to giftedness and my deficits up to just not being too smart in those areas like other people are. The book h ...more
Aug 31, 2010 Mie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Just simply AMAZING. I did not read the book yet but I saw the movie and it was outstanding. Dr. Temple Grandin teach at Colorado State University. Never ever give up on any children they all have a fantastic mind of their own. Give them as many extra chances as they need until they open the door to another world.

I read the book in one day...facinating, and very interesting. I keep my rating at 5 stars. A must read for all educators, therapists, parents and people who just want to learn more abo
Jan 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I have a child with autism and first read this book when my child was diagnosed ten years ago. I was fascinated with the look inside the head of someone living with the ailment. Temple Grandin's insights were useful, helpful and uplifting, allowing me hope at a time I was searching for it -- when everything else was too overwhelming. Even if you do not know someone with autism, this book is a gripping read.
aPriL does feral sometimes
It's not poetry but a very readable, simple yet thorough description of autism and related experiences and educated guesses about how the wiring of the brain has a cause and effect on it's operations which can be reasonably catalogued and documented. The suggestions to reach the brain despite the wiring distortions for sensory perceptions were eye opening and educating. Very interesting.
Rebecca McNutt
This is probably one of the most honest and insightful, eye-opening books out there, not just on autism but on diversity and why it's our differences that make the human race so vibrant. Temple Grandin's book is slightly funny, slightly serious, full of intelligence and understanding and it's a powerful testament to the personality of a gifted person.
Jul 07, 2011 Willa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-books-in-2011
A good book written by a well-known woman with autism, who has become a key authority in the cattle industry and also gives talks and writes upon the subject of autism. She covers many different topics related to the condition: growing up with autism, making use of your gifts and interests, how autistic people think differently, autism and the workplace, autism and biochemistry and medication, autism and relationships, autism and religion. She also talks about some famous people who had possibly ...more
Roger Ingle
Jan 08, 2017 Roger Ingle rated it it was amazing
I found this peak into the world of Temple Grandin who is autistic with an extrodinary talent, absolutely fascinating.
Robin Groothuis
Jul 21, 2015 Robin Groothuis rated it it was amazing
The autism spectrum keeps evolving, but my daughter is considered to be high-functioning autistic. Ever since she was in preschool, we've had teachers and physicians asking us if we had considered having her tested. In 2010 we did and she fell just outside the spectrum at the time, but would be considered on it now. I've been researching Asperger's Syndrome for the last 16 years. This is by far the best book I've ever read on autism. It's written by a person who lives with it every day and her h ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Thinking in Pictures is an eye-opening book about a woman with autism. I was consistently amazed at how self-aware she presented herself, that she uses herself and animals as a study about autism. Temple Grandin works mostly with cattle, helping them to be comfortable in whatever situation they are in. She changed the way cattle are treated on the way to slaughter, which was a revolutionary idea that ended up helping ranchers more than they ever thought they would. But more than that, by finding ...more
Doree Weller
Feb 02, 2017 Doree Weller rated it really liked it
This was unexpectedly good. I picked it up to learn more about autism from someone who was speaking firsthand, but it was much more than that. Part memoir, part philosophical musings, part science, part psychology, it was an excellent read. Not a particularly fast read because there was a lot of information to digest, but if I come across another one of her books, I'll definitely read it.
Sep 18, 2013 A B rated it really liked it
Shelves: entwives
Several years ago, I was chatting with a fellow tourist at an airport in Panama when she recommended this book to me. She described it as one of the few books she would call "life-changing". While I'm not convinced I would give it such a high accolade, I do think this is an important book that anyone who cares about their fellow man or animals should consider reading.

Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at a time when most disabled children were placed in institutions. Despite the soul-drain
Sep 12, 2016 Camille rated it really liked it
{Sept. 2016 book group selection} I was not familiar with Temple Grandin before reading this book, nor had I ever thought I’d read something explaining the process of designing livestock-handling facilities(!), but I found this book both fascinating and eye-opening. I already knew that people who are autistic think differently than those who aren’t, but it was really interesting to read about Temple’s thought processes and the way she is able to picture things in her head and combine parts and p ...more
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Temple Grandin, Ph.D., didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, ...more
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“In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves.” 80 likes
“But my favorite of Einstein's words on religion is "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind." I like this because both science and religion are needed to answer life's great questions.” 77 likes
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