Nichola's Reviews > Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian

Be Different by John Elder Robison
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's review
Dec 03, 2011

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bookshelves: differences
Read in December, 2011

A book written directly for people with Aspergers and their parents and teachers, to explain how neurotypical people use social skills that can be learned to have satisfying productive lives. The author shares many of his life stories with his thoughts and reactions and how others perceived them. Then he describes when he decided to work on each of his skills and how he went about it.
Short chapters move the book along quickly. The stories generally show that the repeated efforts of others failed to impact him until whatever issue became important to him (manners, cleanliness, education). However, the author was diagnosed at age 40, and is hoping to spare others the depression and poor self image that came from years of failure by showing how his eventual modifications brought him the connection he was seeking all along.
He also voices a much needed perspective that things get better when people grow up, and that working on your weaknesses is good to do, but working on your strengths is the real key to success in life, and as such, it can be a real asset to think differently.
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