Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior

by Temple Grandin, Catherine Johnson

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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:

  • argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness—and that animals do have consciousness
  • applies the autism theory of "hyper-specificity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees"—a talent as well as a "deficit"
  • explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them—a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all too clearly
  • explains how animals have "superhuman" skills: animals have animal genius
  • compares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special forms of genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see
  • examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future 
  • reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals 
  • maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it feel afraid

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156031448
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 01/02/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 48,154
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1130L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

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.

Read an Excerpt

People who aren’t autistic always ask me about the moment I realized I could understand the way animals think. They think I must have had an epiphany.
But it wasn’t like that. It took me a long time to figure out that I see things about animals other people don’t. And it wasn’t until I was in my forties that I finally realized I had one big advantage over the feedlot owners who were hiring me to manage their animals: being autistic. Autism made school and social life hard, but it made animals easy.
I had no idea I had a special connection to animals when I was little. I liked animals, but I had enough problems just trying to figure out things like why a really small dog isn’t a cat. That was a big crisis in my life. All the dogs I knew were pretty big, and I used to sort them by size. Then the neighbors bought a dachshund, and I was totally confused. I kept saying, “How can it be a dog?” I studied and studied that dachshund, trying to figure it out. Finally I realized that the dachshund had the same kind of nose my golden retriever did, and I got it. Dogs have dog noses.
That was pretty much the extent of my expertise when I was five. I started to fall in love with animals in high school when my mother sent me to a special boarding school for gifted children with emotional problems. Back then they called everything “emotional problems.” Mother had to find a place for me because I got kicked out of high school for fighting. I got in fights because kids teased me. They’d call me names, like “Retard,” or “Tape recorder.” They called me Tape Recorder because I’d stored up a lot of phrases in my memory and I used them over and over again in every conversation. Plus there were only a few conversations I liked to have,  so that amplified the effect. I especially liked to talk about the rotor ride at the carnival. I would go up to somebody and say, “I went to Nantasket Park and I went on the rotor and I really liked the way it pushed me up against the wall.” Then I would say stuff like, “How did you like it?” and they’d say how they liked it, and then I’d tell the story all over again, start to finish. It was like a loop inside my head, it just ran over and over again. So the kids called me Tape Recorder.
Teasing hurts. The kids would tease me, so I’d get mad and smack ’em. That simple. They always started it, they liked to see me react. My new school solved that problem. The school had a stable and horses for the kids to ride, and the teachers took away horseback riding privileges if I smacked somebody. After I lost privileges enough times I learned just to cry when somebody did something bad to me. I’d cry, and that would take away the aggression. I still cry when people are mean to me.
Nothing ever happened to the kids who were teasing. The funny thing about the school was, the horses had emotional problems, too. They had emotional problems because in order to save money the headmaster was buying cheap horses. They’d been marked down because they had gigantic behavior problems. They were pretty, their legs were fine, but emotionally they were a mess. The school had nine horses altogether, and two of them couldn’t be ridden at all. Half the horses in that barn had serious psychological problems. But I didn’t understand that as a fourteen-year-old. So there we all were up at boarding school, a bunch of emotionally disturbed teenagers living with a bunch of emotionally disturbed animals. There was one horse, Lady, who was a good horse when you rode her in the ring, but on the trail she would go berserk. She would rear, and constantly jump around and prance; you had to hold her back with the bridle or she’d bolt to the barn. Then there was Beauty. You could ride Beauty, but he had very nasty habits like kicking and biting while you were in the saddle. He would swing his foot up and kick you in the leg or foot, or turn his head around and bite your knee. You had to watch out. Whenever you tried to mount Beauty he kicked and bit—you had both ends coming at you at the same time.
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But that was nothing compared to Goldie, who reared and plunged whenever anyone tried to sit on her back. There was no way to ride that horse; it was all you could do just to stay in the saddle. If you did ride her, Goldie would work herself up into an absolute sweat. In five minutes she’d be drenched, dripping wet. It was flop sweat. Pure fear. She was terrified of being ridden. Goldie was a beautiful horse, though; light brown with a golden mane and tail. She was built like an Arab horse, slender and fine, and had perfect ground manners. You could walk her on a lead, you could groom her, you could do anything you liked and she was perfectly behaved just so long as you didn’t try to ride her. That sounds like an obvious problem for any nervous horse to have, but it can go the other way, too. I’ve known horses where people say, “Yeah you can ride them, but that’s all you can do with them.” That kind of horse is fine with people in the saddle, and nasty to people on the ground.
All the horses at the school had been abused. The lady they bought Goldie from had used a nasty, sharp bit and jerked on it as hard as she could, so Goldie’s tongue was all twisted and deformed. Beauty had been kept locked in a dairy stanchion all day long. I don’t know why. These were badly abused animals; they were very, very messed up.
But I had no understanding of this as a girl. I was never mean to the horses at the school (other kids were sometimes), but I wasn’t any horse-whispering autistic savant, either. I just loved the horses. I was so wrapped up in them that I spent every spare moment working the barns. I was dedicated to keeping the barn clean, making sure the horses were groomed. One of the high points of my high school career was the day my mom bought me a really nice English bridle and saddle. That was a huge event in my life, because it was mine, but also because the saddles at school were so crummy. We rode on old McClellands, which were honest-to-god cavalry saddles first used in the Civil War. The school’s saddles probably went back to World War II when they still had some horse units in the army. The McClelland was designed with a slot down the center of it to spare the horse’s back. The slot was good for the horse but horrible for the rider. I don’t think there’s ever been a more uncomfortable saddle on earth, though I have to say that when I read about the Northern Alliance soldiers in Afghanistan riding on saddles made out of wood, that sounded worse. Boy did I take care of that saddle. I loved it so much I didn’t even leave it in the tack room where it belonged. I brought it up to my dorm room every day and kept it with me. I bought special saddle soap and leather conditioner from the saddle shop, and I spent hours washing and polishing it.
As happy as I was with the horses at school, my high school years were hard. When I reached adolescence I was hit by a tidal wave of anxiety that never stopped. It was the same level of anxiety I felt later on when I was defending my dissertation in front of my thesis committee, only I felt that way all day long and all night, too. Nothing bad happened to make me so anxious all of a sudden; I think it was just one of my autism genes kicking into high gear. Autism has a lot in common with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is listed as an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Animals saved me. One summer when I was visiting my aunt, who had a dude ranch in Arizona, I saw a herd of cattle being put through the squeeze chute at a neighboring ranch. A squeeze chute is an apparatus vets use to hold cattle still for their shots by squeezing them so tight they can’t move. The squeeze chute looks like a big V made out of metal bars hinged together at the bottom. When a cow walks into the chute an air compressor closes up the V, which squeezes the cow’s body in place. The rancher has plenty of space for his hands and the hypodermic needle between the metal bars. You can find pictures of them on the Web if you want to see what they look like.
As soon as I caught sight of that thing I made my aunt stop the car so I could get out and watch. I was riveted by the sight of those big animals inside that squeezing machine. You might think cattle would get really scared when all of a sudden this big metal structure clamps together on their bodies, but it’s exactly the opposite. They get really calm. When you think about it, it makes sense, because deep pressure is a calming sensation for just about everyone. That’s one of the reasons a massage feels so good—it’s the deep pressure. The squeeze chute probably gives cattle a feeling like the soothing.
Copyright © 2005 by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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
Selected Biography

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Candace B. Pert, Ph.D., author of Molecules of Emotion Animal lovers and people lovers will be thoroughly charmed by Temple Grandin's latest book. Its sweetly simple style, chock-full of fresh and funny anecdotes, somehow delivers brilliant insights into the way animals and autistic people perceive the world. As a neuroscientist researching autism, I was fascinated by Grandin's personal story and excited by her synthesis of classical learning theory and new paradigm mystery.

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs Temple Grandin has done many wonderful things for this world, things that have made a tremendous difference in the lives of animals and people. Not the least of these is that she has transformed autism from being an unfortunate disability to being an enviable advantage that many of us would give anything to experience if only we could understand animals as smoothly as she does. I feel strongly that her interpretations of animal behavior are correct. She has a Ph.D., too, but the autism has probably served her better. Now she has written a fascinating and compelling book, filled with wisdom and insight, that lives up to its promise of decoding animal behavior.

Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon In this insightful, quirky, and often funny volume, Temple Grandin takes us deep inside the minds of animals. Her observations of dogs, cats, cows, pigs, birds, fish, and horses are meticulous and humane, and her approach is impressive both for its synthesis of scholarship and for its original applications of theory. Grandin opens new vistas that will be invaluable to anyone who cares about the creatures of the earth and sky.

Alex Shoumatoff, author of The World Is Burning Temple Grandin's insights are absolutely fascinating, groundbreaking contributions to the field of animal awareness. This book is deeply moving and a triumph on many levels, not the least the understanding of herself and her condition that Ms. Grandin has succeeded in achieving, conveying so lucidly, and putting to such productive use. She is an inspiration to us all.

Monty Roberts, author of The Man Who Listens to Horses Animals in Translation is a comprehensive collection of the discoveries of a gifted human being. Through a unique set of circumstances, Temple Grandin was born with the ability to live in the animal world, completely understanding their environment. At the same time, she possesses the complex brain of a learned human being who I consider a genius. I read Animals in Translation in the style of a sponge soaking up water. If one is interested in learning more about the lives and needs of animals, Animals in Translation is a must-read. I found it impossible to put down.

Candace B. Pert, Ph.D. author of Molecules of Emotion Animal lovers and people lovers will both be thoroughly charmed by Temple Grandin's latest book. Its sweetly simple style, chock full of fresh and funny anecdotes, somehow delivers brilliant insights into the way animals and autistic people perceive the world. As a neuroscientist researching autism, I was fascinated by Grandin's personal story and excited by her synthesis of classical learning theory and new paradigm mystery.

Oliver Sacks author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Deeply moving and fascinating.

Dr. Temple Grandin has, in her own inimitable way, brought to us a no-nonsense account of her unique insights into animal behavior and cognition in her most recent book, Animals in Translation. Temple sees it as it is, calls it as she sees it, and explains her rationale in scientific terms. Ably assisted by her coauthor Catherine Johnson, Temple has confronted many of the sacred cows of old school behaviorism and laid them to rest. This book is both entertaining and enlightening for those who would learn more about the way animals think and behave. Two thumbs up for this thoughtful and educational compilation.

— Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, author of If Only They Could Speak and The Dog Who Loved Too Much

Animals in Translation is vintage Grandin; she just gets better and better. Each page is crystal-clear, conceptually profound, and empirically fascinating. Whether the reader is a cattle rancher looking for guidance in managing animals in a non-stressful way, or a layperson interested in what is going on behind the eyes of a pet, Grandin's work is the guidebook of choice for what, to most of us, is terra incognita. Her wit, crisp clear style, and unique voice synthesizing the most up-to-date scientific knowledge with voluminous personal experience make this book a pleasure to read, and a joy to learn from.

— Bernard E. Rollin, Colorado State University Distinguished Professor, and Professor of Philosophy, of Biomedical Sciences, and of Animal Sciences

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Animals in Translation 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I knew about Temple Grandin, but I had never seen her or her books. Then I read this. It was really eye-opening for me. There was not a single page that didn't teach me something new, which is a very rare event for me. Heck, I read 'A Brief History of Time' and didn't learn as much as I have reading this. For everything I've read about autism (and experienced), I still received new insights into the good and bad involved (as well as the strange, like opiates), as well as theories behind it. Then, of course, is the stuff about animals. Now THAT was eye-opening. There was so much about how animals think and behave that I never would have even thought of thinking of (probably inattentional blindness). But it all makes sense. It has made me better able to understand animals, which is vital for people to know nowadays, now that we rely on machines more and animals less. But in fact, it's at least partially repaired my relationship with my cat, who would generally avoid me and my bear-hugs. Now I pet her and understand her and the way she works better, so I can work with her instead of against her. There's just so much to learn in this book that I don't think you even should be allowed to have animals without this book. Oh, and by the way, death is an inherent part of life. Death happens all the time. Just because we cause it (in the times that we do) doesn't make it any more wrong. As much as people argue that breeding animals to eat them is unnatural, humans have been doing it for centuries. And anyways, it'd be impossible to not do anything to any animals. We are a part of their world just as much as they are part of ours. The best we can do is to change what we can, and help them with what we cannot change. More animals live when we love and understand them than if we we stop breeding them or release them into the wild. The difference between you and Temple Grandin is not that she assists brutal murders of animals and you don't. It's just that she does the little things to change our and their world for the better, and you don't. Sorry if that's a little harsh, but Temple Grandin is a visionary among animal researchers, and if you're too stubborn to read how to better communicate and co-exist with animals, then you obviously don't care about animals as much you think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is packed with information and provides a new window on ourselves as well as the world of animals. One of the most unusual and compelling books I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Temple Grandin's book "Animals in Translation" is highly enlightening to any pet or animal owner. The book reads as an authoritative text, quoting studies and research. For the light reader it may be overwhelming, but for a person looking to truly understand their pet or the animals they manage it's a MUST READ. A truly extraordinary lady, Temple's insight and life's work benefit us all and "Animals in Translation" is an excellent addition to the animal lover's library.
dancer2 More than 1 year ago
Having a grandchild diagnosed with autism, I was curious to see what the author had to say regarding the similarities that she found between autistics and animals. Uncharacteristically, I found her empathetic and compassionate and enormously inciteful. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a curiosity in the dynamics of animal behavior but especially, how a woman such as Temple has overcome and succeeded so profoundly in her field of journalism. It was a fascinating read.
marjo More than 1 year ago
Temple Grandin, through her own autism, reveals extraordinary personal insight into the thoughts and responses of animals . . . and of humans. Based on credible scientific research, but easy to read and understand. If you've ever felt a special connection to animals, this book will enhance that relationship. If not, it's likely to change the way you see and relate to animals in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an animal trainer I would highly recommend this book. I just found it very interesting. Each time I re-read it, I learn more. Temple Grandin has done her research and has a wealth of knowledge to share. She understands animals in a way few others can.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who were born onto the Autism Spectrum or is related to someone who was, Dr. Temple Grandin tells it like it is from our perspective. If your boss is on the spectrum, it should be required reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the true animal lover/healer this book leaves out something that's needed respect and compassion for EVERY animal. She tends to talk to much about how to better the ability to get cattle around within the boundries of the slaughter fields that they are made to live in. What's compassionate about that? I agree, everyone interested in healing animals needs to read this book, and then move on from it and find another way to create an actual world where all animals are loved and cared for. I respect her for her own journey it's just not how so many animal care workers feel.
StevenJ More than 1 year ago
Temple Grandin gives us her unique perspective on what may be going on the mind our dogs. For me, Dr. Grandin stands on a very short list of authors giving us some scientific insight into dog psychology. I've had dogs all my life, but have recently become involved in the rescue of breeder dogs (with Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue - These dogs have been neglected and abused for their entire lives and present us with the challenge of helping them to become "normal" dogs. Dr. Grandin's concept that animals (and autistics) "think in pictures" is difficult to comprehend, yet goes a long way in getting me out of my word-based thought process when dealing with unusual or unwanted behaviors. Trying to see the world through the eyes of a dog makes me appreciate just how amazing our relationship with them is! This is a must read for all serious animal lovers.
chrisps More than 1 year ago
The insights into animal behavior that Dr. Grandin gives in this book have been invaluable to my career as a dog trainer, pet behavior counselor and an educator. In all of my obedience classes, I reference Animals in Translation and explain how animals think in pictures. This concept helps people to better understand their dogs, and to troubleshoot and find resolutions to behavior problems leading to a better relationship. This book has become my bible and serves as an inspiration that I can accomplish my dreams just as Dr. Grandin has overcome so much in her life of challenges to help the animals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been very involved with animals and cruelty cases for the last 10 years and this book has given me a new insight as to how the animal brain works. It makes so much more sense to me now as to why animals do the things they do. It's alot to "wrap your head around" parden the pun, but is very interesting. As far as the "killing of cattle", that's a fact of life and has been for years. It's not a matter of compassion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there ever was an agenda-free author that tells it straight, it is Temple Grandin. Simple insights into both human and animal behavior are laid out in great detail, and I've been able to gain invaluable knowledge about the wiring and workings of my autistic niece and relate them to my own experience. I've read how other reviewers have carried their own biases to the reading and denounce the author for her work with the livestock industry. However, there can be no doubt that Temple Grandin's influence has greatly reduced animal pain, fear and suffering.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended by Costco book reviewer. I found it absolutely fascinating! A guide in understanding animals and humans...much can be put to practical use. Our new puppy, Sir Rufus II will benefit from my having read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's not just sad, but tragic, that as we mature we lose the instinctive gift of communicating with animals we have as children. Temple's book returns us to that extraordinary ability. Amazingly readable, considering some of the hard-to-get-your-neocortex-around concepts presented, this book holds startling insights on every page. A lifetime of working with animals, both as passion and as profession, didn't teach me what 'Animals in Translation' did, and already I've employed several of her principles in working with animals (including humans). This should be mandatory reading for anyone who lives or works among, with, or near animals. Temple and Catherine, thanks for the tremendous gift you've just given us -- and our animals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book for animal lovers and people lovers! Written in a simple style, yet it is so unique and compelling. Author's observations of animals - especially dogs - are incredibly humane and meticulous. And so correct! I have two dogs and this book has just assured me I was right about them ¿ they do have feelings and they know more than we realize. Dogs do make us human.
Clif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The word "animals" is in the title, but the reader learns a lot about human behavior from this book. The author writes from her own personal perspective of being autistic. I learned from the book that the frontal lobe's ability to screen through all the incoming sensory data to the human brain to quickly form broad generalizations is what we understand to be normal human consciousness. The more limited functioning of animal frontal lobes allows them more direct access to the raw data from lower parts of the brain. This allows animals to super specialize in certain skills that help them to survive. (i.e. dog's ability to smell, or migratory bird's ability to remember 1,000 mile routes). Impared functioning of the frontal lobe may explain how some autistic persons appear to have super human skills in specialized areas. They have privileged access to the raw data from the lower parts of the brain unfettered by screening by the frontal lobes. Unfortunately, it also explains how other autistic persons can be overwhelmed by the flood of incoming sensory data and are unable respond appropriately to their surroundings.The book is full of interesting anecdotal stories about human and animal behavior. One part I found particularly fascinating is the theory that the evolution of the human brain may have been influenced by the presence of domesticated wolves (i.e. dogs). I know it sounds hard to believe, but there is a rational basis for such speculation. The comparison of dog and wolf genetics indicates that dogs started being domesticated about 135,000 years ago which is the approximate time that modern humans began spreading throughout the world. The partnership between dogs and humans may have given an edge to modern humans in their competition with Neanderthals in Europe during the last ice age. So the expression, "Man's best friend," may have more truth to it than we realize!
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sincerity and straightforwardness of this book are refreshing. Grandin does not pretend to have all the answers, easily identifies what is "proven" and what is not and clearly identifies what her own opinions are. Her analysis of the normal human brain, the autistic human brain and the animal brain is fascinating.You will either become a vegetarian or a pet owner after reading this book - her love of animals is contagious!
Sevorg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fascinating insight into animal behaviour with a lot of interesting anecdotes. Very readable, although at times the writing style was a little repetitive. Has a behaviour troubleshooting section in the back that would be great for animal owners. Look forward to reading more by this author.
Niecierpek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A unique and fascinating book. First of all, it is written by an autistic person. Or, since autistic people are non-verbal, more accurately the concepts, ideas and the material were provided by Temple Grandin -an autistic PhD in animal science, and written up by Catherine Johnson, also a PhD and a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry. Johnson¿s connection to autism are her two autistic sons. The fact that Grandin is a researcher at the university and teaches students is a miracle in itself.Grandin makes a thesis in her book that autistic people have a lot in common with animals in their of way of processing information, thinking and experiencing pain and emotions. (She thinks therefore that it puts here in a unique way to explain animal behaviour.) Well developed frontal lobes are characteristic of a normal human brain. They are also responsible for a global and coherent image of the world, and a generalized way of thinking. The outcome of healthy frontal lobes is more verbal expression and controlled behaviour (e.g. people have much more control over their emotions and fears than animals; they can filter them out, and animals can¿t) Grandin claims that since both autistic people and animals have smaller or underdeveloped frontal lobes, they share characteristics connected to this fact. They perceive the world in a series of sensory strings : sounds and images which record an amazing number of details, but do not get immediately interconnected into a meaningful whole. They have a lot of problems generalizing information (e.g. when an autistic child learns to butter a toast, we cannot take it for granted that he or she has learned how to spread peanut butter on it) and filtering unnecessary details or distractions. They also have a big problem coping with fears and negative emotions.Grandin also makes some revolutionary statements. She argues that animals have consciousness, and the fact that they don¿t have the language to express it does not preclude that. She herself does not think in words. She also says that animals show certain behaviours that have been so far attributed to humans only. Animals, she says, can kill for a pleasure of killing and gives examples of violent male gangs of adolescent dolphins, killer whales and chimpanzees. Animals can communicate and manipulate verbal language too, and the prairie dogs¿ language is thought to be most advanced and is most comprehensively described.On the whole, Grandin tries to argue (and convincingly in my opinion) that animals are very close to humans in many ways. She herself is an avid advocate of animal rights, and is a consultant on safe and humanitarian slaughter houses for cattle. Very impressive and recommended.
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Fascinating look at the world from the perspective of an autistic person and her insights into the way animals think and communicate.
theageofsilt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is certainly more pleasant for people to believe that animals are radically different from us - that they are without thought or emotion. It makes their exploitation more comfortable. Dr. Grandin uses her perspective as a autistic person to understand how animals might sense and process the world. This book is funny and easy reading with anecdotes that any animal owner will enjoy. It also promotes insight into human nature by offering the behavior of animals as a comparison and contrast. I found the book also profoundly sad, because we are aware of so much human suffering to add to it the suffering of animals, both wild and domesticated, is a little unbearable.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book about animals and brain function. I learned a few new things about my pets and also about domestic animals in general.
Anagarika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book was good, with a great concept, but I didn't really agree with many of Ms. Grandin's assertions. She would often tell why she felt a certain way about something, but couldn't back it up with proof. Her argument for being an advocate for animals, but still eating meat doesn't hold up as well. However, this didn't make me not like her book.
mpontius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must read for all animal owners. Excellent insight into your animal's behavior! Four stars!
aprlshwrs6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing insight into the minds of animals. I recommend this book to everyone I know. There is a ton of information that is fun to learn and share. It will change the way you see your animal companions.