The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

by David Finch
4.4 44


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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch

The warm and hilarious bestselling memoir by a man diagnosed with Asperger syndrome who sets out to save his marriage.

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, but it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband with an endearing yet hilarious zeal. His methods for improving his marriage involve excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies, including “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along” and “Apologies do not count when you shout them.” Over the course of two years, David transforms himself from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest. He becomes the husband he’d always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439189740
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 10/09/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 168,398
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David Finch grew up on a farm in northern Illinois and attended the University of Miami, where he studied Music Engineering Technology. In 2008 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. His essay, “Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy” appeared in The New York Times and became the basis for this book. David lives in northern Illinois with his wife Kristen and two children and is still a total nerd.

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The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
LizzyMA More than 1 year ago
I've never written a review but I just had to for this book. It saved my marriage. After 25 years of head banging I finally discovered why my head hurt and why I thought my husband was the biggest a** in the universe. Each chapter was filled with 'that's MY husband!'moments. I especially related to the 'loading the dishwasher for efficiency' and the laundry chapter. I haven't laughed so hard in years. No Empathy??? OMG!!! A life changing book for my family! Thank you David (and Kristen too). A recommend for ALL people in relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, and I think anyone could benefit from reading it simply due to curiosity, or, even better, if you are married to someone with Asperger's Syndrome or someone with severe anxiety/OCD issues. I, myself, have bad anxiety and exhibit many many of the behaviors that the author does. Seeing how Finch, with the support and love (and never-ending patience!) from his wife, was able to really really turn his life around is inspiring! I will definitely be working on incorporating some of his best practices into my life as I want to feel better on a day-to-day basis with my own life and the life I share with my spouse. I would like to add, that there is a genetrous sprinkling of profanity throughout the book, but somehow I was no offended by it at all which is quite surprising. I don't know how to explain it, but the profanity actually seemed appropriate at times. Usually reading explicit language really upsets me and turns me off, but I had no problems at all reading, enjoying, finishing, and getting something significant out of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After he is married and has children the author finds out he has Asperger's. His marriage isnt doing so good as he is often distant and not attuned to his wife needs. He goes on a mission to keep a journal of his discoveries of what he needs to do to be a good husband and father. I'm always interested in finding out how the autistic mind thinks. The author is very intelligent and he is also funny. A good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son was diagnosed with autism last year. I wanted to gain some perspective on what his future could possibly look like. This book gave me hope in that my son could find love and live a semi-normal life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! It was a great story and inspired me quite a bit to be a better husband. If a guy struggling with Asperger's can save his marriage by changing his behavior, then I can be better too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great inside look at how individuals with Asperger's think. And the author does a great job of adding humor at just the right time - the book has a great flow and it moves at the perfect pace! I highly recommend this book!
AmiB More than 1 year ago
David Finch was thirty years old with two kids and a failing marriage when he was diagnosed with Aspergers. He took it as a gift, an opportunity to use what is known about the syndrome and the new self-awareness the diagnosis provided, to improve his marriage and ultimately his life. Through “journaling” (often on post-it notes, receipts, menus or whatever else was handy at the moment of epiphany), goal setting, “job” evaluations, and lots of hard work, (and, of course, tons of support from his family) he achieved his ultimate goal – to be friends again with his wife. Filled with amazing humor, insight, pathos, and relationship “Best Practices” even neuro-typicals should adhere to, with this memoir Finch has created a beautiful testament to love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A delightful, funny, and ultimarely very human memoir.
RedheadDreamer More than 1 year ago
I read this book with an interest in understanding one of the kiddos in my extended family better, but I ended up learning a lot about myself and what I can do to be a better partner, daughter, sister, and auntie. It is hilarious and well written, definitely draws you into his journey of self-discovery and learning what he needed to save his marriage and relate to his kids. It's currently the book I'm recommending to everyone!!!
Hometownulysses More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up on my Nook because I had heard Mr. Finch's story on an episode of THIS AMERICAN LIFE, and also read the NYTimes article that preceeded this book. Maybe because I was already familiar with the story, I found the book interesting but very cusory. Most of the time I felt like I was reading a magazine article - I kept waiting for the story to go deeper or reveal more, and then it was over. That being said, I appreciated Mr. Finch's voice - sarcastic and funny but deeply self-aware (although as he discusses in the book, to a fault). I appreciated that he did not attempt to make us sorry for him, and that he was truly honest about his mistakes and short-comings. More than a few times I sat up and took notice of my own behavior and my own faults.
callmedebi More than 1 year ago
I have an adult daughter who has Asperger's Syndrome. I have tried for years to "figure her out." You must read this if you're tied in any way with a person on the autism spectrum. David Finch has great insights to being an "Aspie" and he had me laughing and smiling all the way to the very last page of his book! I also gained some keen insights as to how my daughter experiences the world...
lissabeth21 More than 1 year ago
This was an absolutely amazing read! I laughed out loud, I cried sometimes, and on every page my heart went out to David and Kristen. As the wife in a marriage to an Aspie husband, I experience so much every day that I cannot articulate to my friends or my husband. He read the book too by the way - the first time I've seen him read a whole book in the 9 years I've known him!! I will be recommending and referring to this book for a very long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two sittings. It is delightful.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
Reading some books is a matter of destiny. I found this gem in a remainder bin at one of my local dealers. The cover is bright yellow, shows a detailed graph for the proper folding of a tee-shirt (a la Sheldon Cooper) and a title that seemed to demand I read it. Whether it was destiny, luck or “this student was ready for this teacher,” I count this read as a timely, encouraging and potentially valuable resource for my personal education and for the help of those trying to understand the turmoil that can be living with Asperger’s Syndrome. This particular syndrome has gathered much press in recent years, including a Broadway hit play (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time, a production not to miss) and for those whose lives are affected by it by the confusion and stigma surrounding life (and living) with this form of high-functioning autism such exposure is a Godsend. For David Finch, a Music Engineer (a profession perfect for such individuals), learning that there was a reason for his (bizarre) behaviors, (maddeningly rigid) consistency and his inability to deal with any sort of change plans in any manner other than “a total melt-down” (including laying on the floor in a tantrum). Obtaining this diagnosis came at the Five-year mark of his marriage, at a moment when he and his wife were considering if this union could be continued. Once he had information, however, this engineer did what he does best – gather data, develop a plan of action, engage/practice/refine those actions and arrive at a “Best Practice.” For the next eighteen months after his diagnosis, Mr. Finch developed a journal (actually “bits of paper, napkins, magazine pages, usually thrown in a drawer”) that helped him develop new behaviors that brought him: inclusion in the lives of his family, a rearrangement of his priorities, definition of what “living” actually is and a book that offers others hope of taking likewise measures to change their lives. This is NOT a self-help book. It is a hilarious, well-planned book about how a man HELPED HIMSELF! The information, stories, research is not “textbook,” nor scientifically verified – it is how this man looked at himself, his situation and worked hard (to put it mildly) to bring about the life modifications needed for him to hold to the most precious things he had – his wife and children. Mr. Finch uses coarse language, at times, to highlight his point, enhance the situation in which he finds himself or as an insight into his thought processes. There is a notable lack of any transcendent effort present in Mr. Finch’s struggle beyond that which can be explained by science, research and grit. All of the book is written with a well-developed sense of humor (his imitation of Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey are spot on and side-splitting), the egoless-ness I have found to be a common trait in “Aspy’s,” the intelligence and attention to detail expected of an engineer and the warmth of a man deeply content and delighted with his (present) lot in life. Anyone who has personal experience, on any level, with someone dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome will relish this read. Those who are unfamiliar with the life-proce
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Memoir, non-fiction. I read this for the non-fiction book club at my local library (August 2014). Interesting account of a man who learns he has Asperger Syndrome at age 30, and a local author for me, he lives in this area, north of Chicago. Insightful information about what the journey was/is like for him, and very funny in parts too. We all thought his wife was very patient and many thought she was a saint. I found it very helpful with trying to understand how a person with Asperber Syndrome functions and behaves in a world of "neurotypicals." To me, knowledge breeds understanding, understanding breeds patience, and I think the ideas here will help me with my interactions with others, with extending compassion to all. I highly recommend this book, it funny, informative, and a real eye-opener!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't usually read memoirs or self help books, but I heard about this a while back on NPR, and decided to give it a try. Turns out it was a fascinating read. I can see myself putting some of his self discoveies into practice. I would recommend this for introverts and anyone else who has difficulties with social situations or interpersonal communication. Or for just an amusing memoir.
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I can't think of enough superlatives to describe this book. It was well worth the time and money spent (and then some).
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