Book Reviews

ASSOCIATED PRESS - by Robin Estrin

Temple Grandin thinks like a cow; maybe that's why she's so sensitive to their needs. Like cattle, Grandin is easily distracted by a high pitched noise, easily rattled by an object that appears out of place.
"I could see that the things that were bothering the cattle were very similar to the things that were bothering me," says Grandin, 48.
Grandin is autistic. She is also one of the country's premier designers of humane; cruelty-free equipment for livestock.

JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION - by Edwin J. Mikkelsen, MD. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

One of the most intriguing themes is the inquiry into what autism can tell us about the varieties of structure of mind and consciousness. This endeavor incorporates an interesting and far-ranging discussion of animal consciousness.

NEW SCIENTIST - by David Cohen

I thought of Tinbergen when opening Temple Grandin's remarkable book about her life as an autistic woman,Thinking in Pictures. Like Tinbergen, Grandin sees a link between autism and animal behaviour, but her link is very different.
Grandin is convinced that her disability has made it possible for her to empathize with animals.

LOS ANGELES TIMES - by Betty Ann Kevles

...She feels keenly on the anguish of suffering animals and has had great success, of which she is understandably proud, in helping to alleviate it.
She describes a difficult childhood during which her tenacious mother struggled to communicate with her through what she can now analogize as two panes of glass. Despite her communication problems, Grandin attended regular schools and had entered college before she realized that autism made her emotions differ in kind from those of non-autistic people. "They are more childlike," she tells us, "and they are dominated by fear."
These feelings, she believes, are close to the emotions of nonhuman animals. Her ability to put herself in a steer's body - to sense it's elemental fear and learn how to soothe it - has helped her succeed as a behaviorist at Colorado State University.


Deploying uncanny powers of observation, Temple Grandin, who came to peace with her autism and became a professor of animal science, charts the differences between her life and the lives of those who think in words.
"Mine is a world of thinking that many language-based thinkers do not comprehend," she writes in her new book Thinking in Pictures.
Her visual thinking patterns, she feels, probably resemble the way that animals think, with vivid pictures and memories of smell, light and sound patterns. Grandin, 48, sees close connections between autistic behaviours, especially the need for routine and hypersensitivities to sound and touch. She attributes her success in working with animals to having a "cow's eye view."


Temple Grandin's heightened ability to visualize allows her to make sense of the world by construction concrete visual metaphors; for her, every concept must be tied into her nonverbal "video library" of particular people, places and associations.
Throughout these essays, Grandin blends personal anecdotes with plainspoken accounts of scientific approaches to autism and methods of treatment.

VILLAGE VOICE - by Stacey D'Erasmo

Temple Grandin is a woman of many cattle. She knows what they like and what they don't, the blind spot in their nearly 360-degree vision, what frightens them. She has designed ingeniously curving walkways to lead them around without fear to the slaughter, as well as gentle holding pens so they can be treated by the vet.
"Sometimes I think my emotions may appear more similar to those of animals than humans," she speculates in her shy, earnest, charmingly flat way.