Be Different

Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian

Publisher: Anchor Canada
“I believe those of us with Asperger’s are here for a reason, and we have much to offer. This book will help you bring out those gifts.”
 
In his bestselling memoir, Look Me in the Eye, John Elder Robison described growing up with Asperger’s syndrome at a time when the diagnosis didn’t exist. He was intelligent but socially isolated; his talents won him jobs with toy makers and rock bands but did little to endear him to authority figures and classmates, who were put off by his inclination to blurt out non sequiturs and avoid eye contact.

By the time he was diagnosed at age forty, John had already developed a myriad of coping strategies that helped him achieve a seemingly normal, even highly successful, life. In Be Different, Robison shares a new batch of endearing stories about his childhood, adolescence, and young adult years, giving the reader a rare window into the Aspergian mind.

In each story, he offers practical advice—for Aspergians and indeed for anyone who feels “different”—on how to improve the weak communication and social skills that keep so many people from taking full advantage of their often remarkable gifts. With his trademark honesty and unapologetic eccentricity, Robison addresses questions like:

• How to read others and follow their behaviors when in uncertain social situations
• Why manners matter
• How to harness your powers of concentration to master difficult skills
• How to deal with bullies
• When to make an effort to fit in, and when to embrace eccentricity
• How to identify special gifts and use them to your advantage

Every person, Aspergian or not, has something unique to offer the world, and every person has the capacity to create strong, loving bonds with their friends and family. Be Different will help readers and those they love find their path to success.

READ AN EXCERPT

Asperger’s came into my life when I was forty years old. I’m a pretty levelheaded guy, but I was totally shocked by the diagnosis. “Yep,” the doctors said, “you were born this way.” I could not believe I had reached middle age without knowing such a hugely important thing about myself. I...
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PRAISE FOR

“For anyone who has difficulty fitting in, this book is fantastic.”
—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures

“In places, Be Different is downright funny. . . . But when [Robison] recounts how hurt he feels when people say he doesn’t seem to care . . . this book becomes a heartbreaking, eloquent plea for understanding.”
Montreal Gazette

“Robison, who learned the hard way that coping in the real world is really just a matter of learning manners and social conventions, fills his book with practical advice for young Aspergians, using himself as an example.”
Macleans
 
“His new book, Be Different, is an uplifting guide for people with Asbergers and their loved ones to understand themselves and each other.”
—King5.com
 
Be Different: John Elder Robison’s new book shines. . . . There is a generation of teens and adults with autism spectrum disorders who are looking for guidance, and this book provides it. . . . If you have aspergers, ADHD, autism or if you feel left out in any way (or if you love or teach someone in any or all of the aforementioned categories), you must read this book.”
—Laura Shumaker, City Brights, San Francisco Chronicle
 
“In a love poem to his wife, Pedro Salinas, the Spanish poet, wrote, ‘Glory to the differences / between you and me.’ John Robison teaches us to celebrate differences like Salinas did, but also offers clear insight and valuable advice on how to cope with the challenges that being different can create. This book transcends the specific case of Asperger’s syndrome and is a lesson in humanity and the human condition.”
—Alvaro Pascual-Leone, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
 
“Anyone with Asperger’s, if not everyone else, will derive knowledge and pleasure from the wonderful stories told in John Elder Robison’s newest book, Be Different. Clearly, John is one of our community’s leading voices.”
—Michael John Carley, author of Asperger’s from the Inside Out and executive director of GRASP and ASTEP
 
Be Different is a fascinating and unique guide for young people who may be struggling with autism and feel ‘out of sync’ with the world around them. John shares personal insights about growing up, feeling apart from his peers, and learning to modify his socializing skills and harness his gifts to discover his path to a successful life.”
—Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks
 
“Robison offers down-to-earth life advice for his “Aspie” peers and their friends, families, and teachers... recommended reading for anyone seeking to understand Aspergian children and adults
Kirkus





From the Hardcover edition.