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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

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

Written by David Finch

Narrated by David Finch


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

Written by David Finch

Narrated by David Finch

ratings:
4.5/5 (27 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677439
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What 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, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility. 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-no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter's, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism-spectrum condition makes seeing his wife's point of view a near impossibility.

Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful. They include "Don't change the radio station when she's singing along," "Apologies do not count when you shout them," and "Be her friend, first and always." Guided by the Journal of Best Practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world's most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest, 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.
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2012
ISBN:
9781452677439
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

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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What people think about The Journal of Best Practices

4.3
27 ratings / 14 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I read the essay excerpt in the NYTimes (or wherever it was published?), and found it funny and insightful as a person who teaches a lot of middle schoolers with Asperger's, but I think that was enough. The book was repetitive. I also wonder about the social context in which his wife stayed with him through some seriously abusive behavior. I'm not going to judge a marriage I know only through a one-sided memoir, but I hope she's okay.
  • (5/5)
    Beautiful, funny, and insightful. I'm so glad to have read this :)
  • (5/5)
    A great read! This concise book describes one family's recognition of Asperger's measurement & impact in an easy read for non-clinicians.It provides he
  • (5/5)
    I give it 5 stars because it stretches past the asperger/neurotypical marriage to teach us something about marriage in general. David Finch pursues his wife and a better marriage with such focus and determination that I wonder if he is for real. I give it 5 stars because I work with teenagers with asperger's and David Finch gives me hope for them and for their future relationships. I give it 5 stars because he tells a great story and makes me laugh out loud!
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    I was attracted to this book because my son is on the autism spectrum. I find it helpful to read books written by adults with high-functioning autism because they often clearly describe what their world looks and feels like. It turns out that this is actually one of the best books on marriage from a husband's viewpoint that I have ever read. Finch credits British psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen's work for helping Finch understand himself. If Baron-Cohen is right that "autism can be considered as an extreme of the normal male (brain/psychological) profile," then every married man can learn from this book.

    Finch and his wife Kristen go through five years of pain and emotional separation in marriage before Finch is diagnosed with autism. He is quite fortunate to have married a woman to show him "true grace" and be willing to both put up with his quirks in the surprise that she is not who he thought she was, and to slowly work with him to improve the marriage after the diagnosis.

    Finch and his wife were friends in high school and began dating in college. He admits that he worked hard to put on his "best face" all the time and hide many of his quirks. Despite clear warning signs while they were living together, both thought the situation would magically improve once they got married and that the other party would change for the better, just like many young married couples. Misguided expectations lead to bitter disappointment.

    Finch is determined to overcome his symptoms and become the perfect husband. He keeps a daily journal of his epiphanies and progress as he learns things like how to be empathetic, how to deal with change and disappointment, how to have constructive conflict, etc. His problem isn't just Asperger syndrome, it's also having conservative parents who never argued and allowed no conflict within the house as models. He marries someone dynamically different from him, she stays in the marriage because he makes her laugh and she knows he'd do anything for her, and eventually they have kids.

    If you've read any book on marriage, you've seen to-do lists for husbands to improve upon: "Show more affection, find ways to have fun together, listen to her and don't try to solve all her problems..." Imagine a husband picking up one of those books and determining to do all of them better than any husband and you have Finch. Finch does not rely on marriage books but learns these lessons directly from his wife and sets about to improve himself as intensely as any of his other obsessions. While his wife appreciates the effort, just the fact that he's constantly looking for improvement like a machine really drives her nuts. But he learns what it means to see things from her perspective, how to listen to her, and how to be her friend. The goal is to restore the friendship that they enjoyed so much before and while they were dating-- something every married couple should struggle to do. "Be her friend, first and always."

    It was also great to read how he dealt with his kids. When given the responsibility to get his toddlers ready for daycare in the morning after Kristen leaves for work and he heads to his office, he goes about trying to meet their needs but not showing the love that they desperately need. He eventually finds the right balance.

    It's also a good look at his work life as a sort of electronic engineer and later as a salesman. Somehow he advances through the ranks but also determines that he'll put everything aside to be a better husband and father.

    In the end he is able to put down the notebook and intensity and just be there for his family. The family develops into the one he dreamed of, with pictures on the wall, the wife cooking dinner for the family to eat together while he plays with the kids, etc. It's a beautiful, and almost unbelievable, ending.

    If you do not have a loved one on the autism spectrum, you may find the book annoying, particularly all of Finch's snide, sarcastic self-deprecating remarks throughout the book (demonstrating his humor, which he has to practice). The book also contains a lot of profanity. But I give it 4 stars out of 5, and recommend it.
  • (3/5)
    Narrated by the author. Finch's reading brings listeners an intimately personal view on his journey to improve his marriage and relationship with his family after an Asperger's diagnosis. He reads with self-effacing humor which gives a light touch to his serious work of bettering a marriage. This could help shed light on how to successfully interact with people who have Asperger's...or those who are neurotypical!
  • (1/5)
    Way too much irrelevant information. I feel sorry for his wife, assuming he's even being authentic about having one seeing as the actual Aspergers diagnosis was questionable. He definitely gave a good example of how boring an egocentric person can be (Aspergers or not); that's nothing to write a book about. The fact that the whole book was filled with nothing of value goes to show that he either learned nothing at all, or is trying a little too hard to sound like he has AS. I suppose the one thing this book proves is that egocentric people will do anything to satisfy their cravings. Big surprise.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this work. The author provides a very clear look at what it's like to be in a relationship with an Aspie...and he manages to be quite funny along the way!
  • (3/5)
    This was very interesting and edifying. The book was fairly repetitive but it was okay that way, as one feels like one gets a fair picture of the author. I think the author's wife is way more forbearing and sweet than I would be in similar straits.
  • (4/5)
    The author was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome five years into his marriage. At that time, he and his wife, Kristen, had two children. While feeling some relief that his idiosyncracies were due to a specific condition, he still battled making his life and the life of those he loved bearable. The Journal of Best Practices is based on the notes he made for himself of "Best Practices" to overcome his personality quirks. Very interesting and at times it is laugh out loud funny. I found it very informative as well. Would recommend to those interested in Asperger's.
  • (4/5)
    The subtitle of the book provides the perfect summary: “A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband.” David Finch has written a blisteringly honest account of what it feels like to have Asperger Syndrome and how this condition affects your life, especially a marriage and relationship with children. Finch has a good (albeit often sophomoric) sense of humor, and that makes the book quite readable. However, I wish he could have co-written it with his wife, Kristen, as I would have LOVED to have gotten her view of matters. (She sounds like a saint, to be honest.) In the beginning, Finch says something along the lines of “having Aspergers kind of makes you like a really typical insensitive guy … only more so,” and that did seem true. Many of his accounts seemed like jackass stuff that guys do and women complain about (complete cluelessness about feelings, insensitivity, inappropriate jokes, etc.), but Finch is good at conveying that, while “normal” guys might be operating at a volume of 3, guys with Aspergers operate with the volume turned up to 10. If you’re interested in what it feels like to have Aspergers or have someone in your life with the condition, I imagine this would be a must read book. I found it quite interesting, and I think Finch was brave to share his story and provide the world with an insight of what it feels like to live with this type of mind.
  • (5/5)
    A great story of David Finch's struggle to be the husband and father that Asperger syndrome was preventing him from being. Very candid telling of the obstacles he had to overcome, obstacles that were internal and for many would have been overwhelming to address let alone confront. This was a touching story about how much he clearly loves his wife, she is lucky to have a husband so devoted to her. Mr. Finch is very funny and has a great "voice", when reading this I felt like I knew this couple and found myself rooting for them from the very start.
  • (4/5)
    This is a memoir of sorts by a man who was diagnosed first by his wife and then by a professional as having Asperger's Syndrome, which falls in the autism spectrum. David Finch is a brilliant and funny man but he has many eccentricities and compulsions , which he realizes are undermining his marriage and family life. He works diligently - and obsessively - writing all of his best practices for overcoming his shortcomings into a notebook.I wanted to understand more about Aspergers, and I think Finch does a great job of letting you get into his head, seeing life from his perspective. He struggles to understand empathy toward and involvement with other people. And he does so with just the right touch of self-deprecating humor.