Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation speaks in the clear voice of a woman who emerged from the other side of autism, bringing with her an extraordinary message about how animals think and feel.

Temple's professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Standing at the intersection of autism and animals, she offers unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas about both.

Autistic people can often think the way animals think -- in fact, Grandin and co-author Catherine Johnson see autism as a kind of way station on the road from animals to humans -- putting autistic people in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Temple is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. Not only are animals much smarter than anyone ever imagined, in some cases animals are out-and-out brilliant.

The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense, merging an animal scientist's thirty years of study with her keen perceptions as a person with autism -- Temple sees what others cannot.

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



Temple Grandin is like no other author on the subject of animals because of her training and because of her autism: understanding animals is in her blood and in her bones.

Topics: Language, Autism, Animals, Dogs, Communication, Neurology, Horses, Cognitive Science, Stress, Birds, Music, Popular Science, Personality Psychology, Inspirational, Philosophical, and Essays

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781439130841
List price: $14.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin and Catherine Jo...
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
fascinating insight into the animal and human brain from a person with autismmore
I'm not really much of an animal person, but I liked this book a lot, mostly for the view it gives you of what it might be like to be autistic.

I'd be interested to meet Temple Grandin. I'm amazed that she has managed to build such an impressive career, since she says in this book that until she was about thirty, every day she had the same feeling of anxiety that you get when you are about to defend your doctoral dissertation. Every day!

She eventually started taking medication that improved things for her, but it's hard to imagine surviving that level of stress for so long.

If you do have a pet, definitely read this book--it gives a lot of interesting insights into why animals behave the way they do.more
In Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin describes how her autism helps her discover how animals perceive the world. She compares an autistic person’s perceptions with animals’ perceptions, and contrasts them with how non-autistic people think. She also gives her own ideas about how domesticated animals can be treated/trained in order to provide them with the best environment possible. Overall, a very interesting book...It changed my perception of how autistic people and animals think.more
Not sure what I expected but I found this book to be quite intriguing. Learned a lot about how animals think and learn, but it was even more interesting foiled against how most of us think, and how autistics often think/learn. An interesting read.more
This book will help you understand that animals are real: they think and have emotions, just like people. And just like people, animals are individual unto themselves and their breed/species. It seemed like this book focused more on trying to relate that animals think, see, smell, learn, and react differently than people, making them different but not less. This may be what Grandin was trying to convey about non-autistic people compared to autistic people.Some of the statements have to be taken lightly, as it seems were personal opinion overlaps scientific foundation, making it seem as though all statements are proven and should be cautioned. All in all, it is a very good book for the behavioral understanding of animals and an introductory for human and animal empathy.more
As a woman with autism, Temple Grandin adds an interesting and important voice to the conversation regarding animal rights and animals' involvement in our lives generally. She suggests that because "normal human beings are built to see what they're expecting to see," it is hard for us to conceptualize how differently non-human animals think and perceive their world. Animals and people with autism share a much stronger reaction to novelty, meaning that they're highly detail-oriented and also may be disturbed by things that most people wouldn't recognize as anything out of the ordinary: light or shadows or flickering. Logic, and the sequencing of cause and effect, happen differently than in 'normal' thought processes, and things that don't make sense can be as great of a disturbance as audio-visual signals.Writing all of this out, I feel kind of horrible that it sounds rather like "Autistic people are just like animals." That's not my point nor Grandin's. Instead, her book aims to raise awareness of the 'otherness' of animal psychology, and she illustrates that with her own experience of mental 'otherness.' She argues strongly against our tendency to anthropomorphize animals, particularly pets; being overly confident about their motives may lead to bad training if not cruel practices. I did wonder how much she restrained her own tendency to say with confidence what animals are really thinking or acting upon, showing the same caution, but she's a great animal behaviorist doing important research and work to treat animals with respect and dignity.more
Fantastic book! Possessing the particular combo of autism/brain/personality/abilities that she has, Temple clearly has a unique foot-in-both-worlds when it comes to animals and humans. Which is one thing to assert, but Temple's writings make you understand exactly how accurate an assessment that is. I feel fortunate to have had her influence and perspectives present in the advances/improvements to the humane slaughter of (food source) animals, and simply to have been able to so thoroughly enjoy the insight she has into both human and animal behavior.more
This is certainly an interesting book. Temple Grandin is an autistic woman who found a way to apply her specific autistic sensitivity toward the solution of real-world problems. She works as a consultant for slaughterhouse and placed where animals are raised, treated, and killed. She draws parallels between her experience with autism and her understanding of how animals think, and experience/feel the world. The book is written in a non-fluid English: each sentence sounds of independent from the previous and the next ones. But after a while I got used to that. What I didn't like was mostly her way of mixing scientific statement with her intuitions, hypothesis, and some anecdotal evidence. A more rigorous distinction between facts and non-facts could help to increase her credibility. Despite all the explanations she provided, I still have problem to understand how an animal lover can work for a slaughterhouse.more
A high-functioning autistic PhD who designs humane livestock holding and processing facilities shares her insights on animals and humans. Because she primarily thinks in images rather than words and because her autism makes it difficult to generalize, Grandin believes her own perceptions are more typical of animal perceptions than are those of neurotypical humans. In an interesting and accesible style, she integrates a lot of research findings about how animals (primarily domestic animals) perceive the world and react to those perceptions. She also ventures into the emotional life of animals.more
A must read for all animal owners. Excellent insight into your animal's behavior! Four stars!more
every human being who has/will come in contact with animals should read this book. grandin takes complex concepts such as human and animal psychology, physiology and neurology and translates them into well constructed anecdotes. at times funny, and at times eye opening, this book is the one guidebook i would recommend to living peacefully with animals.if you've ever wondered why animals behave the way they do, or if you've ever wanted to consider how much animals can tell us about ourselves, run to the bookstore now and get this book!more
I never realized just how terrifying the world can be through the eyes of a cow. Or a pig. Or that dolphins are capable of extreme cruelty. Or just how destructive selective breeding can be. Or...I don't think there was a page in Grandin's book where I didn't learn something. In her characteristic fashion, the writing is full of statements (rather than passive remarks) and strong opinions. The woman knows what she knows and that's that, but she has a track record to back up a lot of her claims. She specializes in human slaughter systems, and literally revolutionized the industry in North America.The book gives a lot of face time to the idea that animals and autistic people think visually rather than linguistically, seeing details instead of the whole. She provides examples of animal remorse, superstition, incredible discernment, and perhaps most shocking of all, outrageous deliberate cruelty.There are fascinating anecdotes and examples throughout the book, and while you may not be as interested in her musings on her work in slaughterhouses, I encourage you to read through these paragraphs anyway. Occasionally you'll find a gem of information that may change the way you understand and relate to a certain species.If you're interested in animals and animal behavior, this is an excellent resource. You may not necessarily learn a lot you don't already know about autism, but it may help you to understand a little better how these people perceive the world around them.more
I have a number of conflicts with this book – which should in no way diminish the remarkable body of observations made by Dr Grandlin. It is generally accepted as cold hard fact that animals don’t think like humans. Until such time as there is scientifically verifiable information and understanding, we, as scientists, don’t know how humans *or* animals think. With ongoing study using functional MRI (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning we are learning more about the workings of the brain in many species.It is somewhat clearer and better understood that perceptual and cognitive processing in persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and the general population can be quite different. There has been advancement in this field in the few years since the first edition of Animals in Translation was published and is not unreasonable to expect far greater understanding of the variety and depth of ASDs in the next few years.As a behaviorist Dr Grandlin effectively uses her perceptual abilities which are rather outside the conventional ‘boxes’. That she has developed some methods of livestock management that might not have otherwise been implemented. There is no question that she observes things that can be applied to some animals very effectively, as the numerous anecdotal examples in the book illustrate. What is not clearly addressed is that techniques that are effective on large livestock do not apply to domestic pets, foul or other species. There are some presumptive statements regarding canine behavior a species which she admits having minimal experience with and the behavior she asserts is inconsistent with the experiences of dog handlers and trainers in a wide variety of disciplines; (Search & Rescue, Police and Security, Service Dogs of varying specialty).What I hope many people bring away from this book is not the controversy of animal behavior, slaughterhouse and feedlot practices and whether or not a person eats meat, but that there are as many variations of perception and cognition as there are species. ASDs come in an enormously wide variety from people you would never recognize as having one to the stereotypical internally focused, non-verbal, rocking child. There can be huge value in thinking outside the norms, as Dr Grandlin and Bill Gates (with his publically acknowledged Asperger’s Syndrome).Recognizing this and allowing for adaptations when some students are simply incapable of learning in ‘conventional’ ways will allow all of society to benefit from the advances these people can make, because it’s simply not comprehensible to them that something *can’t* be done just because it never was before. The potentials for humanity and the species we share the Earth with are indeed boundless, if only given the opportunity to function in a way that optimizes and celebrates them, rather than marginalizing and stereotyping.more
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.more
For a book written by someone with a PhD, I was quite surprised at the lack of facts in this book. There are much better books on animal behavior out there, and they've been out there for a while. Especially about dogs. For example: "The other end of the leash" by Patricia McConnell, and "Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. I see nothing new or innovative about the ideas in this book.However, as a cute book of anecdotes about animals acting in concordance with the author's suppositions, this book is mildly entertaining.more
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.more
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.more
Temple Grandin is autistic and brilliant. She is known for her work with animals, in particular cattle; she's designed half of the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. In this book with Cathrine Johnson, she explores the viewpoints of animals themselves in contrast with autistic and normal people. The results are astonishing. The subject sounds dry, but the writing is not. Through citations of scientific studies and personal experience, Grandin makes the case for animal brilliance. I could note any numbers of especially intriguing information in this book:- Rapist roosters are becoming more prevalent because as chickens have been bred for bigger breasts, they have lost other important genetic material such as mating dances. Some roosters also murder the hen after the rape.- Albinos are highly unusual in nature, and with reason - they have more flaws and nervous problems. This is becoming more prevalent with Dalmatians, which are being bred to be as white as possible, but are having increasing health issues that are harming the integrity of the breed.- How animals handle pain, and why: if a prey animal shows pain, it makes them likely to be culled by a predator. Certain breeds are more tolerable of pain, such as Labradors, because they are a type of dog designed to jump into ice-cold water. This pain tolerance is why they handle young children so well.- A leucotomy is similar to a lobotomy but only severs the connections to the frontal lobe instead of removing it entirely. The 1949 Nobel Prize winner developed the procedure to assist people dealing with severe, chronic pain. These patients still felt the tremendous pain, constantly, but after the operation they no longer cared. They could finally function in their daily lives and the pain just didn't matter anymore.In case you couldn't tell, this is an awesome book to completely geek-out with. I couldn't wait to share facts like these with my husband and my mom. In addition, since my son is autistic, I learned more about seeing the world through his viewpoint, something that presents a daily challenge in my household. I can only hope he grows up and experiences as much success as Temple Grandin.more
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!more
I was totally hooked from the very beginning of this book. It provides many insights into neuroscience (both animals and human), animal behaviors, and how an autistic person's mind works. Grandin draws on both her personal experience as an autistic and her professional experience as a Ph.d. in Animal Science to allow those of us who are "cursed" with normal minds a glimpse into another way of viewing the world around us.While many may be turned off by her work with the USDA and the slaughtering industry, one must still admire her dedication to improving conditions to an optimal level for the animals. The book is careful to delineate between established and proven research and Grandin's own personal observations and hypotheses regarding certain animal behaviors. I wouldn't normally review a book that I am only half-way through reading, but this one is so captivating, informative, and thought provoking up to this point, that even if the rest of the book is totally disappointing, I would still consider it a great read. Entertainment Weekly explains it best in its blurb when it states that this "is one of those rare books that elicit a 'wow' on almost every page."more
Very interesting book about animals and brain function. I learned a few new things about my pets and also about domestic animals in general.more
Everything this book discusses is thought provoking. She makes strong arguments that challenge old paradigms about animal intelligence, language use in animals and how domesticated animals were crucial to our own survival. Her section on dogs and how they were instrumental in helping us survive and evolve was particularly interesting to me. I loved this book and I am sure everyone around me is happy I have stopped reading it because I couldn't stop quoting from it for about 2 weeks.more
Temple Grandin, PhD, has done something extraordinary: combined her experiences as an animal scientist and an autistic person to give us new insights into the amazing inner world of animals. In her irresistably fun, anecdotal style, Grandin describes the most recent research on the senses, the brain, and emotions, ultimately explaining our own feelings and actions as well as those of animals. Entertainment Weekly says it best: “At once hilarious, fascinating, and just plain weird, Animals is one of those rare books that elicit a ‘wow’ on almost every page.”more
This is an interesting and insightful look at some of the ways in which animals think, it made me think about the treatment of animals and how I could help make things better.It advocates looking at things from an animals perspective and thinking about how to make their lives easier. It includes things like how to train our domestic friends how to tolerate children and the new and how to notice if there are issues. It's interesting to see how Temple herself can see this because of her autism. She seems to have a way into thinking like an animal because of it but a way into talking to other people about it as well. I particularly enjoyed the stories of the parrot Arthur, who died recently, and how she has managed to think her way through the ways in which animals really think instead of trying to understand them on a human level.It's well worth reading, particularly if you have a pet or plan to have one, or just want a different perspective on animals.more
This book really impressed me. I realize that many of her insights come not from a research background, but from her own experiences and feelings. Still, much of what she says about animal behavior rings very true, and I think her work could provide a basis for future research. All that aside, the book is full of interesting stories, from the perspective of a unique woman. I enjoyed it quite a bit.more
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.more
This is a fantastic book! It references many studies on ethology (animal behavior), as well as anecdotal information, to prove the author's contention that animals and people with autism are similar in their perceptions and thinking.I couldn't put it down.more
A problematic book about an interesting subject, how animals think and perceive, and how they may be similar to autistics. Temple is an autistic person, and a person who works for the meatpacking industry to streamline the killing process. That fact can't be ignored, because it brings to mind the similarity with 'Tobacco Science'. I make no judgment about whether they use her and her self-admitted narrow focus, or whether she is a willing participant for reasons of her own.In fact there is not a lot of science in the book, mostly just opinion, and stories of experience, hers and others. She makes some amazingly wacky statements, like skin color determines temperament and behavior, even in people. She confuses white animals with albinos, and doesn't consider that it may not be breeding, but cramped conditions and a destructive un-natural environment which causes rapist roosters, and other animal aberrations. In a bit of industry cover up, she talks about vets removing beak tips to prevent damage, when it has been reported, it is animal handlers who de-beak.The book is better in the later chapters. Temple also does better when she is talking about farm animals, about which she knows something, than about pets, which she doesn't. The writing is simple and at the start oddly repetitive. While she mentions it as one of her problems, she does have a co-author and an editor, so why they let it slide I have no idea. Throughout the book Temple talks about how animals and autistics see the world the same way, and how they process information in the brain the same way. But she offers no evidence, just conjecture and opinion.I think she makes some interesting points about animal intelligence, and communication, and she is correct about the built in resistance to the idea that animals are more than a bundle of instincts.The biggest problem I have is the idea that she is an animal lover, that she knows how they think and feel, and yet sees no problem in helping to slaughter them. Yes, its part of the culture, but that doesn't make it right. At one time we thought keeping slaves and child labor was right. With her insight it is disappointing to see that she is not using it to really help the animals. Her argument that she is making their conditions better, so they have a better life and an easier death, strikes me as a cop out. The twaddle about autistic metabolism needing meat is simply a security blanket for Temple. Another parallel comes to mind: When the Nazis shipped people off to be killed, would it have been better, or more acceptable if their conditions were improved ? I think not. So what does it say about her that she is arguing that animals think and feel, but hey, its ok to eat them, as long as they are treated well ?more
Excellent book. Fascinating look at the world from the perspective of an autistic person and her insights into the way animals think and communicate.more
Read all 49 reviews

Reviews

fascinating insight into the animal and human brain from a person with autismmore
I'm not really much of an animal person, but I liked this book a lot, mostly for the view it gives you of what it might be like to be autistic.

I'd be interested to meet Temple Grandin. I'm amazed that she has managed to build such an impressive career, since she says in this book that until she was about thirty, every day she had the same feeling of anxiety that you get when you are about to defend your doctoral dissertation. Every day!

She eventually started taking medication that improved things for her, but it's hard to imagine surviving that level of stress for so long.

If you do have a pet, definitely read this book--it gives a lot of interesting insights into why animals behave the way they do.more
In Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin describes how her autism helps her discover how animals perceive the world. She compares an autistic person’s perceptions with animals’ perceptions, and contrasts them with how non-autistic people think. She also gives her own ideas about how domesticated animals can be treated/trained in order to provide them with the best environment possible. Overall, a very interesting book...It changed my perception of how autistic people and animals think.more
Not sure what I expected but I found this book to be quite intriguing. Learned a lot about how animals think and learn, but it was even more interesting foiled against how most of us think, and how autistics often think/learn. An interesting read.more
This book will help you understand that animals are real: they think and have emotions, just like people. And just like people, animals are individual unto themselves and their breed/species. It seemed like this book focused more on trying to relate that animals think, see, smell, learn, and react differently than people, making them different but not less. This may be what Grandin was trying to convey about non-autistic people compared to autistic people.Some of the statements have to be taken lightly, as it seems were personal opinion overlaps scientific foundation, making it seem as though all statements are proven and should be cautioned. All in all, it is a very good book for the behavioral understanding of animals and an introductory for human and animal empathy.more
As a woman with autism, Temple Grandin adds an interesting and important voice to the conversation regarding animal rights and animals' involvement in our lives generally. She suggests that because "normal human beings are built to see what they're expecting to see," it is hard for us to conceptualize how differently non-human animals think and perceive their world. Animals and people with autism share a much stronger reaction to novelty, meaning that they're highly detail-oriented and also may be disturbed by things that most people wouldn't recognize as anything out of the ordinary: light or shadows or flickering. Logic, and the sequencing of cause and effect, happen differently than in 'normal' thought processes, and things that don't make sense can be as great of a disturbance as audio-visual signals.Writing all of this out, I feel kind of horrible that it sounds rather like "Autistic people are just like animals." That's not my point nor Grandin's. Instead, her book aims to raise awareness of the 'otherness' of animal psychology, and she illustrates that with her own experience of mental 'otherness.' She argues strongly against our tendency to anthropomorphize animals, particularly pets; being overly confident about their motives may lead to bad training if not cruel practices. I did wonder how much she restrained her own tendency to say with confidence what animals are really thinking or acting upon, showing the same caution, but she's a great animal behaviorist doing important research and work to treat animals with respect and dignity.more
Fantastic book! Possessing the particular combo of autism/brain/personality/abilities that she has, Temple clearly has a unique foot-in-both-worlds when it comes to animals and humans. Which is one thing to assert, but Temple's writings make you understand exactly how accurate an assessment that is. I feel fortunate to have had her influence and perspectives present in the advances/improvements to the humane slaughter of (food source) animals, and simply to have been able to so thoroughly enjoy the insight she has into both human and animal behavior.more
This is certainly an interesting book. Temple Grandin is an autistic woman who found a way to apply her specific autistic sensitivity toward the solution of real-world problems. She works as a consultant for slaughterhouse and placed where animals are raised, treated, and killed. She draws parallels between her experience with autism and her understanding of how animals think, and experience/feel the world. The book is written in a non-fluid English: each sentence sounds of independent from the previous and the next ones. But after a while I got used to that. What I didn't like was mostly her way of mixing scientific statement with her intuitions, hypothesis, and some anecdotal evidence. A more rigorous distinction between facts and non-facts could help to increase her credibility. Despite all the explanations she provided, I still have problem to understand how an animal lover can work for a slaughterhouse.more
A high-functioning autistic PhD who designs humane livestock holding and processing facilities shares her insights on animals and humans. Because she primarily thinks in images rather than words and because her autism makes it difficult to generalize, Grandin believes her own perceptions are more typical of animal perceptions than are those of neurotypical humans. In an interesting and accesible style, she integrates a lot of research findings about how animals (primarily domestic animals) perceive the world and react to those perceptions. She also ventures into the emotional life of animals.more
A must read for all animal owners. Excellent insight into your animal's behavior! Four stars!more
every human being who has/will come in contact with animals should read this book. grandin takes complex concepts such as human and animal psychology, physiology and neurology and translates them into well constructed anecdotes. at times funny, and at times eye opening, this book is the one guidebook i would recommend to living peacefully with animals.if you've ever wondered why animals behave the way they do, or if you've ever wanted to consider how much animals can tell us about ourselves, run to the bookstore now and get this book!more
I never realized just how terrifying the world can be through the eyes of a cow. Or a pig. Or that dolphins are capable of extreme cruelty. Or just how destructive selective breeding can be. Or...I don't think there was a page in Grandin's book where I didn't learn something. In her characteristic fashion, the writing is full of statements (rather than passive remarks) and strong opinions. The woman knows what she knows and that's that, but she has a track record to back up a lot of her claims. She specializes in human slaughter systems, and literally revolutionized the industry in North America.The book gives a lot of face time to the idea that animals and autistic people think visually rather than linguistically, seeing details instead of the whole. She provides examples of animal remorse, superstition, incredible discernment, and perhaps most shocking of all, outrageous deliberate cruelty.There are fascinating anecdotes and examples throughout the book, and while you may not be as interested in her musings on her work in slaughterhouses, I encourage you to read through these paragraphs anyway. Occasionally you'll find a gem of information that may change the way you understand and relate to a certain species.If you're interested in animals and animal behavior, this is an excellent resource. You may not necessarily learn a lot you don't already know about autism, but it may help you to understand a little better how these people perceive the world around them.more
I have a number of conflicts with this book – which should in no way diminish the remarkable body of observations made by Dr Grandlin. It is generally accepted as cold hard fact that animals don’t think like humans. Until such time as there is scientifically verifiable information and understanding, we, as scientists, don’t know how humans *or* animals think. With ongoing study using functional MRI (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning we are learning more about the workings of the brain in many species.It is somewhat clearer and better understood that perceptual and cognitive processing in persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and the general population can be quite different. There has been advancement in this field in the few years since the first edition of Animals in Translation was published and is not unreasonable to expect far greater understanding of the variety and depth of ASDs in the next few years.As a behaviorist Dr Grandlin effectively uses her perceptual abilities which are rather outside the conventional ‘boxes’. That she has developed some methods of livestock management that might not have otherwise been implemented. There is no question that she observes things that can be applied to some animals very effectively, as the numerous anecdotal examples in the book illustrate. What is not clearly addressed is that techniques that are effective on large livestock do not apply to domestic pets, foul or other species. There are some presumptive statements regarding canine behavior a species which she admits having minimal experience with and the behavior she asserts is inconsistent with the experiences of dog handlers and trainers in a wide variety of disciplines; (Search & Rescue, Police and Security, Service Dogs of varying specialty).What I hope many people bring away from this book is not the controversy of animal behavior, slaughterhouse and feedlot practices and whether or not a person eats meat, but that there are as many variations of perception and cognition as there are species. ASDs come in an enormously wide variety from people you would never recognize as having one to the stereotypical internally focused, non-verbal, rocking child. There can be huge value in thinking outside the norms, as Dr Grandlin and Bill Gates (with his publically acknowledged Asperger’s Syndrome).Recognizing this and allowing for adaptations when some students are simply incapable of learning in ‘conventional’ ways will allow all of society to benefit from the advances these people can make, because it’s simply not comprehensible to them that something *can’t* be done just because it never was before. The potentials for humanity and the species we share the Earth with are indeed boundless, if only given the opportunity to function in a way that optimizes and celebrates them, rather than marginalizing and stereotyping.more
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.more
For a book written by someone with a PhD, I was quite surprised at the lack of facts in this book. There are much better books on animal behavior out there, and they've been out there for a while. Especially about dogs. For example: "The other end of the leash" by Patricia McConnell, and "Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. I see nothing new or innovative about the ideas in this book.However, as a cute book of anecdotes about animals acting in concordance with the author's suppositions, this book is mildly entertaining.more
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.more
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.more
Temple Grandin is autistic and brilliant. She is known for her work with animals, in particular cattle; she's designed half of the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. In this book with Cathrine Johnson, she explores the viewpoints of animals themselves in contrast with autistic and normal people. The results are astonishing. The subject sounds dry, but the writing is not. Through citations of scientific studies and personal experience, Grandin makes the case for animal brilliance. I could note any numbers of especially intriguing information in this book:- Rapist roosters are becoming more prevalent because as chickens have been bred for bigger breasts, they have lost other important genetic material such as mating dances. Some roosters also murder the hen after the rape.- Albinos are highly unusual in nature, and with reason - they have more flaws and nervous problems. This is becoming more prevalent with Dalmatians, which are being bred to be as white as possible, but are having increasing health issues that are harming the integrity of the breed.- How animals handle pain, and why: if a prey animal shows pain, it makes them likely to be culled by a predator. Certain breeds are more tolerable of pain, such as Labradors, because they are a type of dog designed to jump into ice-cold water. This pain tolerance is why they handle young children so well.- A leucotomy is similar to a lobotomy but only severs the connections to the frontal lobe instead of removing it entirely. The 1949 Nobel Prize winner developed the procedure to assist people dealing with severe, chronic pain. These patients still felt the tremendous pain, constantly, but after the operation they no longer cared. They could finally function in their daily lives and the pain just didn't matter anymore.In case you couldn't tell, this is an awesome book to completely geek-out with. I couldn't wait to share facts like these with my husband and my mom. In addition, since my son is autistic, I learned more about seeing the world through his viewpoint, something that presents a daily challenge in my household. I can only hope he grows up and experiences as much success as Temple Grandin.more
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!more
I was totally hooked from the very beginning of this book. It provides many insights into neuroscience (both animals and human), animal behaviors, and how an autistic person's mind works. Grandin draws on both her personal experience as an autistic and her professional experience as a Ph.d. in Animal Science to allow those of us who are "cursed" with normal minds a glimpse into another way of viewing the world around us.While many may be turned off by her work with the USDA and the slaughtering industry, one must still admire her dedication to improving conditions to an optimal level for the animals. The book is careful to delineate between established and proven research and Grandin's own personal observations and hypotheses regarding certain animal behaviors. I wouldn't normally review a book that I am only half-way through reading, but this one is so captivating, informative, and thought provoking up to this point, that even if the rest of the book is totally disappointing, I would still consider it a great read. Entertainment Weekly explains it best in its blurb when it states that this "is one of those rare books that elicit a 'wow' on almost every page."more
Very interesting book about animals and brain function. I learned a few new things about my pets and also about domestic animals in general.more
Everything this book discusses is thought provoking. She makes strong arguments that challenge old paradigms about animal intelligence, language use in animals and how domesticated animals were crucial to our own survival. Her section on dogs and how they were instrumental in helping us survive and evolve was particularly interesting to me. I loved this book and I am sure everyone around me is happy I have stopped reading it because I couldn't stop quoting from it for about 2 weeks.more
Temple Grandin, PhD, has done something extraordinary: combined her experiences as an animal scientist and an autistic person to give us new insights into the amazing inner world of animals. In her irresistably fun, anecdotal style, Grandin describes the most recent research on the senses, the brain, and emotions, ultimately explaining our own feelings and actions as well as those of animals. Entertainment Weekly says it best: “At once hilarious, fascinating, and just plain weird, Animals is one of those rare books that elicit a ‘wow’ on almost every page.”more
This is an interesting and insightful look at some of the ways in which animals think, it made me think about the treatment of animals and how I could help make things better.It advocates looking at things from an animals perspective and thinking about how to make their lives easier. It includes things like how to train our domestic friends how to tolerate children and the new and how to notice if there are issues. It's interesting to see how Temple herself can see this because of her autism. She seems to have a way into thinking like an animal because of it but a way into talking to other people about it as well. I particularly enjoyed the stories of the parrot Arthur, who died recently, and how she has managed to think her way through the ways in which animals really think instead of trying to understand them on a human level.It's well worth reading, particularly if you have a pet or plan to have one, or just want a different perspective on animals.more
This book really impressed me. I realize that many of her insights come not from a research background, but from her own experiences and feelings. Still, much of what she says about animal behavior rings very true, and I think her work could provide a basis for future research. All that aside, the book is full of interesting stories, from the perspective of a unique woman. I enjoyed it quite a bit.more
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.more
This is a fantastic book! It references many studies on ethology (animal behavior), as well as anecdotal information, to prove the author's contention that animals and people with autism are similar in their perceptions and thinking.I couldn't put it down.more
A problematic book about an interesting subject, how animals think and perceive, and how they may be similar to autistics. Temple is an autistic person, and a person who works for the meatpacking industry to streamline the killing process. That fact can't be ignored, because it brings to mind the similarity with 'Tobacco Science'. I make no judgment about whether they use her and her self-admitted narrow focus, or whether she is a willing participant for reasons of her own.In fact there is not a lot of science in the book, mostly just opinion, and stories of experience, hers and others. She makes some amazingly wacky statements, like skin color determines temperament and behavior, even in people. She confuses white animals with albinos, and doesn't consider that it may not be breeding, but cramped conditions and a destructive un-natural environment which causes rapist roosters, and other animal aberrations. In a bit of industry cover up, she talks about vets removing beak tips to prevent damage, when it has been reported, it is animal handlers who de-beak.The book is better in the later chapters. Temple also does better when she is talking about farm animals, about which she knows something, than about pets, which she doesn't. The writing is simple and at the start oddly repetitive. While she mentions it as one of her problems, she does have a co-author and an editor, so why they let it slide I have no idea. Throughout the book Temple talks about how animals and autistics see the world the same way, and how they process information in the brain the same way. But she offers no evidence, just conjecture and opinion.I think she makes some interesting points about animal intelligence, and communication, and she is correct about the built in resistance to the idea that animals are more than a bundle of instincts.The biggest problem I have is the idea that she is an animal lover, that she knows how they think and feel, and yet sees no problem in helping to slaughter them. Yes, its part of the culture, but that doesn't make it right. At one time we thought keeping slaves and child labor was right. With her insight it is disappointing to see that she is not using it to really help the animals. Her argument that she is making their conditions better, so they have a better life and an easier death, strikes me as a cop out. The twaddle about autistic metabolism needing meat is simply a security blanket for Temple. Another parallel comes to mind: When the Nazis shipped people off to be killed, would it have been better, or more acceptable if their conditions were improved ? I think not. So what does it say about her that she is arguing that animals think and feel, but hey, its ok to eat them, as long as they are treated well ?more
Excellent book. Fascinating look at the world from the perspective of an autistic person and her insights into the way animals think and communicate.more
Load more
scribd