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This book (which is part memoir and part Neuro for Newbies textbook) tells the personal story of the author's participation in and response to clinical research trials investigating the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on the social and emotional intelligence of adults with Asperger's syndrome. Robison's response to TMS is nothing short of life-changing; everything from his marriage and family, to his career as a business owner, to his avocations as a music aficionado and amateur photographer is shaken to its very foundations and emerges completely altered. Anyone even slightly interested in autism spectrum disorders and/or brain research will be hooked from the very first chapters.
The book's only drawbacks--one related to content, one to performance--are ironically both likely related to the author's status as an Aspie. First, he writes like an Aspie, with fully competent grammar, usage and sentence mechanics, but a somewhat pedantic style, with perhaps an overreliance on technical details. Secondly, he reads his own words, which on the one hand is great (makes his memoir feel more authentic; makes the emotion more palpably real), but on the other hand will pose a problem for listeners who are easily put off by a less-than-stellar narrator. As a speech therapist, I couldn't help but cringe as I listened to his decreased respiratory support resulting in short breath groups of four to six words separated by pauses. For example, he reads like this: "As Howard Gardner first wrote....decades ago in Multiple Intelligences.... there are a variety.... of distinct intellectual capacities and orientations....that contribute to our understanding....of ourselves and our place....in society.” That's a lot of pauses, and DOES make the techie parts sound more boring than they need to, as well as distracting somewhat from the emotional impact of the more emotional parts of the story. I recommend either listening at 1.25 x normal speed, or supplementing listening to the Audible book by simultaneously reading the print version. I did both, and was VERY glad I did! Highly recommended.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
The book is an anecdotal account of the author's experience of taking TMS (transcranal magnetic stimulation), as an experimental treatment for autism (he'll often use the word Asperger instead of 'autism'). The author is a good narrator, and tells his personnel experiences in a very likable manner.
Overall, I think I could have gotten what I wanted out of the book by reading a magazine length article on the merits and wizardry on TMS instead. I had wondered about the efficacy of the procedure before reading this book, and to the author's credit, I still wonder because he doesn't go beyond what the current science says and much more science needs to be done before easy answers can be given.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful