Apr 1, 2008

Animals In Translation

Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
by Temple Grandin

I found this book utterly fascinating. It looks at animal behavior, emotions and intelligence from the viewpoint and understanding of an autistic experience. Temple Grandin, a professional designer of animal-handling systems, explains in depth how autism has lead her to identify with many ways in which animals feel, see and experience the world. She shares insights on many different species: dogs, cats, horses, pigs, chickens, cattle and others like prairie dogs, dolphins and elephants. I have never before read a book that goes so in depth what it is like to be in another's skin. Grandin repeatedly demonstrates how physical aspects of an animal's being affect their perception of and responses to the environment, and how their natural senses and intelligence give them specialized abilities we cannot readily understand (like dogs who predict seizures). Animals In Translation is one of the best non-fiction books on my shelf, and just writing this review about it, flipping through its pages, makes me want to read it all over again.

Rating: 5/5                       355 pages, 2005


  1. This sounds really interesting! I heard a lot about Grandin when I was in school for my ECE, and also when I was working with a little autistic boy, but I've never read anything by her.

  2. Do you have any pets other than the cat? I would LOVE to know what my cat is thinking--especially in the morning when she meows her little head off. Sounds like an interesting read!

  3. I've heard of her and I think my library has her books. I think she actually made changes to the way animals are sent to slaughter--so it is in a more humane way (which seems to be an oxymoron, eh?). It's amazing that she has such an understanding, and I think it's wonderful the things she's done.

  4. I have two cats!

    I believe it's true that Temple Grandin has been instrumental in changing how animals are handled and treated in slaughterhouses. She is an amazing woman.


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