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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Elder Robison Narrator: John Elder Robison Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2016 ISBN: 9781101888865
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An extraordinary memoir about the cutting-edge brain therapy that dramatically changed the life and mind of John Elder Robison, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye

Imagine spending the first forty years of your life in darkness, blind to the emotions and social signals of other people. Then imagine that someone suddenly switches the lights on.

John Elder Robison’s bestselling memoir Look Me in the Eye is one of the most widely read and beloved accounts of life with autism. In Switched On, Robison shares the second part of his journey, pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery as he undergoes an experimental brain therapy known as TMS, or transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS drastically changes Robison’s life.

After forty years of feeling like a social misfit—either misreading other people’s emotions or missing them completely, and accepting this as his fate—Robison can suddenly sense a powerful range of emotion in others as a result of the treatments: “It was as if I’d been experiencing the world in black and white all my life, and suddenly I could see everything—and particularly other people—in brilliant, beautiful color.” The ability to connect emotionally with others for the first time brings Robison a kind of joy he has never known.

And yet, Robison’s newfound insight has very real downsides. As the emotional ground shifts beneath his feet, he must find a way to move forward without losing sight of who he is, what he values, and all he has worked so hard for. Robison is our guinea pig and our guide, bravely leading us on an adventure that holds the key to new ways of understanding the mysteries of the human brain.

In this real-life Flowers for Algernon, he grapples with a trade-off, the very real possibility that choosing to diminish his disability might also mean sacrificing his unique gifts and even some of his closest relationships. Switched On is a fascinating and intimate window into what it means to be neurologically different, and what happens when the world as you know it is upended overnight.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Astonishing, brave . . . Switched On reads like a medical thriller and keeps you wondering what will happen next. . . . [Robison] takes readers for a ride through the thorny thickets of neuroscience and leaves us wanting more. He is deft at explaining difficult concepts and doesn’t shy from asking hard questions. This is a truly unusual memoir—both poignant and scientifically important. The Washington Post
     
  • Fascinating for its insights into Asperger’s and research, this engrossing record will make readers reexamine their preconceptions about this syndrome and the future of brain manipulation. Booklist
  • Like books by Andrew Solomon and Oliver Sacks, Switched On offers an opportunity to consider mental processes through a combination of powerful narrative and informative medical context. Readers can put their hands, for a moment, on the mystery that is the brain. BookPage
  • “A mind-blowing book that will force you to ask deep questions about what is important in life.”

    Temple Grandin, New York Times bestselling author

  • John Elder Robison is an extraordinary guide, carefully elucidating the cutting-edge science behind this revolutionary new brain therapy, TMS, alongside the compelling story of the impact it has on his relationships, his thinking and emotions, and indeed his very identity. At the heart of Switched On are fundamental questions of who we are, of where our identity resides, of difference and disability and free will, which are brought into sharp focus by Robison’s lived experience. Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Effect
     
  • In this fascinating book John Elder Robison raises deep questions: What does TMS do to the brain? Will it permanently change his experience of music, his emotions, and his ability to read faces? And if autism involves disability as well as talent, if we alter the different wiring in an autistic brain, is this a good thing? Robison’s honest, brilliant, and very personal account helps us understand the perspective of someone living with autism. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
  • In Switched On, John Robison has written a remarkable, engaging, and moving story. . . . His astonishing story of transformation, of overcoming disability and deriving benefit from an experimental intervention that completely changed his life, is rife with inspiring lessons for each of us. It is a strikingly moving personal narrative about the nature of emotion, and about the opportunities afforded us when we seek to understand neurological difference. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, from the foreword
  • A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller. Kirkus Reviews
     
  • Switched On is a mind-blowing book that will force you to ask deep questions about what is important in life. Would normalizing the brains of those who think differently reduce their motivation for great achievement? Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain
     
  • Switched On is an eye-opening book with a radical message. . . . The transformations [John Elder Robison] undergoes throughout the book are astonishing—as foreign and overwhelming as if he woke up one morning with the visual range of a bee or the auditory prowess of a bat. The New York Times
     
  • Switched On is an eye-opening book with a radical message…The transformations [John Elder Robison] undergoes throughout the book are astonishing.”

    New York Times

  • Switched On reads like a medical thriller and keeps you wondering what will happen next…[Robison] takes readers for a ride through the thorny thickets of neuroscience and leaves us wanting more. He is deft at explaining difficult concepts and doesn’t shy from asking hard questions. This is a truly unusual memoir—both poignant and scientifically important.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] riveting memoir.”

    BookPage

  • “Honest, scientific, personal, and full of rock and roll…and reads in many ways like a coming-of-age novel…Robison’s memoir contains as much vulnerability and honesty as it does discussions of neuroscience and autism.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Robison’s honest, brilliant, and very personal account helps us understand the perspective of someone living with autism.”

    Simon Baron-Cohen, professor, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University

  • A BookPage Top Pick for April 2016
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About the Author
Author John Elder RobisonJohn Elder Robison is a world-recognized authority on life with autism, and the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby. Robison is the neurodiversity scholar in residence at the College of William & Mary, and he serves on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, which produces the U.S. government’s strategic plan for autism spectrum disorder research. A machine aficionado and avid photographer, Robison lives with his family in Amherst, Massachusetts.