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Download What Shamu Taught Me about Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample What Shamu Taught Me about Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers Audiobook, by Amy Sutherland Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (381 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amy Sutherland Narrator: Hillary Huber Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781455189762
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While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life?

The next time her husband stomped through the house in search of his mislaid car keys, she asked herself, “What would a dolphin trainer do?” The answer was: nothing. Trainers reward the behavior they want and, just as important, ignore the behavior they don’t. As she put more training principles into action, she noticed that she became more optimistic and less judgmental and that their marriage improved.

What started as a goofy experiment had such good results that Sutherland began using these training techniques with all the people in her life, with great results.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Hilarious and persuasive.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “Playful, passionate, and practical.”

    Redbook

  • “Sutherland’s a smart, engaging writer, and her stories about the hows and whys of exotic animal training are fun and fascinating.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “In the little, private zoo known as marriage, it helps to remind yourself that you and your partner are just two bipedal primates trying to get along in intimate co-habitation.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Invaluable…It succeeds nicely as an animal-training guide, and amusingly as a relationship book.”

    Buffalo News

  • “Wise and pragmatic advice…The thing I love most about this book is that every other paragraph, Sutherland’s terrific wordsmithing, compelling logic, and anecdotes about exotic animals make me feel like she’s tossed me a biscuit.”

    Martha Beck, author of Steering by Starlight and columnist for O: The Oprah Magazine 

  • “With one of the most mature and appealing voice personalities on audio, Hillary Huber adds credibility to a lesson that might come across as less than substantial without her.”

    AudioFile

  • “This engaging, often humorous, insightful book belongs in all public and academic libraries’ self-help, psychology, and animal behavior collections.”

    Library Journal

  • An Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clare | 2/18/2014

    " Writing's a little boring, but the message is good. i do wish she had kids, though, That'd move this book from good to awesome! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tia | 2/13/2014

    " this book is based on a tremendously popular article in the New York Times. The idea? You can train the people around you to be less annoying, to whine less, not trail their dirty socks around the house, wait their turn, etc., using the same techniques animal trainers use. While the premise is intriguing, it's not really a how-to book, and the story-line drags after a while. I'm sure it was fabulous for Sutherland to hang out with tiger and seal trainers, but it's less fabulous for her audience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 2/9/2014

    " Quick, enjoyable read about the power of positive reinforcement. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lorna | 2/1/2014

    " It was an interesting concept, but the author tended to ramble a bit and didn't really delve into the application of what she learned. I lost interest about 1/3 of the way into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosey | 1/30/2014

    " Interesting way of looking at relationships! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/26/2014

    " I loved this book!!! What a fabulous look at behaviorism! The different methods she mentions in the book are really logical and easy to understand. Simply an enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 1/22/2014

    " A lot of fun for me as a married person and as someone interested in animal training & behavior. Would still be very engaging for the general public. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shira | 1/22/2014

    " So for those of you who have always wondered what learning processes and behavior analysis really means... or for those of you who have wondered how we can study animals and apply it to humans... well this book takes you through it in layman's terms. Not all of the scientific facts presented are perfectly accurate (though most are), but the book provides a general overview of behavior modification, and the idea that we are all manipulating behavior all the time, and ways in which the author became conscious of this and then used it to improve her relationships. The book can move slowly at times, but if you are at all interested in this topic, it's a good way to get a light overview. (For great textbooks check out Miltenbergers' Behavior Modification or Cooper, Heron, Heward Applied Behavior Analysis - more technical, but more thorough, or Domjan's Learning - more basic/animal psych). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 1/20/2014

    " Excellent book. It's not about manipulation others to do what you want them to do, it's about altering your behavior in a positive way to elicit positive responses. It's all about perspective. :) I disagree with the LSR technique, as when it is used on me, I get absurdly angry. I don't like being ignored. It could just be used on me inappropriately. Maybe the pause is too long, I'm not sure. Either way, I'm not overly fond of that technique. Good book, well written. Made me want to go to the animal training school to see what it was like in person. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dyan Phillips | 1/10/2014

    " This is a fun and interesting way to look at relationships. I found ideas to use on my husband, my students, and of course, my dog, Peanut. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carla | 1/2/2014

    " Not as interesting as I had hoped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alejandra | 12/20/2013

    " Nothing memorable, but it has prompted me to read more about exotic animal training techniques. And yes, I see how some of them could be applied to interaction with humans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 11/11/2013

    " Having studied B.F. Skinner in college (and being a subject of my mother cum kindergarten-teacher's own personal experimentation with behavior!), I was very interested in her creative application of behavioral science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 T | 11/10/2013

    " Great ways to get people to do the things you want. Without nagging. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emilie | 10/21/2013

    " A quick, entertaining read that will teach you more about yourself and your expectations than about your partner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Owen | 9/20/2013

    " Very funny, very interesting, a great book for book club discussion. I liked this one so much I got it for my mom. Anyone who has an interest in animal training / behavior modification, etc would enjoy this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen Koontz | 8/4/2013

    " This really drives home to me how emotional responses in certain situations never help... I really enjoyed this! Can't wait to try it out and practice my patience! :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C.k. L | 7/28/2013

    " Fast, funny, oh, so valuable read. Author Amy Sutherland shares the secrets we all need to know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 2/19/2013

    " If all humans read this book, it would be a nicer world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/1/2012

    " Great intro to Behavioral Science. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 8/11/2012

    " Entertaining read, although I have mixed thoughts because it's about animal training and I have issues with animals being used for human entertainment. Other than that, I enjoyed reading about how Amy tried out the techniques on her family and how they worked for her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maddie | 9/5/2011

    " Meh...not bad I suppose. Contained some pretty decent tips about how to "train" people to do stuff, although I don't understand how her technique of dealing with bad behavior by acting neutrally would change anything if they're just completely apathetic to your reaction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 8/16/2011

    " You're better off just reading the NYTimes column. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 6/27/2011

    " listened to this in 1 day while doing mindless work -- v. welcome distraction! the book expanded on the story from a similarly titled ny times article, and lived up to the expectation i had from reading that piece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 6/11/2011

    " I enjoyed this book tremendously. For me, it was a nice mix of learning animal training while self-examining how people interact with each other. I hope to practice what Sutherland writes in my own life. There is also a great glossary in the back of animal training terms, written in plain english. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 5/29/2011

    " I found this both enlightening and entertaining - a fun and informative read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah | 5/20/2011

    " This is a short easy read. Ten chapters, no index, but there is a short glossary. It's not about training people really, it's more about not training them, more about changing your own reactions to other people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maddie | 5/16/2011

    " Meh...not bad I suppose. Contained some pretty decent tips about how to "train" people to do stuff, although I don't understand how her technique of dealing with bad behavior by acting neutrally would change anything if they're just completely apathetic to your reaction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Luann | 10/13/2010

    " She had a great idea for a NYT essay, but she had a little trouble stretching it into a book. Still, you can't blame her. Whatever gets you published... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 9/14/2010

    " Entertaining read, although I have mixed thoughts because it's about animal training and I have issues with animals being used for human entertainment. Other than that, I enjoyed reading about how Amy tried out the techniques on her family and how they worked for her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoyfulK | 7/20/2010

    " There are some parents to whom I'd really like to lend this book. Funny, well-written, and to the point. Read it if you like animals; read it if you like essays and memoir; and read it if you're trying to learn or teach parenting skills. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 7/6/2010

    " A lot of fun for me as a married person and as someone interested in animal training & behavior. Would still be very engaging for the general public. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marita | 6/18/2010

    " Really liked this book..... another book that teaches the very best teachers of relationship and awareness aren't human. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 2/8/2010

    " This really drives home to me how emotional responses in certain situations never help... I really enjoyed this! Can't wait to try it out and practice my patience! :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 1/21/2010

    " I think I could read this over and over again - I certainly need to keep incorporating the lessons learned into my own life. Amy Sutherland's writing style is engaging and funny. Definitely recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 1/20/2010

    " If all humans read this book, it would be a nicer world.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynnea | 10/9/2009

    " It took me the first chapte or so to get into this book but then I really enjoyed it. Most of it is common sense but so good to hear in different examples.
    The ideas and examples pertain to children as well. Good quick read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emilie | 10/7/2009

    " A quick, entertaining read that will teach you more about yourself and your expectations than about your partner. "

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About the Author

Amy Sutherland is also the author of Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched and Cookoff. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and divides her time between Boston and Portland, Maine.

About the Narrator

Hillary Huber, a Los Angeles–based voice talent with hundreds of commercials and promos under her belt, was bitten by the audiobook bug in 2005. She now records books on a regular basis and has been nominated for several Audie Awards. Her recordings for Blackstone include Skinny Bastard, The Art of Social War, and The Cheater.