Review: How to Be Human: An Autistic Man's Guide to Life



How to Be Human: An Autistic Man's Guide to Life
by Jory Fleming

In How to Be Human Jory Fleming, a young man with autism, tells us how he perceives and navigates through a world "not set up" for people like him.

The book is structured in a question and answer format with collaborator Lyric Winik. We learn about how Jory's brain works differently than that of a nuerotypical person. He also makes the point that his experience is not necessarily representative of others with autism, as autism is a spectrum and tends to be pretty individualized. I found the book to be a very interesting view into another type of mind, with a different way of interacting with the world.

In the final chapter the book explores Jory's Philosophy of Life and addresses the title topic of How to be Human. Jory's discussion of the importance of having a positive impact on the world, and his metaphor of the short-lived flower and the long-lived tree was particularly beautiful.

Some background on Jory Fleming - his life so far has contained both difficulties and impressive achievement. As a six week old infant Jory suffered kidney failure and meningitis. He later demonstrated developmental issues, and was diagnosed with autism in preschool. He also suffers from mitochondiral disease, which means he requires a feeding tube for essential nutrition his body cannot take in otherwise. Starting in second grade Jory's mother began homeschooling him, and he began to progress, reading and learning much faster than he had in primary school. After completing high school, he was accepted at the University of South Carolina, and then became the first person with autism to get a Rhodes Scholarship. He recently obtained his Masters in Philosophy from Oxford. For a good overview of Jory you might want to watch the Sunday Today story by Harry Smith.

I give How to Be Human 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐ - I liked it. If you have a person with autism in your life or are curious about how autism can impact a person's perception of the world, this is a worthwhile read.


How to Be Human links

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