Simon Baron-Cohen's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Simon Baron-Cohen recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Simon Baron-Cohen's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Temple Grandin's "Animals in Translation" speaks in the clear voice of a woman who emerged from the other side of autism, bringing with her an extraordinary message about how animals think and feel.Temple's professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Standing at the intersection of autism and animals, she offers unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas about both.

Autistic people can often think the way animals think -- in fact, Grandin and co-author Catherine...
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenI think this book is unusual for lots of reasons. I found it really gripping. First of all, it is written by someone with autism. For me, as a scientist who has been looking at autism from the outside, I felt there is so much we can learn from her because she has actually got the condition, and is able to tell us what the world looks like from her point of view. (Source)

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Anxiety and Anger (Attachment & Loss #2)

Dr. Bowlby's second pioneering volume examines the effect of separation on the development of the child and the psychopathology that often follows separation. The experience of separation and the ensuing susceptibility to anxiety, anger, and fear constitute the flip side of the attachment phenomenon. In an authoritative new foreword to Bowlby's classic study, Stephen Mitchell (who gives resonant voice to the relational perspective in psychoanalysis) bridges the distance between attachment theory and the psychoanalytic tradition. less
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenI picked this book because I think it was revolutionary. Today, with hindsight, it looks like the book is telling us something very obvious – that how we treat our children in the early years makes a difference to how they grow up. But this is not something that was always recognised. John Bowlby was a paediatrician working in London, and he looked at the concept of what he called attachment.... (Source)

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Brain Gender

Do biological factors, such as gonadal hormones, determine our sexual destiny after our genes are in place? Do they make men aggressive, or women nurturing? Do they cause boys and girls to play differently or to have different interests? Do they explain differences in sexual orientation within each sex group? Do they contribute to the preponderance of men in science or women at home? Scientists working from a psychosocial perspective would answer these questions differently than those working from a behavioral neuroscience or neuroendocrinological perspective. This book brings both of these... more
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenI have had a long-standing admiration for Melissa Hines’s research. She has been looking at the controversial topic of human sex differences over many decades. This book brings together not just her own research, but also her integration of the field. It is looking at a very fundamental question – is there a difference between males and females when it comes to the mind and ultimately the brain? (Source)

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This first volume of John Bowlby's Attachment and Loss series examines the nature of the child's ties to the mother. Beginning with a discussion of instinctive behavior, its causation, functioning, and ontogeny, Bowlby proceeds to a theoretical formulation of attachment behavior how it develops, how it is maintained, what functions it fulfills. In the fifteen years since Attachment was first published, there have been major developments in both theoretical discussion and empirical research on attachment. The second edition, with two wholly new chapters and substantial revisions,... more
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenIn essence he told us something that we all knew, which was that the bond between a parent and a child is really important. (Source)

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The Intentional Stance

How are we able to understand each other in our daily interactions? Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, Daniel Dennett asserts in this first full-scale presentation of a theory of intentionality that he has been developing for almost twenty years. We adopt a stance, a predictive strategy of interpretation that presupposes the rationality of the people - or other entities - we are hoping to understand and predict.

The 10 essays included here represent the vanguard of Dennett's thought, push his theories into surprising new...
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenThis book gave rise to a lot of the research that was carried out in developmental psychology into how children understand other people, and how they develop the capacity to ‘mind-read’. (Source)

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The classic book on the development of human language by the world’s leading expert on language and the mind.

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received...
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, Lane Greene, and 2 others.

Simon Baron-CohenIt’s a really wonderful example of what you can do: take research into something as fundamental to human nature as language and make it accessible to a wide audience. (Source)

Lane GreeneThere are two achievements in this book. One is to smuggle Linguistics 101 into a popular book, which is just fantastic. The other is his own argument about the nature of language, and the title says it all. (Source)

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Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. Commentary (films not included). Pages: 28. Chapters: Film adaptations of Les Miserables, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, The Mask of Zorro, Children of Paradise, Vanity Fair, Vendetta, The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, The Painted Stallion, Oliver Twist, Les Miserables: The Dream Cast in Concert, The Emperor's New Clothes, Copying Beethoven, Jane Eyre, Hawaii, Across the Wide Missouri, The Deceivers, The Saga of Gosta Berling, Lecture 21. Excerpt: The Mask of... more
Recommended by Simon Baron-Cohen, and 1 others.

Simon Baron-CohenKaspar Hauser might be the first well-documented case of autism in literature, or even in history. (Source)

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Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets...

Simon Baron-CohenIn fiction the writer has some licence to deviate from what is real – it’s a work of art, ultimately, for people’s interest and enjoyment, but I think that the character is very recognisable of many people with Asperger syndrome. I think the author has done a very good job. (Source)

Vanessa KengI've always loved fiction - mainly crime and legal thrillers, but there's something wonderful about reading a completely different style of writing from what I'm used to. I found myself absorbed in the narrative of guilt and love in The Kite Runner, and The Curious Incident told me a story from a completely different perspective. (Source)

Robert MuchamoreMark Haddon wrote a spy series for eight- or nine-year-olds and then he suddenly comes out with this rather brilliant novel. Is it an adult book? Is it a kids’ book? So many people can read it and approach it. (Source)

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