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How to Be Human
“While adamant that his experience is one of many, Jory Fleming's How to Be Human is so much more than a memoir about autism. This book is a celebratory reminder that people are different in so many ways and expecting otherwise is harmful to all of us. I walked away from this book hopeful about what the world could be if we just slow down and listen more. P.S. I LOVE when authors narrate their own books!”Gina,
A “beautiful and astonishing” (Walter Isaacson, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Code Breaker) narrative that examines the many ways to be fully human, told by the first young adult with autism to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
As a child, Jory Fleming was wracked by uncontrollable tantrums, had no tolerance for people, and couldn’t manage the outside world. Slightly more than a decade later, he was bound for England, selected to attend one of the world’s premier universities.
How to Be Human is a “profound, thought-provoking” (Barry M. Pizant, PhD, author of Uniquely Human) exploration of life amid a world constructed for neurotypical brains when yours is not. But the miracle of this book is that instead of dwelling on Jory’s limitations, those who inhabit the neurotypical world will begin to better understand their own: they will contemplate what language cannot say, how linear thinking leads to dead ends, and how nefarious emotions can be, particularly when, in Jory’s words, they are “weaponized.” Through a series of deep, personal conversations with writer Lyric Winik, Jory makes a compelling case for logical empathy based on rational thought, asks why we tolerate friends who see us as a means to an end, and explains why he believes personality is a choice. Most movingly, he discusses how, after many hardships, he maintains a deep, abiding faith: “With people, I don’t understand what goes in and what comes out, and how to relate,” he says. “But I can always reconnect with my relationship with my Creator.”
Join Jory and Lyric as they examine what it means to be human and ultimately how each of us might become a better one. Jory asks us to consider: Who has value? What is a disability? And how do we correct the imbalances we see in the world? How to Be Human shows us the ways a beautifully different mind can express the very best of our shared humanity.
Jory Fleming recently completed an MPhil in environmental change and management at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to this he completed a Bachelor of Science in geography and marine science at the University of South Carolina. Alongside his service dog Daisy, Jory is invested in children’s education and raising awareness about disabilities. He loves the ocean and hopes to keep the planet beautiful and alive for the next generation. Jory lives with several disabilities, including autism, and enjoys speaking with others about his way of seeing the world. In his spare time, Jory is an avid bird watcher, board game enthusiast, and Scottish country dancer.
Lyric Winik is an award-winning writer and a graduate of Princeton University with a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins University. How to Be Human is her fourteenth collaborative book.