About a year ago, this book arrived on my doorstep and although I was intrigued by the title, I wondered why I was being sent a book about economy by my publisher. I was busy writing 41 Things to Know About Autism so I put it aside. Today, heading out the door to catch a plane for a speaking engagement in Grand Junction, Colorado, I grabbed it to read on the plane. I thought it would be nice to read something different from my usual repast of autism books.
Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World, is a misleading title because this book doesn’t seem to have much to do with economy but does talk a lot about how as individuals we organize information these days and how this relates to autism in the writer’s mind. Tyler Crowen, a behavioral economist, writes about how people with autism organize and manipulate information, how our consumption of information is changing, and how the way we organize these information bites are reminiscent of autistic thinking. A very interesting read, Tyler has many positive things to say about autism and how it should be discussed not as a disability, but rather as an ability and an asset to society. Although I agree in principle, I only have to think about how much help my son needs at 21 due to his autism and how much it is costing the state and the family for him to live due to his need for 24 hour supports. That’s the reality of his economy – and mine – at the moment.
That being said, I agree with much of what Crowen has to say, and it would be nice if society had more his viewpoint when looking at some of the ‘quirkiness’ or ‘obsessions’ of those on the spectrum. Crowen became interested in autism when a reader of his blog wrote telling him he sounded like he had a lot of Aspie or autistic traits. So Crowen began to read about autism. He states at the beginning of the book, “As I read more, I began to see that the autistic mind-set about engaging with information is a powerful way to understand the whole world around us. Especially now.”
Read it for a fresh look at autism, and how the way we use and analyze information now is more like our loved ones on the spectrum.