An Outsider's Guide to Humans: What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are (Hardcover)
WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE
An instruction manual for life, love, and relationships by a brilliant young scientist whose Asperger's syndrome allows her--and us--to see ourselves in a different way...and to be better at being human
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of eight, Camilla Pang struggled to understand the world around her. Desperate for a solution, she asked her mother if there was an instruction manual for humans that she could consult. With no blueprint to life, Pang began to create her own, using the language she understands best: science.
That lifelong project eventually resulted in An Outsider's Guide to Humans, an original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from the outside looking in--which is helpful to even the most neurotypical thinker. Camilla Pang uses a set of scientific principles to examine life's everyday interactions:
- How machine learning can help us sift through data and make more rational decisions
- How proteins form strong bonds, and what they teach us about embracing individual differences to form diverse groups
- Why understanding thermodynamics is the key to seeking balance over seeking perfection
- How prisms refracting light can keep us from getting overwhelmed by our fears and anxieties, breaking them into manageable and separate "wavelengths"
Pang's unique perspective of the world tells us so much about ourselves--who we are and why we do the things we do--and is a fascinating guide to living a happier and more connected life.
About the Author
Camilla Pang holds a PhD in bioinformatics from University College London and is a postdoctoral scientist. Her career and studies have been heavily influenced by her diagnoses of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD and she is driven by her passion for understanding humans and how we work. Pang is also a volunteer cancer researcher at the Francis Crick Institute, and volunteers on socio-psychological projects for mining communities in Africa. She is an active contributor to art and science initiatives and often partakes in mental health and decision making research projects.
Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2020
“An enlightening hybrid of popular science, memoir, and self-help… By leavening scientific theory with personal anecdotes, Pang draws up a life guide that’s accessible and entertaining… A unique take on life’s big questions.”—Publishers Weekly
"In this book, Pang uses her extensive scientific knowledge to help readers understand the world of humans. With topics like thinking outside the box, forgetting about perfection and finding harmony, learning from your mistakes, and cultivating empathy and connections...Pang's Outsider’s Guide will help readers embrace their individuality while also finding their place in the greater humanity." -- Booklist
"A vivid picture of how an individual with Asperger’s views the world...Ingenious pop psychology." --Kirkus
"Her personal narrative blends seamlessly into scientific concepts, such as machine-learning, with the author’s hand-drawn illustrations to guide readers along. Throughout, Pang remains a calming voice...and informative memoir for scientifically minded readers." --Library Journal