*A New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick*
An “ambitious work” (Washington Post) tracing the links between autism and ingenuity
Is the ability to invent things unique to humans? In The Pattern Seekers, Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen argues that it is, and proposes that autistic people have played a key role in human progress for seventy to one hundred thousand years, from the first complex tools like the bow and arrow and the first musical instrument to the digital revolution.
He presents the science that the same genes that contribute to autism enable a special kind of pattern seeking that is essential to our species’ inventiveness. However, these abilities come at a cost for autistic people, including social and neurological challenges. Baron-Cohen calls on us to support and celebrate autistic people in both their disabilities and their talents. Ultimately, The Pattern Seekers isn’t just a new theory of human evolution, but a call to reconsider how society treats those who think differently.