'Be Different' by John Elder Robison

Academic Year: 
Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger’s and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers
Be Different book cover

The Common Reading Program at Appalachian State is excited to announce the 2023-24 book selection: John Elder Robison’s Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger’s and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers

As stated on the publisher’s website, “in Be Different, the New York Times bestselling author of Look Me in the Eye shares a new batch of endearing stories about his childhood, adolescence, and young adult years, giving the reader a rare window into the Autistic mind” and offering “practical advice for anyone who feels ‘different’ on how to improve the weak communication and social skills that keep so many people from taking full advantage of their often remarkable gifts.”

With a style that is engaging and honest, personal and practical, Robison writes from the perspective of a neurodiverse individual—he coined and prefers the term “nypical”—one who shares his personal insights and lessons learned as he continues his advocacy for neurodiversity and autism.

Dr. Don Presnell, Director of the Common Reading Program, says that the book will speak to readers from all backgrounds, as it will really challenge and change readers’ perspectives about how we all communicate: “The book is a real-world read that uses the lens of neurodiversity to help us better understand others as well as ourselves. It helps us practice the fourth major goal of General Education at Appalachian: understanding responsibilities of community membership.”

About the Author
John Elder Robison

Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and one of the founders of the Neurodiversity Program at the school—one of the first of its kind at a major American university. He teaches neurodiversity at the Williamsburg campus and at the Washington DC continuing ed facility.


Campus Visit by 2023-2024 Common Reading Book Author John Elder Robison

September 19th and 20th, 2023

Be Different book cover and author photo
“I have come to appreciate how my differences have turned out also to include gifts that have set me apart....We should all be given a chance to succeed.”

Events are free and open to the public.
For disability accommodations, visit the Office of Access and Equity's Disability Resources.

Keynote Address: An Evening with Author John Elder Robison

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 7:00 P.M.
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Reading: Advice to Autistic and Other Neurodivergent College Students

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 9:00 A.M.
Grandfather Mountain Ballroom | Plemmons Student Union

Address: Reflections on Neurodiversity and Disability

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 1:00 P.M.
Grandfather Mountain Ballroom | Plemmons Student Union