At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, what the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years into his marriage, David and his wife Kristen learn that he has Asperger Syndrome.  The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility, but it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger Syndrome and learn to be a better husband– no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter’s, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism spectrum condition makes seeing his wife’s point of view a near impossibility.  Asperger’s is no small adversary, but it does come with a serious obsessive streak.  David devotes himself to his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the journal of best practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful, from countless discussions with Kristen, and even from a segment of SportsCenter.  They include “don’t change the station when she’s singing along” to “apologies don’t count when you shout them” to “be her friend first and always.” Guided by the journal of best practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest, the husband he’d always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

David Finch
Now a New York Times bestseller!
(January 22, 2012)


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About

David Finch is a humorist and author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling memoir, The Journal of Best Practices. Married in 2003 and diagnosed five years later with Asperger syndrome, David has committed himself to relentless self-improvement, sometimes to a comical extent. A former semiconductor engineer turned full-time writer and speaker, David has written for The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Slate, and he writes a relationship blog for Psychology Today. But his greatest accomplishment by far has been learning how to thrive as a family man.

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WGN Radio Interview

David joins WGN radio late at night for this fun interview about his story.

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This American Life Interview

Kristen and I had the unspeakably cool honor of sharing our story with Ira Glass on This American Life. I mean, whaaa…
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NPR Interview

Kristen and I discuss our story with Melissa Block on NPR’s All Things Considered. See the full story here.

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Interview on RadioWest

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Interview on WBEZ

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To the Best of Our Knowledge interview

David and Kristen Finch on Asperger diagnosis
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KERA 90.1 -FM Interview

David discusses how an Asperger’s diagnosis saved his marriage on Dallas Public Radio’s Think, with host Krys Boyd.

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WAMC: Northeast Public Radio Interview

Joe Donahue speak with David Finch about The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband.

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Interview on Kansas City Public Media

David and Kristen talk about their story on Kansas City Public Media’s “Up to Date” (January 13, 2012).

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Interview with Mike McConnell of WGN Radio

Podcast of my interview with Mike McConnell of WGN Radio in Chicago (January 12, 2012). Talking about The Journal of Best Practices and the importance of learning new behaviors. Enjoy!

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“What makes the book compelling is how funny Mr. Finch is about himself. He’s great company.”
—Susannah Meadows, The New York Times

“In this hilarious memoir (which also gives some of the finest explications of Asperger’s out there), Finch approaches trying to be a better husband and father with the determination of Sherman marching on Atlanta.”
—Judith Newman, People (4-star review)

“Funny, endearing, lesson-packed”—Amanda Lovell, More Magazine

“Finch is compellingly honest and self deprecating”—Publishers Weekly

“A quirky heart-warmer”—Lisa Shea, ELLE
“Engaging, sweet and funny…holds universal lessons applicable to any marriage.”—Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times

“The Journal of Best Practices is a quirky heart-warmer about [David's] valiant,
stumbling, ultimately winning quest to rebuild his crumbling marriage after being
diagnosed at 30 with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. “Loneliness,” he writes,
“is being the only guy in the pub who might honk like a goose at the bartender,
and knowing you’re that guy.”
—Lisa Shea, ELLE

“Self-centered, short-tempered and oblivious to all the useful things he might be
doing around the house if he weren’t such an inconsiderate boob—that could describe
any number of about-to-be-ex-husbands. But amp up the bad behavior and add a few
warning bells and whistles (phobias, fixations, a tendency to quack), and you may
have a guy with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Luckily, Finch’s wife, who
works with children on the spectrum, caught on to the fact that her husband’s brain
was simply wired differently—and together they set out to rescue their teetering
marriage. In this funny, endearing, lesson-packed memoir, Finch shows what a couple
can accomplish with acceptance, forbearance, determination and love.”
—Amanda Lovell,
More Magazine

“A wry self-awareness permeates Finch’s methodical recounting of the steps he took
to address the behaviors that sprang from his Asperger’s syndrome and their effect
on his marriage to a “neurotypical” woman. Attacking the issue with the zeal usually
reserved for video games and music-geek minutiae, Finch absorbs lessons about life
and personal organization skills that could benefit even the most typically wired
among us. Finch’s repetition of common self-help themes will appeal to seekers of
both happy endings and practical memoirs.”
—Therese Purcell Nielsen, libraryjournal.com

“Few people would consider the moment they are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome
as a positive moment in their life, but for Finch it was a blessing in disguise.
At the point he found out about his condition, which he describes as “a relatively
mild form of autism,” his five-year marriage to his wife, Kristen, was crumbling
under the weight of his idiosyncrasies (“lining certain items up,” “lightly touching
objects in a particular way,” needing “things to go as planned”) that controlled
Finch’s daily life and made it impossible for him to be the type of father and husband
he or his family wanted him to be. But after gaining an understanding of what he
needed to “overcome,” Finch, who wrote a well-received article for the New York
Times about his disorder, begins the long process of learning how to manage the
“egocentricity” and “relationship-defeating behaviors” associated with Asperger’s.
Finch’s main weapon in his fight against his own brain is what he calls “The Journal
of Best Practices,” a notebook in which he keeps track of concepts, hints, lessons,
and reflections that help him deal with and even conquer the manifestations of his
disorder. In relating his story, Finch is compellingly honest, a trait that works
well with his self-deprecating humor. There are points when the “best practices”
are repetitive, but of course that is the nature of Asperger’s syndrome, and Finch’s
ability to put his experiences on paper will no doubt help more people—and families—understand
this oft-misunderstood disorder.”
Publishers Weekly

“The Journal of Best Practices, David Finch’s wonderfully insightful memoir, is a story of marriage and of Asperger Syndrome. But it’s also a story of love at its most generous, the give-and-take that ultimately defines the most rewarding relationships. The tale begins on the day that Finch, with his wife’s help, is led belatedly to a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder noted for its often troubling effects on social cognition. Their five-year-old marriage is in trouble and he comes to appreciate how much Asperger’s has affected the relationship. Determined to improve, he begins a literal journal of best practices, analyzing his behaviors, charting ways to do better by people he loves, everything from folding laundry to learning how to listen.

As a science writer who’s written about the psychology of love and affection, and as a parent of a child with Asperger’s, I was struck by the clarity and honesty that illuminate this work. Finch provides a clear and unflinching look at the ways that this disorder leaves a person struggling to navigate through the complexities of our “neurotypical” social world. But he tells his story with humor – a rather hilarious and familiar struggle with holiday lights comes to mind – with affection for others, and without self-pity. The reader can’t help but cheer him on, hope for his success – and along the way gain a new and sympathetic understanding. But I don’t want to leave you thinking that his book is only for people concerned with Asperger’s. In his deep desire to be a good husband, a better father, a decent human being who connects with and cares for others, Finch tells a universal tale, a fulfilling and even inspiring story of the difference that love – genuinely giving love – can make in our daily lives.”
— Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

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