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Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot…

Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal… (2008)

by Irene M. Pepperberg

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6715014,276 (3.9)40

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Simply one of the greatest books ever written in the field of ethology, because it is not so much about ethology as about the extraordinary relationship between one person and a parrot. Pepperberg's reluctance to step outside an objective approach to her work with Alex makes this more than a good or interesting book, because in the end it is her transcending objectivity (but blink and you'll miss it) that takes this story into exceptional territory. ( )
  nandadevi | Jul 22, 2015 |
My son saw this on my pile and fussed at the title "Alex & I!" But it depends on the rest of 'understood' sentence, doesn't it? Are we referencing a subject or an object? "This book is about Alex & me" would be correct, would it not?

Well anyway, I finally read it. Quick & engaging, but not nearly enough science for me. I want to know more about more recent work on the cognitive abilities of birds. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This parrot was no bird brain. In fact, it displayed a level of cognitive intelligence and (linguistic) interaction with humans, that surpassed that of primates. ( )
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
Important story, both philosophically and scientifically. Pepperberg earns a major foul for not sharing Alex's autopsy results though--a seasoned scientist should know better. ( )
  dele2451 | Apr 25, 2014 |
African Grey learning language. Quick read, very interesting, quite funny at times. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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This ornery reviewer tried to resist Alex’s charms on principle (the principle that says any author who keeps telling us how remarkable her subject is cannot possibly be right). But his achievements got the better of me.
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To Alex
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How much impact can a one-pound ball of feathers have on the world?
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Amazon had one of their listings for this title mis-titled with the word 'discovered'. The correct word is 'Uncovered'.
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Book description
On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous--two pioneers who opened an unprecedented windo into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, bird were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality. We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures. Yet there was a side to their relationship that never made the papers. They were emotionally connected to one another. Alex and Irene stayed together through thick and thin--despite sneers from experts, extraordinary financial sacrifices, and a nomadic existence from one university to another. The sotry of their thirty-year adventure is equally a landmark of scientific achievement and of an unforgettable human-animal bond. [adapted from book jacket]
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This story of Alex, a famous African Grey parrot, documents his thirty-year relationship with his trainer and the ways in which his life has changed scientific understanding about language and thought.

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