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

by Irene M. Pepperberg

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6374915,184 (3.91)35
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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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 |
I would have enjoyed a bit more about the science behind Dr. Pepperberg's experiments with Alex the parrot. Not that this aspect was left out of this book, but there is more of the memoir than the scientific exploration in the book, as was intended, I'm sure. In any event, the fact that I had hoped for more on that score did not keep me from enjoying the story of Irene Pepperberg's investigations into animal intelligence and her work and relationship with the inimitable Alex. There are numerous excellent anecdotes about Alex's feats learning to say and understand many words and concepts, plus many heartwarming stories about the unintended but very real bond Dr. Pepperberg forged with him in the decades they worked together. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
4.5 stars

Irene Pepperberg was educated as a chemist, but she decided to study parrots and how they are able to communicate with people. She fought for a lab and a place to do her research (with a lot of obstacles put in her way). She found Alex, an African Gray Parrot, to train and study. She tried to keep a scientific distance from Alex, but she fell in love with him, anyway. He died early (at age 31), and he had so much potential to learn so much more and to prove to the scientists who’d come before, who didn’t believe that an animal could think, that they might be wrong.

This was really, really good. I laughed and cried, right from the start of the book. The only thing I was disappointed in was at the end – I don’t think she ever said how he died, and I was wondering about the other parrots that she had brought in to train. Whatever happened to them? I assume she continued her work with them, as well, but she never did say. Overall, though, well worth the read, certainly for anyone who likes animals of any kind. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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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