Book Summary: ‘Secrets of the Autistic Millionaire”
Sheldon Cooper would have remained just a special child to me if I had not come across this book by a genius programmer and businessman, David William Plummer, known for his great software company that he built from scratch in his garage, and for the YouTube channel suitably called “Dave’s Garage’.
“Secrets of the Autistic Millionaire” is a book by someone who, like Sheldon Cooper, wanted everything to be perfect, even when it meant interrupting an important meeting of Microsoft interns with Bill Gates to correct the speaker that he had joined only 3 months ago instead of 4 as he mentioned. This was some three decades ago.
Autism Is More Common And Underdiagnosed Than You Think:
The important part is that Mr. Plummer, for most of life, did not know that he was a person with autism. There is an entire chapter in the book about whether a person is ‘autistic’, or whether they are ‘persons with autism’. Dave settles for “person with autism” and his argument is simple. If you are eating an ice-cream cone, you can be coned, or a person with a cone. He prefers to go with a person with a cone!
People with Autism are special, like the author recalls that sales of his software reached 1440 copies a day. This would seem odd to people but for Mr. Plummer this number meant one copy a minute over a twenty-four-hour period! Such is their love for numbers.
The author mentions at one place in the book –
“The lack of central coherence that often
accompanies autism caused me to focus far too much on
the tiny details rather than on the big picture––what color
of wire goes into which slot rather than overall company
When I read this part, I could see so many people around me who had this “challenge” of what I considered being penny wise and pound foolish, but I realize that it is inbuilt in them. I know people who would simply move from talking about millions to suddenly worrying about petty expenses, and I now realize that it is important that these people diagnose and understand if they are autistic.
In the CDC study,
it was found that there has been an increase in autism diagnoses between 2000 and 2018. For example, in the year 2000, if every 1 in 150 people were diagnosed with autism, in the year 2018, every 1 in 44 people were diagnosed with ASD.
Can Bossy Behavior Be Related To Autism?
“Rather than describe what we needed doing and letting them run with that information, I became overly involved in the details of how things were to be done”
This kind of “control” is normal in certain offices, where people believe that the boss is too ‘bossy’! After reading the book, it became clear that this is not something that people do as a matter of choice or out of will, this is just how they are wired. This is normal behavior for them because it is difficult for them to delegate. Probably it is because they cannot trust people, or maybe because they think they can do it better themselves, or they want to do it just for experience and learning, they do not delegate.
Everyone Needs A Companion:
The emotional challenges faced by someone on the spectrum are immense and it is difficult to lead a normal life as it is difficult to understand the emotional nuances.
It is almost as if you need someone at all times to help you in interpreting the world, and be the “whisperer”, as the author refers to his wife. Nicole, Dave’s wife, is a really charming person and the perfect companion for him. Imagine being sued by the AG because 4 people in over a few million complained about your product…
“Being the target of a lawsuit can be very problematic and stressful for someone on the spectrum, as so much of the legal maneuvering is based on negotiation, strategy, mind-reading, and emotional nuances that are very hard for someone with autism to understand”
The people on the spectrum face these challenges each day, and the worst part is that they are not even aware of it. Neurodiverse people, as opposed to Neurotypical people, need more help and assistance in understanding that they are different and yet same. Autism is not a disease, and that is why it is not something that can be cured. People with autism can be provided a conducive environment, one that makes them feel more comfortable.
Can People With Autism Have a Healthy Work-Life?
Dave goes on to explain the common symptoms of Autism. It is surprising that so many people around us show the same symptoms and when I was reading these symptoms, I could literally see the faces of people with these symptoms, and the instances of them displaying these symptoms flashed in front of my eyes. We have so many people around us who are “on the spectrum” and no one realizes that they are neurodiverse.
The Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks, Dr. Thomas Frazier says,
“What’s important to understand is that, with more people getting an appropriate diagnosis earlier in life, more people with autism are getting the care and support they need to be successful,”
With his personal examples, anecdotes and stories, Dave has explained what living with autism means. He has given the next steps for people who are on the spectrum and for the people around them. It is very important that we read this book to identify these people so that we can understand their point of view. An employee with autism could behave in a certain manner, and therefore be susceptible to exploitation.
As a parent of a child on the spectrum, one may be forcing certain learning patterns on the child when it may be very difficult for them to understand.
Dave explains everything so well, with personal examples, and with the suggestions to make life easier with and for persons with autism, or on the spectrum, the book is really an eye-opener.
The book is available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3MpdQqQ
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand if they are on the spectrum, or if they believe someone around them is different or disregards emotions.
Most likely, they are on the spectrum and this book will help you to understand how to approach neurodiverse people and make their environment more comfortable. If you have already read the book then please share your review in the comments.
If you were diagnosed with autism or if you know someone who is on the spectrum, do share the experience below.