Alex & Me

Alex & Me

How A Scientist and A Parrot Discovered A Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed A Deep Bond in the Process

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
7
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Alex & Me is the remarkable true story of an extraordinary relationship between psychologist Irene M. Pepperberg and Alex, an African Grey parrot who proved scientists and accepted wisdom wrong by demonstrating an astonishing ability to communicate and understand complex ideas. A New York Times bestseller and selected as one of the paper's critic's Top Ten Books of the Year, Alex & Me is much more that the story of an incredible scientific breakthrough. It's a poignant love story and an affectionate remembrance of Pepperberg's irascible, unforgettable, and always surprising best friend.

Publisher: New York, NY : Collins, c2008
ISBN: 9780061672477
Branch Call Number: 636.6865 P395a
Characteristics: 232 p. : ill
Alternative Title: Alex and me

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d
DorisWaggoner
Jul 21, 2017

Irene, an only child, her mother a "freezer mom," grew up in the city. Her father bought her a series of parakeets, which asuaged her loneliness to some degree. She got a PhD in chemistry, but eventually knew she wanted to study parrots and how they learned. She got an African Grey Parrot, whom she named Alex. At that point, in the 1970s, birds were thought to, literally, have bird brains. Dr. Pepperberg thought Alex was smart, and began to teach him English to prove it. Because she had the "wrong" degree to be working with parrots, she couldn't get a faculty job--plus she was a faculty wife. She spent years moving with her husband and finding tiny quarters for her labs, and mostly volunteers to work with Alex. Her marriage broke up because he didn't think what she did was important. But she kept going, and published her findings. What she found is fascinating, and so is the book. She begins at the end, with Alex's premature death at about 30--half a parrot's normal lifetime. She was stunned by the world wide response, and by her own grief, because she'd tamped down how much she loved this bird who learned so much, had such a wonderful personality, and a sense of humor. This book is for lay people; she wrote another with her scientific findings. Still, I learned a very great deal.

e
eappelbaum
Dec 05, 2016

Enjoyable and surprising

s
Starpoem
Dec 03, 2016

* I've seen TV clips about Alex the parrot, but of course this book provides a lot more information than any short TV clip could.

* It was just as interesting to learn about Dr. Pepperberg as it was to learn about Alex. Her life took a lot of twists and turns to get her to the point of studying avian cognition.

* This is a must-read for animal lovers.

n
NICOLE MLYNARCZYK
Feb 11, 2016

Alex & Me was an emotional read. There were times I had to put the book down and take a break because there were tears in my eyes, and other times where I caught myself laughing out loud. What a wonderful bird he was.

A highly recommended read for bird owners and enthusists, a wonderful glimpse into the minds of our feathered companions.

soblessed59 Apr 22, 2014

I really enjoyed[at first] Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene Pepperberg.The personality of this African Grey parrot is amazing and hilarious.I love the author's accounts of how Alex asserted himself when he didn't want to do the tests and the words he came up with himself, but it also made me feel that African Grey parrots are far too intelligent to be forced into being a 'lab-rat',even when they let it be known that they do not want to participate. So the book ended up making me very sad and feeling sorry for Alex.

l
lisahiggs
Feb 24, 2013

The story of Alex & Me is a bit detached and clinical, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m looking for when I pick up a book with a cute parrot on the cover. If you are interested in finding out what Alex is capable of and how special he is, just look up Alex the parrot videos on YouTube.

r
ryner
Apr 28, 2009

This is the story of Alex, an African Grey parrot who was the subject of Irene Pepperberg's 30-year experiment in animal intelligence.

As someone who is convinced we humans do not give other animals due credit when it comes to intelligence, I was ready to be wowed by Alex. While Alex's intellect was impressive, Pepperberg's writing left something to be desired. To start, it takes her 50 pages (of a 226-page book) to actually begin the story, and spends entirely too much time talking about herself. I was disappointed in the book's brevity and overall lack of detail about his leaning progress, particularly when it came down to technique and the methods used to test his intelligence. I would happily have digested a book twice this size in exchange for more fascinating detail.

For another, better written take on avian intelligence, try 'Wesley the Owl.'

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