Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals” as Want to Read:
Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

The best-selling animal advocate Temple Grandin offers the most exciting exploration of how animals feel since The Hidden Life of Dogs.

In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, a
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.01  · 
 ·  5,080 ratings  ·  754 reviews

Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An interesting and thought-provoking book by an autistic scientist, a Ph.D. in animal science, who is a professor at Colorado State University. This book was written in collaboration with another scientist, also a Ph.D., who specializes in neuropsychiatry and who is also the mother of two of three sons with autism.

It is clear throughout the book that autism has provided Grandin with extraordinary insights into animals and (perhaps) extraordinary patience with animals. In one example, she takes
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Animals deserve the best life, and Temple Grandin's interesting take on our relationship with animals is always a pleasure to read. Particularly of interest was the way she pursued her thesis that animals make us human. This 21st century mental model of identifying -- and revising -- humans' long-standing problematic dominion over the rest of the animal kingdom was very enlightening.
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
The many fantastic reviews of this book seem to be based more on the person (autistic woman overcoming her disability to achieve a successful career advising the livestock industry on how to treat animals on the way to be nicer to their animals) than the book itself, which is awkwardly written and not that great of a read, to be honest. In Britain it's called "Making Animals Happy," and that would be a more appropriate title than "Animals Make Us Human," which is an interesting thesis but one th ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love that the focus of this book is about how to make animals in captivity (pets, zoo animals, livestock, etc.) happy. It's so hard to know what it means for an animal to be happy and Temple Grandin uses careful analysis and science to help unravel the mystery.

Knowing that animals need the freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress to be happy, Grandin begins to define these things in layman's terms.

I mostly focused on the chapter about cats, because, um, you know.
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
It started out very good, and then developed into a book of random information about animals. I love animals and I love information about them, but that was not expected from this book. The title is misleading. I didn't even finish it actually, because it was repetitive and her random flow if info was agitating me.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animal-nonfic
Ah, it has been a while since I read Grandin's other books, Animals in Translation and Thinking in Pictures. In that time I have also read a lot of other animal behavior books and books on factory farming, so most of the info within this book was not new to me. For that reason, I personally found it a little dull.

Another reviewer said that an alternate title in the UK is "Making Animals Happy," and that is a far more accurate title than "Animals Make Us Human." The latter is an intriguing statem
Stephanie *Extremely Stable Genius*
This book is excellent and should be read by anyone who works with animals! Or by those who just love them. Really interesting. I liked the suggestions for handling cats in veterinary situations. Good book!
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another awesome read by Temple Grandin. This book was much easier to read, the font was more pleasing to the eye and the text was much more reader friendly. In the future, I will read all of her books again, she is such a fascinating person. I like her outlook on life and her ideals.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the animal-by-animal breakdown of what is know about how we can make their lives better physically and emotionally. I love how she works to improve animal welfare both academically and within the meat industries. A very practical viewpoint. Although she can be at times repetitive and a little dry, Temple Grandin is a treasure and a boon to animal lovers and owners everywhere. Although not exhaustive, this book gives a thorough introduction into an animal's min ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well, I've been quite lucky with my selections of late. I really appreciate the authors approach. Certainly, I learned more about both my dog, and my cat. But, even reading about chickens was quite interesting. I also notice that some of these approaches are important in managing people. I think looking for the core driver, and trying to understand what things like safety mean for each species, for each individual can so helpful in making our relationship more fruitful, and satisfying for all of ...more
Lynn G.
Like the other books by Temple Grandin, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals was interesting and accessible. I enjoyed reading about the gradual evolution of attitudes of large-scale animal raising operations towards the cattle, pigs, and chickens that were being raised for market. Originally, most farmers/ranchers operated under the concept that animals were non-sentient dumb beasts that didn't need to be treated humanely, whose welfare wasn't considered at all. With Grandi ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in animals
Shelves: nonfiction, 4-star
To really appreciate this book, you need to know something about the author, Temple Grandin. She has autism, she has a PhD, she has been able to make many discoveries about animal behavior, and she has been able to design many humane efficiencies in animal industries. She is something of a systems engineer for anything to do with animals.

If you have never seen the movie "Temple Grandin", take a look at this preview:
You can find the movie at the Henrico Pub
Miss Poppy
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Temple Grandin writes about the four emotions of animals - fear, panic, rage, and seeking. It was like she read my diary! (just kidding)

There's really only one positive emotion for animals - seeking, and that's the one you want to work with. There are a couple of chapters on domestic animals - cats and dogs, and others on farm animals - chickens, pigs, cows, and horses, another on birds. The farm animal chapters are somewhat depressing in the sense of how the food industry has treated them, and
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
In this book, Grandin offers up the latest research into animal behavior, giving advice on home to make pets happier and less troubled.

So, there I am, reading the section on cats in my bed, waving the cat-fishing pole about, and Mao takes some sort of crazy course-correcting jump and scratches my nose and chin. This morning I look as if I attended Heidelberg. And I didn't make the cat happy, either, because he didn't like the smell of the antibiotic ointment or the band-aids.

It's a good book.

Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very clear-eyed look at the emotional and mental well-being of animals, and how it ties in with this physical well-being.

Temple Grandin is an autistic woman who uses her ability to "see" like an animal to improve the lives of animals, particularly those involved in farming. Her book includes chapters on dogs, cats, horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, zoos, and wildlife. Each reads as a rational how-to to give each animal the best lives possible. Even if you're not currently running a farm or slau
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very interesting read. Temple explores the emotional needs of a wide variety of animals - the chapters are devoted to dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, wildlife, and zoos - and what humans can do to improve these animals' lives. I found it more and more interesting as the chapters progressed; as curious as I am about the emotional needs of housecats, Temples' expertise lies in the world of big animals on farms and in zoos, and she has lots of opinions regarding the treatment (or mistre ...more
I have read two books of Temple Grandin about animals (a couple years ago). Thanks to them I understand animals, especially my dogs and cat much better. And to tell the truth, I understand human nature better too. The perspective of Grandin is priceless.

If you love animals you should read this book and/or Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior.
David Smith
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating book has a lot of insights into the higher picture of how behavior works in animals, and into the devilish details of dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. It also covers zoos and wildlife more generally though with specific anecdotes. The most mind blowing moments happen when you realize, or Temple Grandin points out, that understanding humanity has an awful lot in common with animal husbandry. This is easily in my list of top 5 nonfiction books ever read.

The theory of
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I chose Animals Make Us Human because I love animals and Temple Grandin is an inspiration to me. Temple Grandin is inspiring because she accomplished a lot even though she has autism and she changed slaughterhouses with her inventions. I thought the book was just like I hoped it was going to be, Temple explained in every chapter what animals need and how they should be treated. Temple wrote in her book how she went to the slaughterhouses and trained the people to handle the animals better with h ...more
Hannah Abrahamson
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Personal Response

Personally, I did not like this book. I liked the information it gave me, but I did not like the way it was written. For me, it was quite boring. Although, the author, Temple Grandin, is very intriguing. In my opinion, she took too long to explain a simple thing. That could also be because I normally do not read informational, non-fiction books. I did like her take on the emotions of animals and how they really work. I also appreciated her use of sources.

Plot Summary

First, she
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you aren't familiar with author and professor Temple Grandin, this book is a good place to start. An amazing woman with autism, she obtained her Master's Degree in Animal Science at Az State University and her doctoral degree at the University of Illinois and is currently a professor at Colorado State University. Want to know why your dog acts like he does...this woman can tell you. Comparing many autism traits to the way animals behave, she explains "the why" in this book using dedicated cha ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for every human.

While I didn’t find much of the information surprising when it came to dogs and cats, I found Temple’s experiences and observations fascinating when it came to farm animals. Especially in her final thoughts section. I wondered why she helped design slaughter houses when she believes in such care and ethical treatment of animals. She says it’s because if we believe in the ethical treatment of animals, we must care about their inevitable deaths, and those, too,
Emerald Sue
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I believe that the best way to create good living conditions for any animal, whether it's a captive animal living in a zoo, a farm animal or a pet, is to base animal welfare programs on the core emotion systems in the brain. My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary."
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a very hard book for me to rate. Please note that 3 stars on good reads means, I liked it. This book focused on core emotions in the brain: SEEKING, PLAYING, RAGE, PANIC and FEAR. It was about how to keep animals feeling the positive emotions and not the negative ones and each chapter went through a species or group such as dogs, cats, cattle, zoo animals. What you might find difficult to believe is that I DO RECOMMEND READING this book.

In Temple Grandin's favor: she knows cattle and pi
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to El by: Clovis
Read for my in-person book club.

I'm usually pretty wary of books like this, the kind with animals on the cover. Which is really sort of funny since I'm such a whore for animals in real life. But this is the book that was decided upon for my in-person book club, and since I missed the previous two books I figured I should suck it up and read this, especially considering it was my boyfriend's recommendation.

Temple Grandin is an animal scientist with a "twist" as I like to say. Her personal experie
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The big thing with Grandin's books (NF) is that she's autistic, and also a specialist in humane treatment of "food animals": cows, chicken, pigs. She was particularly famous because she headed up the McDonald's audit of feed lots and slaughter houses. Apparently her autism gives her a unique perspective on this--and her prior book, Animals in Translation, was very interesting. It talked about how small changes in the animal's environment meant both cost savings for the companies involved in mana ...more
Deanna Dailey
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
It makes me a little sad to rate this book with only two stars. I really like Temple Grandin's work, and I loved Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. I've gleaned a lot of interesting information from this book, and I think there was a lot of really interesting and valid research and experience that went into writing it. It's just that it's not very well written. It's like at the end of each chapter she starts to get tired of explaining everything and ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll put this on the "must read if you have a pet" list, as there's a lot of good/useful insight into why the animals we live with every day do what they do, what works in training, and what makes up a "good life" for the animal.

I particularly loved the chapters on dogs, cats, and zoos, and thought these few interesting points about dogs are worth sharing -

In the wild, wolves don’t live in wolf packs, and they don’t have an alpha male who fights the other wolves to maintain his dominance. Our w
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
Animals Make Us Human is kind of another version of Animals in Translation. Many facts and topics that were brought up in her first book are addressed and referred to again in this book. Therefore I feel that this book needs to be reviewed as a companion book to Animals in Translation rather than a completely new and different book.

The book is divided into sections focusing on specific species and then analyzes their behavior in order to allow us as humans to better understand them, thus better
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
The title is a little misrepresentative of the book. It's not a treaty on how animals make us human. Instead I would characterize the content of showing how the classification of animal "Blue ribbon" responses (or emotions) are similar to humans. If animals can be shown to have feelings then they're not so different from humans.

Most animals have a seeking and fear switch. When a novel experience is provided either one gets switched on. Too far in one direction the animal bolts, or explores. Gene
? previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next ?
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Temple Grandin, Ph.D., didn't talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. She tells her story of "groping her way from the far side of darkness" in her book Emergence: Labeled Autistic, a book which stunned the world because, ...more
“I believe that the best way to create good living conditions for any animal, whether it's a captive animal living in a zoo, a farm animal or a pet, is to base animal welfare programs on the core emotion systems in the brain. My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary. If we get the animal's emotions rights, we will have fewer problem behaviors... All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain.” 53 likes
“There’s a saying in engineering: You can build things cheap, fast, or right, but not all three.” 29 likes
More quotes…