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Neurotribes Book Cover.jpg
AuthorSteve Silberman
CountryUnited States
GenreNarrative nonfiction
PublisherAvery Publishing
Publication date
August 25, 2015
Media typeHardcover
Pages542 pp.
ISBN978-1-58333-467-6 (Hardcover)

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity is a book by Steve Silberman that discusses autism and neurodiversity.[1] Neurotribes was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2015,[2][3] and has received wide acclaim from both the scientific and the popular press. It was named to a number of "best books of 2015" lists, including The New York Times Book Review, and The Guardian. Silberman has stated that a key point from the book is to recognize the need for accommodating autism as a significant disability.[4]


In The New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Senior wrote that the book was "beautifully told, humanizing, important";[5] The Boston Globe called it "as emotionally resonant as any [book] this year";[6] and in Science, the cognitive neuroscientist Francesca Happé wrote, "It is a beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted book, a historical tour of autism, richly populated with fascinating and engaging characters, and a rallying call to respect difference."[7] It was named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times,[8] The Economist,[9] Financial Times,[10] The Guardian.[11] By contrast, Dr. James C. Harris of Johns Hopkins University criticized Neurotribes, saying that Silberman misrepresented Leo Kanner as somebody that had a negative view towards autistics and their parents, rather than, as Harris argued, an advocate for individualized treatment for every child.[12] Professor Michael Sawyer of the University of Adelaide argued that Silberman discussed researchers according to the extent to which they supported his views and that he wanted his positive view of autism to be widely accepted in policy and practice, on the basis of what Sawyer believed to be weak evidence.[13] Psychiatrist Lisa Conlan argued that retrospective diagnoses of historical figures, such as those made by Silberman in Neurotribes, are fraught with difficulties and that his portrayal of neurodiversity is based in identity politics.[14]

In 2017, Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to Neurotribes and announced interest in making the book into a movie with Broadway Video.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize[16]
  • 2015 Books for a Better Life Psychology Award, Southern New York National Multiple Sclerosis Society[17]
  • 2016 Health Book of the Year, Medical Journalists' Association[18]
  • 2016 Silver Medal, Nonfiction, California Book Awards[19]
  • 2016 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media[20]
  • 2016 ARC Catalyst Awards Author of the Year[21]


  1. ^ Silberman, Steve (2015). Neurotribes, The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People who Think Differently. Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978 1 76011 362 9.
  2. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane. Why do we want autistic kids to have superpowers? io9, January 25, 2012. Accessed 10-18-2013
  3. ^ Pan, Deanna. The Media's Post-Newtown Autism Fail, Mother Jones, December 22, 2012. Accessed 10-18-2013
  4. ^ Muzikar, Debra. "An interview with Steve Silberman author of Neurotribes". The Art of Autism. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  5. ^ Senior, Jennifer (2015-08-17). "'NeuroTribes,' by Steve Silberman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  6. ^ "Capsule reviews of four new nonfiction books". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  7. ^ "'A rallying call to respect difference' | The Psychologist". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  8. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2015". The New York Times. 2015-11-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  9. ^ "Shelf life". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  10. ^ "The FT's best books of 2015". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  11. ^ Fenn, Chris. "Best books of 2015 – part one". the Guardian. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  12. ^ Harris, James C. (August 2016). "Book forum". Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 55 (8): 729–735. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2016.06.004.
  13. ^ Sawyer, Michael (December 2016). "Book review: 'Neurotribes – the legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently' Steve Silberman'Neurotribes – the legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently'SilbermanSteveAllen and Unwin, 2015; 544 pp". Australasian Psychiatry. 24 (6): 621–621. doi:10.1177/1039856216658832. ISBN 9781760113629.
  14. ^ "NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People who Think Differently". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 209 (4): 353–353. 3 October 2016. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.115.178632.
  15. ^ McNary, Dave; McNary, Dave (20 June 2017). "Paramount, Lorne Michaels Developing Autism Book 'Neurotribes' as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)".
  16. ^ "The 2015 Shortlist". The Samuel Johnson Prize. 11 October 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  17. ^ "Books for a Better Life Awards 2015 |". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  18. ^ Editor, Content. "Mr Brown's joys — the 2016 MJA Awards winners". Medical Journalists' Association. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  19. ^ "California Book Awards | Commonwealth Club". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  20. ^ "Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media | Austen Riggs Center". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  21. ^ "Author of the Year 2016 «  The Catalyst Awards". Retrieved 2017-03-18.

External links[edit]