The hidden gifts of visual thinking with Temple Grandin (Transcript)

Listen along

The TED Interview
The hidden gifts of visual thinking with Temple Grandin
November 10, 2022

[00:00:00] Steven Johnson:
Welcome to the TED Interview. I'm your host, Steven Johnson. If you're a regular listener to this podcast, you know that one of the things we really try to embrace here is having guests from a wide range of disciplines. I mean, just this season alone, we've had a novelist, a cosmologist, a TV sitcom writer, a surgeon, and a cartoonist.

Intellectual diversity and multidisciplinary thinking: those are core values for us. But there's another, related, kind of diversity that has become an important part of the conversation in recent years, and that's neurodiversity. The idea that there are a wide range of brains out there, and some excel at some tasks but struggle with others.

Neurodiversity is often associated with people who are autistic, who have been historically marginalized, but who often possess enormous gifts when tackling certain kinds of problems. And I think it's fair to say that over the past few decades, the most powerful and persuasive advocate for this new understanding of neurodiversity has been today's guest, the scientist and animal behaviorist Temple Grandin.

Grandin began her career as a proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter, and has gone on to author more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. Grandin rose to fame in the autism community and is one of the first individuals with autism to share their experiences and perspectives publicly in books like 1995’s Thinking in Pictures, and her latest, Visual Thinking.

Oliver Sacks wrote about her in the title essay from his classic book, An Anthropologist from Mars. Granton is currently a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the most important hundred people of the year in the heroes category, and she was the subject of an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. Thinking different with Temple Grandin. That's next on the TED interview.


[00:02:25] Steven Johnson:
Temple Grandin, welcome to the TED interview.

[00:02:28] Temple Grandin:
Great to be here.

[00:02:30] Steven Johnson:
So, uh, we have just so many things to cover in our time together. Uh, so many interesting projects and, and books over the course of your career. Um, I wanted to start with maybe the most recent one, uh, which is a new book you have that has just come out, called Visual Thinking, and it, it begins with two anecdotes, uh, of things you experienced relatively recently that kind of sparked the idea for this book. Can you, can you walk us through those and explain what the significance of them really was to you at the time?

[00:03:03] Temple Grandin:
Well, I've been working on, uh, equipment design, uh, in the livestock industry for, you know, very long career. And, um, in 2019, right before COVID hit, I went to four places that made me realize that we have a serious problem with skill loss. And they were two brand new, state-of-the-art pork processing plants, where all the equipment that's in that plant came from either Holland or Quebec.

And then the next case was a poultry processing plant, brand new. And you know, we built the building, but all of that equipment inside that building had been brought in in a hundred shipping containers. And then the real shocker was the Steve Jobs Theater. I got invited out to Apple to do a talk, and they had the structural glass walls in the mothership building, and I looked up who made the glass walls and the company came from, it comes from Italy and Germany.

So I stood in the middle of that building. I had an Apple ID around my neck, and I screamed, “We don't make it anymore.”

[00:04:13] Steven Johnson:

[00:04:13] Temple Grandin:
So this was sort of like, “Wow, this is a problem.” And I've been in the cattle industry for 50 years, and all of the big major meat companies I worked with had in-house engineering departments where they had big shops that the meat company owned and built all their specialized equipment.

Well, 20, 25 years ago, they started phasing out in-house engineering. Worst thing they ever did, and they found that, um, it was cheaper to just contract the work out. The other gigantic mistake that was made in our educational system was taking out all the hands-on classes like shop, welding, auto, mechanics, because I worked with, uh, a number of people that today would've been diagnosed, autistic, dyslexic, or ADHD, that had to own shops.

[00:05:09] Steven Johnson:
And so the, the argument here is that there is a certain kind of mind really, that is extremely good at solving these, you know, engineering problems, spatial geometric problems, um, dealing with complex equipment, and that we, in a sense, as a society have not been, um, elevating those thinking styles the way that we should, we've not been encouraging it.

[00:05:34] Temple Grandin:
Well, part of the problem is extreme algebra requirements and math requirements.

[00:05:39] Steven Johnson:
Ah, that is so interesting.

[00:05:40] Temple Grandin:
I cannot do higher math, period.

[00:05:42] Steven Johnson:

[00:05:42] Temple Grandin:
All the people I worked… that were inventing and patenting complicated mechanical equipment, was used across the industry, they couldn't do algebra either. But, uh, what's happening is our educational system is screening them out. Because people that think the way I do have a really hard time with algebra because there's nothing to visualize.

[00:06:03] Steven Johnson:
I, I thought that point about algebra was really fascinating, and, and I think that the thing that we should stress to our listeners is, in a sense, your argument is that algebra is kind of this blocking effect in, in people progressing that's through high school.

[00:06:14] Temple Grandin:
That’s right.

[00:06:15] Steven Johnson:
And that they actually… Geometry and trig are actually easier for them, um, because they're more spatial? Is that the idea?

[00:06:23] Temple Grandin:
Well, they're visual, but also I can relate trig to a suspension bridge. The trig function on the, the cables. Or when you, when you're making… sawing down tree, which way it's gonna fall. You see? But that's something where I can take that PR function and relate it back to an actual, real thing.

[00:06:43] Steven Johnson:

[00:06:44] Temple Grandin:
Now there's two types of visualization. There is the object visualizer. That’s me. Thinking in photo-realistic pictures. And if you watch the HBO movie about me, it shows exactly how I think. It’s a picture association. Then you have your more mathematical pattern thinker. This is the visual-spatial, the typical student that's gonna go the STEM route.

Those, those kids are not getting screened out. The people are getting screened out is, is me, and I don't know if I could graduate from high school today in California for example. See, the visual thinking that I do, it's a different kind of thinking process. You just see how a machine works. You come up with novel ideas for equipment. Uh, you go back and, and look at the old patents. I've been to the patent office, and when I was a child, I loved the book about famous inventors and all of the devices were mechanical. A steamship, sewing machine, grain harvesting equipment. Yeah, it would've been my kind of mind, uh, inventing that stuff.

[00:07:50] Steven Johnson:
I think that what, you know, one of the things that is so striking that, that you mentioned in, in the new book, which really hit home to me, is the, is the IKEA test in terms of—

[00:08:01] Temple Grandin:

[00:08:02] Steven Johnson:
—kind of self-diagnosing where you are in this spectrum. And if, if you look at the kind of visual descriptions of how to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture and you're like, “Oh yeah, sure, exactly. I can see that. I can do that.” Then, you know, you are more of a visual thinker. I'm on the exact opposite spectrum. Like I cannot, I'm the person in our household who never builds anything because I think I'm just a word person and I'm baffled by those diagrams. And it really, it, it is you, you can feel it just your brain struggles in, in my case, to like make sense of spatial geometric forms on, on a page. And I can imagine, just must feel completely different in another kind of mind.

[00:08:39] Temple Grandin:
Well, on something like putting together the IKEA stuff, I'd rather look at the diagrams.

[00:08:43] Steven Johnson:

[00:08:43] Temple Grandin:
I get lost in the, in the, uh, in, in the wording. Now you see Betsy Lerner, my co-author on Visual Thinking, um, we've had big discussions how she thinks differently than, than I do. Boy, does she know how to organize my stuff.

[00:08:59] Steven Johnson:

[00:09:00] Temple Grandin:
Because the problem is I'm an associational thinker. I just got a paper back now from journal article reviewers, and they were criticizing my writing. One reviewer was saying I was jumping from one idea to another. You see that's associational thinking, and then I gotta smooth it out, put a connector on it. So I'm gonna be spending some time reading that paper out loud.

[00:09:22] Steven Johnson:
I wanna go back a little bit to your biography. Um, at what point did you realize that you had a gift for thinking visually rather than just something that seemed to not work very well?

[00:09:37] Temple Grandin:
Well, I didn't even know when I was in my twenties that other people thought in words. I did not know that. I thought everybody thought the way I did because if I'd ask you to visualize, not, I don't shouldn't ask you to visualize. I ask you “Access your memory on church steeples.” How do they come into your mind?

I was shocked when a speech therapist just got this extremely vague pointy thing. Almost no image at all. So what I do is I start getting, like, PowerPoint slides of actual individual churches. It's specific. The concept of what a steeple is is specific. Now, there's a reason for asking for steeples because if I ask you house or dog. Most people will visualize their own home or their own dog. They ask you something you don't own and, and then there's a lot of people that are mixtures. They'll get an image, there'll be more detail, but it's still generalized, and that was a shock.

[00:10:41] Steven Johnson:
If you could design the ideal educational system for encouraging people who think the way that you do and, and creating and, and cultivating their talents, you know, would there be a kind of an early diagnosis of this that would put them on a separate track?

[00:10:59] Temple Grandin:
I don’t wanna diagnose anything. I just, uh, wanna, I just wanna expose 'em. Uh, let's get these classes and make sure that you have these classes in school. Music, theater, cooking, sewing, woodworking, uh, metal shop welding, auto mechanics, uh, drawing technical drawing. You just expose them. And my ability in art showed up really young. And my mother, you know, encouraged my art because my kind of mind, we cannot do algebra. We're good at art and we're also good at mechanics.

Art and mechanics actually go together. Now, I was exposed as a young child at piano lessons and playing a little flute. I couldn't figure out how to play the flute, but some other child will pick up that flute and play it. You see, it's really important to get exposed to a lot of things, and it's especially important for some of the individuals, uh, who are not the more typical mixtures of some of these different kinds of thinking, but for the extreme thinkers.

Um, yes, and I was exposed to sports, and I was kind of klutzy. Um, later on, I was exposed to the same computer that Bill Gates was exposed to, the exact same computer. I had free access to it. I took a programming class, had to drop it. Bill Gates took off on it. When I look at how people get into a lot of careers it starts with exposure and then mentoring.

[00:12:23] Steven Johnson:
One, one key pivotal moment in your life in terms of exposing yourself to new experiences was the introduction of animals, livestock, um, when you were in your teens. Was it when you first kind of—

[00:12:37] Temple Grandin:
That’s right.

[00:12:38] Steven Johnson:
—went to a ranch. Um, was there an immediate sense of connection that you felt towards the animals on that ranch?

[00:12:47] Temple Grandin:
Well, in my, I went to boarding school. I was, I …. Adolescence, absolutely my horrible, horrible time. I got bullied and stuff, and the only places I was not bullied was horseback riding with other people. They… I was a terrible student. They put me in charge of the horse barn and I cleaned nine stalls every day.

I took care of the horses. Um, they had a 12-cow dairy there where I learned how to milk cows. You know, and you see, that’s exposure. I came from a non-ag background, and then when I was in my teens, I also had a chance to go to my aunt's ranch, and I really liked the west, and I was scared to go. My mother said, “You can go for a week or you can go all summer.” I got out there, loved it, stayed, and I stayed all summer.

[00:13:28] Steven Johnson:
Why do you think that your brain, the way it is configured, has such a immediate affinity with animals?

[00:13:38] Temple Grandin:
Animals live in a sensory-based world. I tell people, “You wanna understand animals? Get away from verbal language.” I have a chapter in the Visual Thinking book on consciousness in animals, and there's some people that don't think animals are conscious.

And I think it gets down to the, if you think totally in words, you might have a hard time imagining that your dog can actually think because he doesn't have words. But since I'm already a visual thinker, to me, it's ridiculous to think a dog is not conscious. Um, and it's a, it's a sensory-based world.

I see people yanking their dog away from the tree it wants to smell. Well, their smell is stronger than ours. And I just read this fascinating article and saw a dog brain scan where there's a gigantic trunk line from the nose to the visual cortex. This is research from Cornell. I'm going trippy. Smell pictures. Trippy. Trippy. And I'm trying to imagine now, now when I see somebody jerking that dog away from that bush, I say, “You're depriving him of his world.”

[00:14:50] Steven Johnson:
Uh, we had as a, a guest earlier this season, Ed Yong, who wrote a wonderful book, um, An Immense World, about dog and other animal senses.

[00:15:07] Temple Grandin:

[00:15:07] Steven Johnson:
And one of the points that I thought was so mind-blowing is I'd understood the idea that dogs have a three-dimensional sense of smell. That they can sense, you know, where the smells, but they also have a, a time-based sense of smell, which they can, they get the sense of like, “Oh, that this smell was from a dog who was here probably about 20 minutes ago.”

[00:15:17] Temple Grandin:
Yep. Yep.

[00:15:18] Steven Johnson:
We have a dog in, in New York City. And I just think the smell experience as hem as he walks down the sidewalk with so many thousands of other dogs who peed on that exact part of the sidewalk.

[00:15:29] Temple Grandin:
That's right. Exactly. And, and he's got to smell every one of them and let him smell.

[00:15:36] Steven Johnson:
You know, your career's been so interesting in that you've had this enormous impact in, in getting people to think about autism and Asperger's differently and, and the visual style of thinking. But you've also been a pioneer in, in the design of animal livestock handling facilities. How did you get to that, um, career path origin?

[00:15:59] Temple Grandin:
Well, I learned how to work at a young age, and even though I wasn't studying it when I went to the boarding school, I learned how to work. Three years, horse barn management. I also started a little sign-painting business. First sign I ever sold was for a hairdressing salon, and I had paint a sign that a salon would want.

So I started out this little bitty sign painting business. And then I had, had to learn how to read and draw blueprints, and for a year and a half I worked for a big feedlot construction company, and they had a draftsman there named Davey. And I think he was on the spectrum and, and we were best buds.

And I watched how he drew things, but I hadn't learned how to read drawings. So I made my own self-made internship over at the local swift plant, and they let me borrow a beautiful set of hand-done drawings, very detailed, and I walked around in that plant for two days until every column, every door, every piece of equipment, I could look at the drawing and then look at the thing, you know, that's gradually how I learned.

Now, another thing I… There’s a very important scene in the HBO movie where I go up to the editor of the Farmer Ranchman Magazine and get his card because I knew if I wrote for that magazine that would help my career. I wrote about my projects, and I just wrote how to design them, how to build them. It was a lot of how-to information. And that kind of writing I'm good at because I can, I, I narrate the thing I'm seeing in my mind. So it just started out very slowly, one little project at a time, starting with a paint the sign for a hairdressing salon.

Um, you know, and then my biggest project, I, um, I learned to sell my work and my big breakthrough was landing in Cargill. This was back in the late eighties, and I sent a great big fold-out drawing. They had a Cargill, some trade magazine articles, couple of pages full of pictures. Nice cover letter. Nice brochure. And I landed my first Cargill job.

[00:18:06] Steven Johnson:
We should explain to our listeners what, what, what is Cargill?

[00:18:09] Temple Grandin:
Cargill is one of the biggest beef plants in the, companies in the world.

[00:18:14] Steven Johnson:

[00:18:14] Temple Grandin:
I mean, this was landing a big one.

[00:18:16] Steven Johnson:
You have some amazing stories about how your particular perspective on the world has enabled you to understand problems that are in existing facilities, in a sense, because you're looking at it from the perspective of the animal itself. Can, can you tell us examples of, of how that—

[00:18:33] Temple Grandin:
Oh, animals are afraid of stuff we don't notice. Now, being a visual thinker helped me, ‘cause animals live in a sensory-based world. Was it seeing, smelling, hearing? I, I would look at things like shadows that would, um, make cattle stop and refuse to walk through. Other people weren't seeing that. I just did a, worked on an equipment startup this spring, and they had a big shadow in there that appeared at 3:30 in the afternoon. I call it the spider monster. And it looked like, um, and at 10 o'clock in the morning, that big shadow was not in the facility.

Everything was working fine. 3:30 in the afternoon, the shadow monster appeared. These Angus cattle decided they weren't gonna walk over ot. And I said, “We're gonna have to build a roof. Over this only way to get rid of the shadow monster.” And, and the thing I'm finding is that trying to train people to see these things, some people have a hard time with it.

I explained to 'em what you gotta do is watch your cattle, bring 'em up really calmly, and they'll look right at stuff, they don't like, like a coat on a fence. A vehicle parked next to a facility, this same facility at night, they were having some problems. And I said, “Now bring your cattle up nice calm, and look at where he stops, where the lead steer stops and what he looks at.” And there was a weird LED light on the side of the building, and they got rid of that. And I guess I have job security because I point these things out and then they go. “Duh!”

[00:20:07] Steven Johnson:
There seems to be a growing argument that, that you've been part of. Um, there's also been books by people like, um, Simon Baron-Cohen about this, about the—

[00:20:16] Temple Grandin:
Yes. Yes.

[00:20:16] Steven Johnson:
The, the basically the long kind of human history of what Baron-Cohen argues autistic people driving in, you know, innovations in engineering and planning and, and complex mechanical devices that have been crucial to human progress. That we, we've depended on people who have these kinds of cognitive skills without kind of realizing it over that whole period. Is that something you, you agree with?

[00:20:41] Temple Grandin:
Well, one of the other things I discussed in the book is things where a visual thinker like me could have helped avoid a disaster like Fukushima. Because what I've learned is mathematical engineers calculate risk. And in Fukushima, they did a fabulous job on making it earthquake-proof, making it shake-proof, and it shook. And it shook and it shook during the earthquake, everything's fine, but they hadn't visualized that they need to make it waterproof.

Simple watertight doors would've solved it, because 20 minutes later when the shaking stopped, the tsunami breached the sea wall, flooded the site. And what do you think happened to the electrically driven emergency cooling pump? Not gonna run underwater, and how could you make that mistake? And what I've learned is the mathematician doesn't see it.

Simple, watertight doors, ancient primitive technology would've totally prevented that. I visited, uh, Cape Kennedy about five years ago, and I remember standing in front of the vehicle assembly building and I got to go in. It got to go on the roof, too. It was really cool. And, and looking at that and I got really emotional.

I said, “That’s the greatest thing our generation did.” And I've had been at, at autism meetings at Houston, and I've had retired NASA scientists come up to me, and “Yeah, I'm on the autism spectrum. I discovered that when the grandkids got diagnosed.” I have granddads coming up to me all the time discovering that they're on the autism spectrum and they've got good jobs. Pharmacy, accounting, engineering. Lots of different good jobs.

[00:22:28] Steven Johnson:
Yeah. Yeah. I, I remember years ago I did a talk at Microsoft, and I believe that the previous speaker had been Oliver Sacks, who is an interesting figure in your life—

[00:22:40] Temple Grandin:

[00:22:41] Steven Johnson:
—which I want to ask you about, but, and he'd done a talk that was partially about Asperger's and he, he basically said, you know, I guarantee you 80% of the people in this room have Asperger’s.

[00:22:50] Temple Grandin:
Yes, I would agree with that. I, I have been to the tech companies, and I would guess that most all those programmers are on the spectrum. It’s interesting, people get locked into the label. I talked to two parents that had a really smart mathematics kid be the, uh, visual-spatial pattern thinker, and they were so locked into the label of autism, they didn't think to introduce programming to their kid. And I suggested that, and they go, “Oh, that's a good idea.” Yeah. Teach your kid to program. They were both programmers for a major tech company.

[00:23:24] Steven Johnson:
Taking it back to Oliver Sacks, um, I, I, you know, he wrote about you in his classic book An Anthropologist on Mars, which is your phrase, right? It's what you said to him about your own sense of—

[00:23:36] Temple Grandin:
That’s right. That’s right.

[00:23:37] Steven Johnson:
—what you were, how, how did you get in contact with Sacks? Like what, what was the backstory there?

[00:23:44] Temple Grandin:
Well, he was researching autism and so he wanted to, you know, talk to me, and uh, and then they published the article in the New Yorker magazine, and then he put it in the book.

Now Oliver Sacks kind of got into my head, totally emotionally. Thing's interesting is he's not a visual thinker because when the fact checker called, he'd made very big mistakes in, in, in, um, describing my house. I live in a condo where it's three apartments in a townhome. He had me a single-family house. No, that's not what I was living in.

And in describing my squeeze machine, that, that was really messed up. But he described what it felt like, you see, when it came to feelings and stuff, he got into my head. And, uh, he's also a very, very kind person. After that, we became friends. He lived in New York. I'd come home for Christmas. Uh, we'd go and have dinner with Oliver Sacks. He's an extremely kind person.

[00:24:45] Steven Johnson:
Wow. That’s amazing. We should, in case our listeners don't know, um, will you describe the squeeze machine? That's a wonderful—

[00:24:52] Temple Grandin:
Well, I, when I got into puberty, I started having horrible, horrible panic attacks, and when I went out to my aunt's ranch, they have this device called a cattle squeeze chute that you put the cattle in, then panels, squeeze 'em on the side, hold 'em still for their vaccinations.

And I watched some cattle go through that getting vaccinations, and um, I said, “I gotta try that. Maybe the pressure will calm me.” And I found it did. So then I built a squeeze machine-like device for myself, you know, and I, that helped calm down my anxiety. It also, um, helped get me desensitized to some of the touch.

I couldn't stand how many people touched me. And since I could control a squeeze machine, you know, with a, you know, control valve, I could, you know, get to where I could tolerate now, now I have real people hugging me. But sensory issues in autism are real. You can have problems with sound sensitivity, touch sensitivity. Some kids have visual sensitivity, and sometimes you can desensitize that by letting the kid control the noise.

I, just recently, I was in Nebraska doing a talk and I had a shop teacher say, “Well, how do I, how can the autistic kid tolerate the noise of the tools?”

I said, “What you need to do is have him go down to the shop when no one's around to embarrass him, and he can turn all the noisy stuff on and off where he or she controls the really noisy thing, like a drill or whatever it is.” And when, if they can control turning that noisy tool on and off, then they can sometimes get tolerated.

[00:26:24] Steven Johnson:
Do you think that, if you look back over the kinda the arc of your career, have we made progress in recognizing these different cognitive styles? Uh, you know, you've done so much work advancing that cause, do you think we are, obviously there's still a lot of work to do. we’ve talked about that, but do we have at least a, a better sensitivity to this as a society?

[00:26:49] Temple Grandin:
Well, I think it's still hard for people to understand it. We've done a much better job on early intervention for kids with speech delay. And then of course then you have the Asperger's type of autism where they're just um, you know, socially awkward, and those people are working. They learn how to work at it at a young age. Now where an autism diagnosis helps them, later in life, is with their relationships, like with their spouse.

That's where it gives insight. But we're doing a worse job, I think, today on getting these fully verbal kids working, ‘cause one of the problems is when they merged everything together. You've got Elon Musk, Einstein. Einstein didn't talk till age three. He'd land in an autism program today. You've got, you know, people are super brilliant like Einstein and Elon Musk, at one end of the spectrum, then you have severe autism where somebody can't dress themselves and we name it all the same thing.

This is where the verbal thinker overgeneralizes. Verbal thinking tends to overgeneralize. Mathematical thinking and my kind of thinking, maybe we have too many details, but the verbal thinkers have a hard time getting away from the label.

[00:28:01] Steven Johnson:
So I guess my last question is just, you know, I know there must be, given our audience, um, you know, more than a few, you know, 16-year-olds or young adults who are listening to you talk and thinking. “Ah, she's describing my mind here.”

[00:28:17] Temple Grandin:
Yep, That's right.

[00:28:18] Steven Johnson:
What, what is your advice for them?

[00:28:24] Temple Grandin:
You wanna learn how to work. I wanna see the young people get out there and be successful. I'm now in my, in my seventies and what am I gonna work on now the most? I wanna see these young people get out and get into a career that they're gonna like, and, and it could be if they're the visual, spatial, mathematical mind, it could be computer programming, but somebody has to introduce that, uh, from my kind of mind, it could be mechanics or animals or art.

And one of the biggest problems I'm seeing with a lot of young, fully verbal people with labels is they haven't learned any work skills. And this is where the parents get completely locked into the label. And they're afraid to let their kid run in a store and buy something.

And then I talked to a lady, a really nice lady in Nebraska that worked on, um, teaching life skills like shopping. She said she'd get in big fights with parents that wanted to overprotect their kids. And it just drives me crazy as I go back and forth between the industrial world and, and the autism world.

And I wanna see kids get out there and be successful. So this goes back to what would I do to fix the schools. I wanna put all the hands-on classes back in so that kids get a chance to try these different things. And that helped me, motivated me to study as Mr. Carlock, my science teacher gave me interesting projects like the optical illusion one, and that motivated me to, to study.

Some of the funnest stuff I ever did is we'd sit around in the shop and we'd, well, we like to talk about how to build stuff and how stupid the suits are. Now I don't talk about that, that way about suits now, because the, I understand now the difference. Suit’s a verbal painter. You know, this is where the world really does need all the different kinds of minds.

But the first step, and I talked to a lot of big corporations, is you gotta realize that different thinking exists and then learn how to use them in complementary manner and using those complementary skills together.

[00:30:32] Steven Johnson:
Well, Temple Grandin, uh, you are a great inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary mind with us today, and uh, we've just really been delighted to have you on the show.

[00:30:42] Temple Grandin:
Okay, well it's great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:30:51] Steven Johnson:
That's it for the show today. The TED interview is part of the TED Audio Collective. This episode was produced by Jordan Bailey and our managing producer Wilson Sayre. The show is mixed by Erica Huang. Jimmy Gutierrez is our story editor. Fact-checking by Meerie Jesuthasan. Farrah Desgranges is our project manager, and Dan O'Donnell is our executive producer.

Special thanks to Constanza Gallardo, Michelle Quint, Anna Phelan, and Rithu Jagannath. I'm your host, Steven Johnson. For more info on my other projects, including my latest book, Extra Life, which is about to come out in a new edition for young readers, you can follow me on Twitter at @stevenbjohnson. Or sign up for my Substack newsletter: Adjacent Possible.