Skip to main content

Switched On

My Journey from Asperger’s to Emotional Awakening

John Elder Robison

In 2007 John Elder Robison wrote the international bestseller Look Me in the Eye, a memoir about growing up with Asperger’s. Amid the blaze of publicity that followed, he received a unique invitation. Would John like to take part in a study led by one of the world’s foremost neuroscientists, who would use an experimental new brain therapy in a major effort to understand and then address the issues at the heart of autism and Asperger’s? This is the extraordinary story of what happened next.

Having spent forty years as a social outcast, misreading other’s emotions or missing them completely, John is suddenly able to sense a powerful range of feelings in other people. However, this newfound insight brings new problems and serious questions. As the emotional ground shifts beneath his feet, John struggles with the very real possibility that choosing to diminish his disability might also mean sacrificing his unique gifts and even some of his closest relationships.

  • Publication date: April 7, 2016
  • ISBN: 9781780745510
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 320


‘An eye-opening book with a radical messageThe transformations [John Elder Robison] undergoes throughout the book are astonishing.’

New York Times

‘Astonishing, braveSwitched On reads like a medical thriller and keeps you wondering what will happen next[Robison] takes readers for a ride through the thorny thickets of neuroscience and leaves us wanting more. He is deft at explaining difficult concepts and doesn’t shy from asking hard questions. This is a truly unusual memoir – both poignant and scientifically important.’

Washington Post

'Robison's writings are…logical, restrained, lacking in self-pity…Like Awakenings, this book raises deep philosophical problems'. 


‘John Elder Robison is an extraordinary guide... At the heart of Switched On are fundamental questions of who we are, where our identity resides, of difference and disability and free will, that are brought into sharp focus by Robison’s lived experience.’

Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

‘Fascinating... Robison’s honest, brilliant, and very personal account helps us understand the perspective of someone living with autism.’

Simon Baron-Cohen, professor, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University

‘A mind-blowing book that will force you to ask deep questions about what is important in life. Would normalizing the brains of those who think differently reduce their motivation for great achievement?’

Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain

John Elder Robison

Author page

More books by John Elder Robison

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.
Select mailing lists