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Alex & Me [Format Kindle]

Irene Pepperberg
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“[Pepperberg’s] book movingly combines the scientific detail of a researcher...with the affectionate understanding that children instinctively possess....” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

“To anyone who’s dreamed of talking with the animals, Dr. Doolittle style, Alex was a revelation…This ornery reviewer tried to resist Alex’s charms on principle. But his achievements got the better of me…Alex was a celebrity, and this book will surely please his legions of fans.” (New York Times Book Review)

“A moving tribute that beautifully evokes ‘the struggles, the initial triumphs, the setbacks, the unexpected and often stunning achievements’ during a grounbreaking scientific endeavor...” (Publishers Weekly)

“A fascinating look at animal intelligence, Pepperberg’s tale is also a love story between beings who sometimes ‘squabble like an old married couple’ but whose bond broke only with Alex’s death at 31 in ‘07. Irresistible.” (People)

“Highly readable...” (Booklist)

Présentation de l'éditeur

On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. His last words to his owner, Irene Pepperberg, were "You be good. I love you."

What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous—two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures.

The fame that resulted was extraordinary. Yet there was a side to their relationship that never made the papers. They were emotionally connected to one another. They shared a deep bond far beyond science. Alex missed Irene when she was away. He was jealous when she paid attention to other parrots, or even people. He liked to show her who was boss. He loved to dance. He sometimes became bored by the repetition of his tests, and played jokes on her. Sometimes they sniped at each other. Yet nearly every day, they each said, "I love you."

Alex and Irene stayed together through thick and thin—despite sneers from experts, extraordinary financial sacrifices, and a nomadic existence from one univer­sity to another. The story of their thirty-year adventure is equally a landmark of scientific achievement and of an unforgettable human-animal bond.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 717 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 244 pages
  • Editeur : HarperCollins e-books; Édition : Reprint (16 octobre 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B001FA0TT6
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°122.431 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

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4.0 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
livre relié rigide moyen format récent (2007) racontant l'extraordinaire aventure affectivo-scientifique entre l'auteur, chercheur à l'université en intelligence animale et son sujet d'étude, un perroquet gris du Gabon nommé Alex, pendant les 31 années de l'existence de ce dernier; texte captivant réparti en neuf chapitres; pas d'illustrations (hormis la jaquette); une fenêtre ouverte sur le monde mal connu de la conscience dans le monde animal; à lire absolument!
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2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Alex 18 mai 2010
Par pamina37
Je connaissais déjà le travail d'Irene Pepperberg qui a obtenu des résultats extrèmement intéressants sur les processus cognitifs chez ce perroquet gris (Alex). C'était une vedette aux USA, il est beaucoup moins connu en France. Un bon ouvrage de vulgarisation sur les recherches et le parcours de cette scientifique qui a du faire face au regard critique de ses pairs. Ces recherches ont participé à démontrer les capacités cognitives insoupçonnées jusque là de certains animaux. Dommage qu'il n'y ait pas , à ma connaissance, de traduction française.
A recommander aux amoureux des perroquets et à tous les amateurs d'animaux en général.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  287 commentaires
102 internautes sur 116 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 At last! A scientist who..... 24 octobre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
....becomes "very much aware of that peoples' profound sense of oneness with nature. I resonated with that." Here Dr Pepperberg is talking about Native Americans' relationship with nature, and I find her view as a scientist all-encompassing and highly complementary with (and probably an enhancement to) her research -- TOTALLy unlike those of her colleagues at NIH who cut themselves off from the sumn-total of the reality of her work with Alex the Grey Parrot -- and who were so unflinching in their disparaging comments of her work with Alex.

The book begins with the aftermath of Alex's untimely death -- he should have lived for at least another 20 years, and his death was a great loss not only to the scientific community, but to those "ordinary" human beings who were touched and changed by his presence.

As the book continues, we read about "No Name" -- the parakeet that brought joy to a little girls's insulated world, and Bluey, Greeny and other much-loved birds who brought sunshine into her otherwise lonely childhood -- and then Charlie, whose feathers found their way into an MIT meeting.

And then, at Harvard, one question "What animal should I study?" brought Alex into Irene's life, for the next 30 wonderful, trying (including an extremely dense ticket agent, who had trouble understanding why "a bird" would need luggage), frustrating, joyful years.

This book was a labor of love -- as were the 30 wonderful years with Alex, whose "brain the size of a walnut" astounded Irene and her colleagues with its information gathering and associative abilities.

I was highly amused to read about the withdrawal of cardboard (he'd chew it) and feeding tofu to calm down Alex's raging hormones -- hey, whatever works!!! (It worked)

Alex's death touched me too. I too grieved at the loss of such an amiable, "special" individual -- but then again, Irene's research was NOT ever in vain -- it shows us what so many pet owners and caring animal handlers can agree with -- there is a special spark of recognition and cognition in every animal that, with loving attention and encouragement, can bloom into a special human-animal bond of communication. Alex was by far a highly special example of such a being.
154 internautes sur 180 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Alex Deserved Better 1 novembre 2008
Par DRob - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
There are so many ways that Alex and Me by Irene Pepperburg could have been better that it leaves me feeling as sad for the book that should have been as it does for Alex's death. Unlike Dr. Pepperburg, who for some reason thought the book should start with Alex's death, I will start at the beginning of the story. That is one of the main problems with the book-- Alex doesn't make an appearance until Page 58, more than a quarter of the way through the book. The first 25 pages contain excerpts from the sympathy mail she received upon Alex's death, which, since at that point we haven't met Alex yet, is somewhat meaningless. The next 28 pages take us through the tedious story of Dr. Pepperburg's childhood, college days and marriage, and I do mean tedious! It was nearly enough to make me put the book down and not pick it back up.

Once Alex finally makes an appearance, the book becomes more interesting. However, Dr. Pepperburg doesn't do a convincing job of showing the bond between herself and Alex-- there are a few places where she shows it such as when Alex becomes deathly ill with Aspergillosis, but far too much of the book is spent detailing her problems finding research funding and her moves from campus to campus trying to find a home for her project.

That being said, when she does allow the story to focus on Alex, it is touching and amusing. It is impossible not to fall in love with the parrot and become awed at the intelligence he demonstrates. I became so attached to Alex that when I finished reading the book I went back and re-read the first 25 pages because now I could finally relate to the sense of loss and grief expressed by others.

At the end, there are two questions that Dr. Pepperburg left unanswered-- she doesn't tell us what caused Alex's early death and she doesn't let us know how Alex's work is continuing. If Alex's life is to mean anything, then we need to know that the research started with him will go on. However Dr. Pepperburg starts the book with his death and ends it with his death, doing a major injustice to Alex in the process.
72 internautes sur 82 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Remember Intelligent Parrot 23 octobre 2008
Par jd103 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I first want to correct something in the product description above: the claim that Alex's last words to Irene were, "You be good. I love you." To me this seems to be trying to give the impression that the bird knew he was dying and was saying goodbye. In fact Alex was saying goodbye in the same way he did nightly, and those weren't intended as dying words.

The actual conversation in the book:
"You be good. I love you," Alex said.
"I love you too."
"You'll be in tomorrow?"
"Yes, I'll be in tomorrow."

With that cleared up, this is a very quick, entertaining, and potentially important read. Anyone who has ever bonded with an animal will feel the grief reading through the condolences the author received after Alex's death. There are also many laugh out loud moments describing his antics.

I've read works about animal thinking by Donald Griffin and Bernd Heinrich, both mentioned in the book, but Alex's story was completely new to me. I'm not sure how much repetition there will be for those who knew of his fame or have read the author's previous, apparently much more science-oriented book about Alex.

I've long believed that most humans and scientists are both ignorant and arrogant in how they regard other animals and that's the topic of the final chapter What Alex Taught Me. In one paragraph about animals and political rights, it wasn't clear to me exactly what the author had in mind, but I found myself in complete agreement with everything else she had to say in this chapter. I salute her strength in going against the grain of mainstream thinking with regard to animals in her work with Alex, and I hope his life will cause others to learn as well.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Birds: They Have Something to Say to Us 25 novembre 2009
Par Smith's Rock - Publié sur Amazon.com
Alex and Me, by Dr. Irene Pepperberg, is a bit of a patchwork quilt: part animal story, part memoir, part indictment of the scientific establishment, part animal science, and part philosophy. Happens that I like patchwork quilts, and I found much to like about Alex and Me.

My guess is that most people will pick up this book out of curiosity about Alex (ALEX is an acronym for Avian Language EXperiment), the African Gray parrot that astounded so many with his verbal skills and his problem solving capabilities. Alex and Me, though, is as the title suggests, about TWO entities, one avian, one human. The human side of the story is interesting in and of itself.

A substantial part of the book is Pepperberg's memoir. Tracing her interest in birds back to a lonely childhood in which her most constant companions were a series of parakeets, Pepperberg tells a thought-provoking story of what it was like to be female and intellectually gifted in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Blunt but not strident, Pepperberg clearly illustrates the obstacles that gender presented for her in academia. Though the 21st century has ushered in an era in which the majority of people attending college and earning advanced degrees are women, Pepperberg's story is one that is well to be aware of.

Another fascinating patch of this literary quilt is the clear-cut illustration of how near-sighted and biased the world of science can be. Scientists (and I am one), who pride themselves on being rational and unbiased, became deeply irrational and betrayed astounding bias when Pepperberg's research began to erode a wall that many hold to be sacred: the difference between one animal (human) and all others ("brutes", per Aristotle, and thousands of years of scientists and philosophers after him). Pepperberg found that she could not use the words animal and language in the same sentence, or animal and intelligence, if she was applying for the grants that were essential to fund her research. Why? Because the prevailing scientific assumption was that animals do not have language, and they don't have intelligence. How did scientists conclude that Alex could neither have language nor be intelligent? Because he was not human. Sound a bit circular in reasoning? You betcha. And woe to the scientist, especially a female scientist, that challenged those sacred assumptions.

Okay, fine, animal lovers may say, but what about ALEX? And yes, there is plenty in this book about the remarkable being called Alex. Alex, as the book frequently points out, had a brain about the size of a shelled walnut. With that brain he could recognize shapes, colors, and number of objects. He could add. Lest you should begin to worry about your job being outsourced to African Grays, his mathematical skills were limited to single digits, his vocabulary to less than two hundred words, and he had a distinct tendency to say "Wanna go back" whenever he got fatigued or bored. Your job is probably safe. All humor aside, what Pepperberg found in her studies of African Grays altered our understanding of avian intelligence and language skills forever, and irrevocably blurred the distinct boundaries that humans like to erect between themselves and "brute animals".

Pepperberg, as a child, received much solace from the company of her birds. Reading about Alex's range of emotional responses (no yelling here, but yes, animals DO have emotions), the reader will be one hard-hearted individual indeed if he or she can resist Alex's charm or be unaffected by the depth of the relationship that develops between Alex and Dr. Pepperberg.

The last chapter is a zinger. Alex may have been a brilliant parrot, but Pepperberg herself is no slouch as a human when it comes to the gray matter department. In concluding the book, Dr. Pepperberg gives a full-throated, skillful, and penetrating call to reevaluate the damage that the tenaciously held, but scientifically unsupportable, split between humans and all other animals has done to science and to our environment.

Patchwork quilts can be a bit on the raggedy side, and this book has a few ragged edges, a quality that doesn't diminish even one iota the value of what Alex and Me brings to the reader.
36 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A facinating, informative, and deeply moving memoir of a true partnership between human and parrot 23 octobre 2008
Par R. Murphy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
When scientist Irene Pepperberg wanted to study animal cognition and language, she purchased an African Grey Parrot, who she named Alex. What followed was a thirty-year partnership that rocked the foundations of our understanding of animal intelligence and challenged all previous assumptions of the phrase "birdbrain." Pepperberg writes beautifully, bringing the study of language and cognition to an easily-understood level without dumbing down the impact of her work. Beyond science, however, Pepperberg captures the dignity and personality of Alex, a lovable and admirable creature whose early death was a tragic loss.
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