Get the key ideas from

Alex & Me

How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

By Irene Pepperberg
13-minute read
Audio available
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene Pepperberg

Alex & Me (2008) is the heartfelt memoir of Dr. Irene Pepperberg, who reveals the amazing story of how she, along with her parrot Alex, smashed scientific boundaries with their experiments and research on avian learning, speech and cognition. Their work has forever changed the way we think about animals, as well as how we understand human nature.

  • Animal lovers
  • Students of linguistics, neuroscience and speech
  • Readers who like a good scientific breakthrough

Dr. Irene Pepperberg has devoted her life to understanding how animals think and behave. She has worked with the famous African Grey Parrot, Alex, for over 30 years. Along the way, she has changed our understanding of animal intelligence and animals’ potential for communication. Dr. Pepperberg is currently a lecturer and research associate at Harvard University.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Alex & Me

How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

By Irene Pepperberg
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene Pepperberg
Synopsis

Alex & Me (2008) is the heartfelt memoir of Dr. Irene Pepperberg, who reveals the amazing story of how she, along with her parrot Alex, smashed scientific boundaries with their experiments and research on avian learning, speech and cognition. Their work has forever changed the way we think about animals, as well as how we understand human nature.

Key idea 1 of 8

Animals can have a transformative effect on humans and provide useful insights.

Dr. Irene Pepperberg had already conducted decades worth of research into animal learning before she truly understood just how profound an impact animals have had on the lives of so many people.

From personal experience, she knew that animals could hold an important place in someone’s heart.

As a lonely child, with no siblings, an emotionally cold mother and a preoccupied father, she was thrilled when she received her very first bird at just four years old. The pet parrot was a gift, but for her it was also a constant friendly companion that profoundly impacted her sense of self.

Together they would talk and play games, using simple objects like buttons. Though she obviously didn’t know it at the time, all these activities were a precursor for her later experiments with other parrots, including Alex, a research bird that entered her life years later.

Alex is an incredibly talented African Grey Parrot, and as the subject of Dr. Pepperberg’s groundbreaking research he became a superstar in the hearts of millions of animal lovers. He also proved just how inspiring animals can be, as well as how helpful they are in allowing humans to better understand themselves.

Alex has received thousands of letters from bird enthusiasts, schoolchildren, media personalities and fellow scientists.

One especially touching letter came from Karen Grahame, a fan who’d been sending monthly $10 checks to The Alex Foundation for years. She wrote about how Alex’s “miraculous” learning was such an inspiration that it helped her persevere through the difficult medical procedures she needed to fix an arrhythmia in her heart. By following the challenges and triumphs that Alex underwent, Grahame was able to see her own challenges from a less daunting perspective.

Indeed, Alex’s ability to rise to whatever challenges Dr. Pepperberg presented him with has inspired legions of fans from all walks of life.

So let’s have a look at the remarkable achievements that have made Alex and Dr. Pepperberg so admired.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.