Alex & Me

Alex & Me

How A Scientist and A Parrot Uncovered A Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed A Deep Bond in the Process

Book - 2008
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This story of Alex, a famous African Grey parrot, documents his thirty-year relationship with his trainer and the ways in which his life has changed scientific understanding about language and thought.
Publisher: New York, NY : Collins, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061672477
Branch Call Number: 636.6865 PEPPERBERG
Characteristics: vii, 232 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Alex and me


From Library Staff

Any pet-lover will tell you that their animal knows more than we assume, and Pepperberg and her parrot are here to prove it in this affectionate memoir.

From the critics

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Apr 28, 2019

I wanted to give this book 5 stars, and praise it without restraint, because it is genuinely charming and inspiring, but...
And there's always a but with human beings, she doesn't even mention the evils of exotic pet ownership, how it's driving many species even faster towards extinction. She, for the very best of motivations, was part of that evil, was the best that we humans seem capable of being towards animals, a frenemy, which is to say, a sentimental enemy, in this case, of parrots.

Dec 02, 2018

Shame on humankind for what we have done and continue to do to our planet negatively impacting powerless and or poverty stricken humans and all other living species with our mistaken sense of superiority.
Pepperberg's account is illuminating in so many ways (if we read the entire book.)
Her sense of humour made much of the the read truly enjoyable.

Aug 21, 2018

If you don't know much about birds, this book will change your view of them for sure. Alex was truly a remarkable and intelligent bird. There are some hilarious moments recorded as Alex was so bright he would deliberate be mischievous and give wrong answers. If you are a bird lover already, it's still a great story.

What is clear in the story also is that Dr Pepperberg had to overcome prejudice in the science community, as a woman scientist, and also because some scientists were unwilling to consider that birds are intelligent or that they are feeling sentient beings-- but something every caring pet owner knows in his or her heart is true about their own pet and all creatures great and small

Jul 21, 2017

Irene, an only child, her mother a "freezer mom," grew up in the city. Her father bought her a series of parakeets, which asuaged her loneliness to some degree. She got a PhD in chemistry, but eventually knew she wanted to study parrots and how they learned. She got an African Grey Parrot, whom she named Alex. At that point, in the 1970s, birds were thought to, literally, have bird brains. Dr. Pepperberg thought Alex was smart, and began to teach him English to prove it. Because she had the "wrong" degree to be working with parrots, she couldn't get a faculty job--plus she was a faculty wife. She spent years moving with her husband and finding tiny quarters for her labs, and mostly volunteers to work with Alex. Her marriage broke up because he didn't think what she did was important. But she kept going, and published her findings. What she found is fascinating, and so is the book. She begins at the end, with Alex's premature death at about 30--half a parrot's normal lifetime. She was stunned by the world wide response, and by her own grief, because she'd tamped down how much she loved this bird who learned so much, had such a wonderful personality, and a sense of humor. This book is for lay people; she wrote another with her scientific findings. Still, I learned a very great deal.

Dec 05, 2016

Enjoyable and surprising

Dec 03, 2016

* I've seen TV clips about Alex the parrot, but of course this book provides a lot more information than any short TV clip could.

* It was just as interesting to learn about Dr. Pepperberg as it was to learn about Alex. Her life took a lot of twists and turns to get her to the point of studying avian cognition.

* This is a must-read for animal lovers.

Feb 11, 2016

Alex & Me was an emotional read. There were times I had to put the book down and take a break because there were tears in my eyes, and other times where I caught myself laughing out loud. What a wonderful bird he was.

A highly recommended read for bird owners and enthusists, a wonderful glimpse into the minds of our feathered companions.

soblessed59 Apr 22, 2014

I really enjoyed[at first] 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.The personality of this African Grey parrot is amazing and hilarious.I love the author's accounts of how Alex asserted himself when he didn't want to do the tests and the words he came up with himself, but it also made me feel that African Grey parrots are far too intelligent to be forced into being a 'lab-rat',even when they let it be known that they do not want to participate. So the book ended up making me very sad and feeling sorry for Alex.

Feb 24, 2013

The story of Alex & Me is a bit detached and clinical, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m looking for when I pick up a book with a cute parrot on the cover. If you are interested in finding out what Alex is capable of and how special he is, just look up Alex the parrot videos on YouTube.

Apr 28, 2009

This is the story of Alex, an African Grey parrot who was the subject of Irene Pepperberg's 30-year experiment in animal intelligence.

As someone who is convinced we humans do not give other animals due credit when it comes to intelligence, I was ready to be wowed by Alex. While Alex's intellect was impressive, Pepperberg's writing left something to be desired. To start, it takes her 50 pages (of a 226-page book) to actually begin the story, and spends entirely too much time talking about herself. I was disappointed in the book's brevity and overall lack of detail about his leaning progress, particularly when it came down to technique and the methods used to test his intelligence. I would happily have digested a book twice this size in exchange for more fascinating detail.

For another, better written take on avian intelligence, try 'Wesley the Owl.'


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