Tyler Cowen's new book, Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World is one of the more engaging books I've read recently. It rests comfortably in the niche between books about behavorial economics and social technology. Careful readers of this blog will note that Tyler Cowen was a participant in the Kauffman Economic Bloggers Forum in February. We prepared videos of the participants. You can see him on video discussing blogging here. Cowen is a seasoned blogger at his blog, Marginal Revolution.
Craig Newmark, founder of the web forum Craigslist, has written on his blog that his history as a "recovering nerd" is connected to Asperger's. It is perhaps no accident that autistics are known for their attachment to lists as a means of processing, recording, and ordering knowledge. Bram Cohen, creator and former CEO of BitTorrent, also describes himself in terms of Asperger's syndrome. He founded the company at age twenty-nine and BitTorrent has been a pioneer in exchanging digital information over the web; one of his key insights was how BitTorrent could break up files into smaller bits and send through the bits rather than the whole file at once. Cohen mastered three programming languages by the age of sixteen and his work on BitTorrent is regarded as brilliant. The best-known example of an autistic high achiever is Temple Grandin, a woman who has pioneered commonly used improvements in animal treatment and slaughterhouses; her unique cognitive perspective has helped her understand when animals are afraid and how they can be made to feel more secure.
I've yet to see a scientific paper or serious clinical discussion of the autistics who hold political office, work in Hollywood, start web 2.0 companies, or run major U.S. corporations or hedge funds.