The Journal of Best Practices

A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

The Journal of Best Practices

The warm and hilarious bestselling memoir by a man diagnosed with Asperger syndrome who sets out to save his marriage

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, but it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband with an endearing yet hilarious zeal. His methods for improving his marriage involve excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies, including “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along” and “Apologies do not count when you shout them.” Over the course of two years, David transforms himself from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest. He becomes the husband he’d always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.
  • Scribner | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439189757 | 
  • January 2012
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An Asperger's Diagnosis Transforms One Couple's Marriage

David and Kristen Finch discuss the effect that David's Asperger Syndrome diagnosis had on their family and their marriage.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Journal of Best Practices includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with David and Kristen Finch. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Filled with humor and surprising insight, The Journal of Best Practices is DavidFinch’s personal and candid exploration of his quest to become a betterhusband—in spite of and aided by his Asperger syndrome. Faced with thefailings of his marriage, David embarks on a ruthless self-improvement planfull of note-taking, spousal performance reviews, and a running journal ofthe ways in which he can be a better partner, a better father, and a betterman. A unique and moving look into life on the autism spectrum, David’sis a story that shows it’s never too late to change, and that love—with theright amount of hard work—can conquer all.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “I was thirty years old and had been married five years when I learnedthat I have Asperger syndrome, a relatively mild form of autism.” Discussthis opening scene in which Kristen asks David a series of questionsfrom an Asperger’s evaluation test. How does this passage establish theirrelationship?

2. Discuss the w see more

About the Author

David Finch
Photograph by Mandi Backhaus

David Finch

David Finch grew up on a farm in northern Illinois and attended the University of Miami, where he studied Music Engineering Technology. In 2008 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. His essay, “Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy” appeared in TheNew York Times and became the basis for this book. David lives in northern Illinois with his wife Kristen and two children and is still a total nerd.


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