Thursday, July 26, 2012

Born On a Blue Day

From Goodreads:born on a blue day

One of the world's fifty living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story - and explain how his incredible mind works.
This unique first-person account offers a window into the mind of a high-functioning, 27-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger's syndrome. Tammet's ability to think abstractly, deviate from routine, and empathize, interact and communicate with others is impaired, yet he's capable of incredible feats of memorization and mental calculation. Besides being able to effortlessly multiply and divide huge sums in his head with the speed and accuracy of a computer, Tammet, the subject of the 2005 documentary Brainman, learned Icelandic in a single week and recited the number pi up to the 22,514th digit, breaking the European record. He also experiences synesthesia, an unusual neurological syndrome that enables him to experience numbers and words as "shapes, colors, textures and motions." Tammet traces his life from a frustrating, withdrawn childhood and adolescence to his adult achievements, which include teaching in Lithuania, achieving financial independence with an educational Web site and sustaining a long-term romantic relationship. As one of only about 50 people living today with synesthesia and autism, Tammet's condition is intriguing to researchers; his ability to express himself clearly and with a surprisingly engaging tone (given his symptoms) makes for an account that will intrigue others as well

My Review: This is a book that was recommended to me by a friend. I had heard of Daniel Tammet but did not realize he had a book out so needless to say I was curious to read this book.

Daniel is a high functioning autistic savant. He is one of only 50 living savants in the world and the only one that can explain his thought processes. This makes him remarkable in more ways than one.

This book is his autobiography and in it he details his life growing up knowing that he was different but not knowing how. He tells us how difficult school was and how he had a hard time connecting with other children.

The book was dry but nevertheless I found it a fascinating account of how he explained how his brain works. He has Synthesia which allows him to visualize numbers and letters as images. These images helps him memorize to such a degree that he broke England's record for reciting the most digits in the number PI.

He can also learn languages in just a week. He explains how for a TV program they asked him to learn Icelandic in just four days. After conversing in Icelandic for four days he was able to give an interview all in Icelandic. The way he learned it was amazing.  I wish I could do that. I struggled to learn French.

This a rare account into the mind of an autistic savant. No other savant can communicate such details to us.

This is a book I think everyone should read if just for the educational opportunities it affords.

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