Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

One of thi world 's fifty living autistic savants is the irst and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story- and explain how his incredible mind works.

his unique first-person account offers a window into the imagination 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 incapabl 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 matte 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 " Tammet traces his life from a frustrating, withdrawn childhood and adolescence to his adult achievements, which include teaching in Lithuania, achieving financial independence with an educational Web site and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.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
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Original Title of the Book
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
Publication Date
Published January 9th 2007 by Free Press (first published January 9th 2006

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I know that people are getting more interested in hearing about autism currently, for which I am ery thankful, but his book works for anyone who does n't " fit in " or is going through the struggle of adolescence.

How Daniel describes feeling like the odd one out in his family, being puzzled about how to make friends, being the proverbial square peg in a round hole are really universal themes.

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Hell no!

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As he discusses growing up as the uncle of nine children, Tammet writes in great detail about what life is like for a person who experiences numbers as a landscape he can walk within and yet can be easily overwhelmed by the normal stimulus of modern life.

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Yet the text itself is anything but -- the chapters are elatively short, his sentences are easy to ollow, and ( aside from the second chapter, " Blue Nines and Red Words ") it is old in straightforward chronology.Tammet is 28 years old; he 's been diagnosed as both a savant and autistic, which eans that he can remember nearly everything he 's read, including massive amounts of numbers, but that he spent most of his life feeling like an outsider unsure of how to interact with ther people.

True, he has been incredibly successful in spite of his autism-related limitations ( he runs successful online language learning business, and is considered one of thi most socially functional autistic cases ever studied -- as a consequence, he 's a biologis 's wet dream to studying the brain, savantism, and autism) .While the text is quite informative into how his mind works and what his life has been like, there were large chunks where I felt disconnected from the text.

The shorter early chapters seem to exacerbate the problem by skipping rather quickly through things -- many of them things Tammet does not emember but his parents do, which migh account for his lack of energy when discussing them.His is a fascinating mind and experience, and a nove is really worth reading if you 're interested in how the brain works, how autism or savantism work, and articularly how Tammet sees numbers, letters, etc.

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Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head.

For an xample, Tammet sees the number “ 1″ as a very bright white, the number “ 11″ is friendly, and “ 5″ is loud like a clap of thunder.

cientists are particularly interested in his bility to see numbers as landscapes with color and texture and Tammet is currently helping them with their studies.

Tammet ’ s input is important but like statistics he is nly one not the majority.While there is the assumption that synaesthesia is rare I don ’ t understand it is “ that ” rare and believe that many people have some degree of it in differen ways.

Maths geeks though will love it – I guess to give him his due what he migh do is nothing short of amazing and his ability is compared to ‘ Rainman ”, Kim Peek, who Tammet later met& continues to remain friends with.

His arents were accepting and supporting of him and he credits their help with getting him through difficult periods.Tammet gives this advice to parents of children suffering from epilepsy or autism: “ Give your children the self-belief to hold on to their dreams, because they hav the guy that shape each person ’ s future ”.

In the ¾ quarter section of thi memoi the narrative drifts a bit during his discussion of how he sees God& that could be my own bias in not being particularly interested one way or the other- and while I understan why he included it ( to show he does have empathy and feelings etc), his openness on his sexuality and beliefs have probably caused him more derision than acceptance in some religious sectors.

Daniel Tammet is an interesting guy.

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Although this novel human story, this does not provide much insight into how Tammet 's brain works and why other brains are not like his.

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© Nicole Waggonner