Born On A Blue Day
Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
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Bestselling author Daniel Tammet (Thinking in Numbers) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head.
He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.
Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human—our minds.
Daniel Tammet: Born on a Blue Day
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Reading Group Guide
1. How does Daniel Tammet's experience of numbers and language differ from that of most people? What explains his intense attraction to prime numbers? How does Daniel characterize his relationships with numbers, and how does it compare to his relationships with people?
2. How are Daniel's savant syndrome and his epilepsy connected? Why might epilepsy allow some regions of Daniel's brain to perform with remarkable efficiency? Of Daniel's many remarkable abilities as a savant, which did you find most fascinating or extraordinary, and why?
3. "Predictability was important to me, a way of feeling in control in a given situation, a way of keeping feelings of anxiety at bay, at least temporarily." To what extent is Daniel's need for regularity and predictability a kind of compulsion? Why might similar behavior in someone without savant syndrome be perceived as neurosis? How does the unexpected affect Daniel?
4. How can Daniel's professional success be understood in light of his having grown up in a large family that required a great deal of him socially, despite his autism? What roles might his family's uncertain finances and his father's illness have played in Daniel's development? How would you characterize Daniel's connection to his family as an adult?
5. Why was Daniel unable to reveal the fact of his homosexuality to his parents prior to his time volunteering in Lithuania? H see more