Embracing the Wide Sky
A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind
Tammet explains that the differences between savant and non-savant minds have been exaggerated; his astonishing capacities in memory, math and language are neither due to a cerebral supercomputer nor any genetic quirk, but are rather the results of a highly rich and complex associative form of thinking and imagination. Autistic thought, he argues, is an extreme variation of a kind that we all do, from daydreaming to the use of puns and metaphors.
Embracing the Wide Sky combines meticulous scientific research with Tammet's detailed descriptions of how his mind works to demonstrate the immense potential within us all. He explains how our natural intuitions can help us to learn a foreign language, why his memories are like symphonies, and what numbers and giraffes have in common. We also discover why there is more to intelligence than IQ, how optical illusions fool our brains, and why too much information can make you dumb.
Many readers will be particularly intrigued by Tammet's original ideas concerning the genesis of genius and exceptional creativity. He illustrates his arguments with examples as diverse as the private languages of twins, the compositions of poets with autism, and the breakthroughs, and breakdowns, of some of history's greatest minds.
Embracing the Wide Sky is a unique and brilliantly imaginative portrait of how we think, learn, remember and create, brimming with personal insights and anecdotes, and explanations of the most up-to-date, mind-bending discoveries from fields ranging from neuroscience to psychology and linguistics. This is a profound and provocative book that will transform our understanding and respect for every kind of mind.
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Reading Group Guide
Drawing on his personal experience in fascinating and profound ways, Daniel shows that the deepest secrets of the brain may be hidden in plain sight. His tour across the horizons of the mind will fascinate and instruct and open our eyes to the beauty found in every kind of mind.
1. Tammet states that one of his intentions in writing Embracing the Wide Sky is to show that the thinking processes of geniuses and autistic savants is not so different from everyone else and that "anyone can learn from them" (Pg. 9). Do you think he has successfully shown this? Why or why not? What are some of the things that you learned, which if applied might enhance your own mental performance?
2. Tammet hopes to alter our perceptions about the nature of autistic savants. He states that "even to this day autistic savants are too often view see more