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Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Aspergers and an Extraordinary Mind [Hardcover]

Daniel Tammet
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 July 2006
Daniel sees numbers as shapes, colours and textures and can perform extraordinary maths in his head. He can also learn to speak a language fluently from scratch in a week. He has Savant Syndrome, an extremely rare form of Asperger's that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, much like the Rain Man portrayed by Dustin Hoffman.

Daniel has a compulsive need for order and routine - he eats exactly 45 grams of porridge for breakfast and cannot leave the house without counting the number of items of clothing he's wearing. If he gets stressed or unhappy he closes his eyes and counts. But in some ways Daniel is not at all like the Rain Man. He is virtually unique amongst people who have severe autistic disorders in being capable of living a fully independent life. It is his incredible self-awareness and ability to communicate what it feels like to live in a unique way that makes his story so powerful.

Touching as well as fascinating, Born On A Blue Day explores what it's like to be special and in so doing gives us an insight into what makes us all human - our minds.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (13 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340899743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340899748
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel Tammet was born in a working-class suburb of London, England, on 31 January 1979, the eldest of nine children. His mother had worked as a secretarial assistant; his father was employed at a sheet metal factory. Both became full-time parents.

Despite early childhood epileptic seizures and atypical behaviour, Tammet received a standard education at local schools. His learning was enriched by an early passion for reading. He won the town's 'Eager Reader' prize at the age of eleven. At secondary school he was twice named Student of the Year. He matriculated in 1995 and completed his Advanced level studies (in French, German, and History) two years later.

In 1998 Tammet took up a volunteer English teaching post in Kaunas, Lithuania, returning to London the following year. In 2002 he launched the online language learning company Optimnem. It was named a member of the UK's 'National Grid for Learning' in 2006.

In 2004, Tammet was finally able to put a name to his difference when he was diagnosed with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen at Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre.

The same year, on March 14, Tammet came to public attention when he recited the mathematical constant Pi (3.141...) from memory to 22,514 decimal places in 5 hours, 9 minutes, without error. The recitation, at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, set a European record.

Tammet began writing in 2005. His first book, Born On A Blue Day, subtitled 'A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind', was first published in the UK in 2006 and became a Sunday Times bestseller. The US edition, published in 2007, spent 8 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In 2008, the American Library Association named it a 'Best Book for Young Adults'. It was also a Booklist Editors' Choice. It has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide, and been translated into more than 20 languages.

In 2009, Tammet published Embracing the Wide Sky, a personal survey of current neuroscience. The French edition (co-translated by Tammet himself) became one of the country's best-selling non-fiction books of the year. It also appeared on bestseller lists in the UK, Canada, and Germany, and has been translated into numerous languages.

Thinking in Numbers, Tammet's first collection of essays, is published in August 2012.

In 2008 Tammet emigrated to France. He lives in Paris.

Product Description

Review

'A memoir of outstanding lucidity and charm'

(The Sunday Times)

'You close BORN ON A BLUE DAY with a sense of profound admiration'

(The Daily Mail)

'A charmingly precise, tenderly honest account'

(The Daily Express)

'Remarkable'

(Independent on Sunday 2006-07-23)

'Admirably modest but affecting autobiography by a man blessed with incredible mental gifts but struggling with Asperger's'

(The Sunday Times - top choice of books 'you really must read' 2006-07-23)

'So elegantly written... he tells his story dead straight'

(Daily Telegraph 2006-07-10)

'In BORN ON A BLUE DAY, both his difficulties and his awakening consciousness of himself and others are charted. The miracle is that he wrote it himself. It has a strange, quiet beauty'

(Scotland on Sunday 2006-07-16)

'Read by Daniel, this memoir gives the listener a remarkable insight into the mysterious world of autism and pays homage to Daniel's parents'

(Observer 2006-07-16) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A fascinating and touching memoir from real-life Rain Man, Daniel Tammet, who has the extremely rare condition Savant Syndrome --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse inside an extraordinary mind 2 Mar 2007
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Daniel Tammet has Savant syndrome, a rare form of Asperger's which gives him the ability to remember long sequences of numbers (seeing the numbers as having various colours and textures) and to be able to learn to speak a language from scratch within a week.

The book isn't just an autobiography. Tammet explains incredibly eloquently about how he experiences numbers and words, giving the reader a glimpse inside an extraordinary mind.

Tammets explores his childhood experinces, the pain of being an outsider at school, how he discovered he was gay and found a loving relationship and most importantly how he experinces the world. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the teaching assignment he took in Lithuania and learning Lithuanian, something which most of us would find daunting even without autism.

The writing is quite sparce, lacking flowery description, as you might expect being written by someone with such an analytical brain. However there are parts which are still very touching. Tammet has had to teach himself how to function socially, how to read body language and verbal clues. I think if nothing else, this book has taught me that idioms such as 'pull up a chair' or 'feeling under the weather' can be incredibly confusing for people who take language so literally.

A really intersting read. Recommended.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born on a Blue Day - Daniel Tammet 21 July 2006
Format:Hardcover
I urge everyone to buy this book straight away!!

Daniel explains his experiences with Asperger's and Savant Syndrome openly and honestly.

You really feel like you know Daniel personally by the time you get to the end!

He has an incredible mind and has acheived far more than I ever will. His abillity to learn foreign languages in a week is astounding!

He also has his own website called Optimnem where he has set up tutorials to allow people to learn languages in his own unique way.

I'll be starting that as soon as I get paid!!

Absolutely fantastic book, could not put it down.

Christine Pearson
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse inside an extraordinary mind 10 Sep 2006
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Daniel Tammet has Savant syndrome, a rare form of Asperger's which gives him the ability to remember long sequences of numbers (seeing the numbers as having various colours and textures) and to be able to learn to speak a language from scratch within a week.

The book isn't just an autobiography. Tammet explains incredibly eloquently about how he experiences numbers and words, giving the reader a glimpse inside an extraordinary mind.

Tammets explores his childhood experinces, the pain of being an outsider at school, how he discovered he was gay and found a loving relationship and most importantly how he experinces the world. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the teaching assignment he took in Lithuania and learning Lithuanian, something which most of us would find daunting even without autism.

The writing is quite sparce, lacking flowery description, as you might expect being written by someone with such an analytical brain. However there are parts which are still very touching. Tammet has had to teach himself how to function socially, how to read body language and verbal clues. I think if nothing else, this book has taught me that idioms such as 'pull up a chair' or 'feeling under the weather' can be incredibly confusing for people who take language so literally.

A really interesting read. Recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique mind, a unique mathematician 31 July 2007
By edd101
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Maths is the only true gift that i was born with and so was drawn to this book; it immediately made me feel slightly insecure because this man is an inspiration. Daniel, a Savant, that now leads a normal life, has achieved so much in his young life that it puts a lump in your throat.
He writes with perfect clarity about setting his pi record, meeting the real rain man 'Kim Peek', chatting with David Letterman live on American T.V and also an insight on how he can do unbelievable mathematical calculations in a matter of seconds.
A very humble man, he explains how he found it very hard to find employment and in his own words mentions that autistic individuals can bring 'reliability, honesty, a high level of accuracy, considerable attention to detail and a good knowledge of various facts and figures' to an organisation.
I found page 12 very useful because it gives you an idiot proof guide on how to remember all the prime numbers up to 100, which i passed on to my son, who also loves Maths. My son (10) was absolutely mesmerized with some of the things, that i explained to him, that Daniel could do.
There is a chapter that i thought i may feel uncomfortable reading (i will let you figure out which one) but Daniel writes it in such a tender way that you feel charmed that he shares his 'open book' approach to his life.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 10 Aug 2006
Format:Hardcover
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the human mind a little better. It is a very personal tale, but reading this book made me reevaluate how I judge people when I first meet them. Daniel's warmth and intelligence comes through as he tells his life story, but equally it is plain that he would struggle to communicate these qualities at first face to face.

A really fascinating book that may change the way you see the world a little.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Born on a Blue day
This book was a purchase I made some years ago and a book I had signed by the author however it was not returned to me by the borrower so I have decided to have this book in my... Read more
Published 1 month ago by POLLY
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant .
This is the first book by Daniel Tammet that I read, and found so amazing . It was the first one that was ever written by a mathematical Savant, and this is what makes it so... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Seaweedgirl1
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting Book
I found this book both interesting and moving. I found out more about aspergers syndrome as well as learning about a very individual mind.
Published 2 months ago by Rosie Skaife d'Ingerthorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and full of insight.
This is an informative and inspiring book. Daniel Tammet writes intelligently and sensitively about himself and his perspective on the world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paulystrad
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a fascinating insight into how the brain can work differently and this wonderful man's journey through life so far.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read.
One of those books you just can't put down. Daniel Tammet has a unique

mind but has also shown great courage in his quest to cope in the

"normal"... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Christine M Storey
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight in boy's life
I ave three autistic children in my class this year and really want to ensure I'm doing the 'right' thing for them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. Humphrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Born on a Blue day
I enjoyed reading this book but it did nor help me very much in helping my grandson. however this is my personal opinion
Published 8 months ago by mary mcshane
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Brilliant read,parents of an autistic child this book came recommended really informative giving us ideas and a lot of understanding into the mind of an autistic person
Published 8 months ago by tracey price
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside a special mind
I chose this book because my grandson has Asperger's Syndrome and I am always interested in the experiences of other high-functioning autistic individuals, preferably in their own... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Elsie Richardson
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