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Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant Hardcover – 9 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (9 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416535071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416535072
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,578,332 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

"With all due respect to Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and any living Nobel laureates, the most remarkable mind on the planet just might belong to DanielTammet...Tammet displays a surprising level of sensitivity -- and a refreshing lack of sentimentality -- in an account that inspires even as it astonishes." -- "Entertainment Weekly" --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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2007
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Sept. 2006
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By edd101 on 31 July 2007
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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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. Pearson on 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 July 2009
Format: Paperback
In a book which is both simple to read and often surprisingly frank Daniel Tammet describes what is like to have two conditions - either of which would normally be enough to isolate him from many aspects of society - Asperger and Savant Syndromes.
The intention of the book seems to be to give a window on the life of a person living with an autism spectrum disorder, so that the rest of society can have a better understanding of the these conditions. In this regard the book both succeeds and fails. The life of the author as a person with Asperger's Syndrome is clearly described - and some of the sections where he speaks of his isolation at school and the lack of connection with his parents make for painful reading.
The second aspect of the book, the Savant Syndrome, can be baffling. The author visualizes numbers as having shape, texture and colour and as a result is able to do extraordinary mental calculations. This section is so unfamiliar to me (and I assume most people) that it becomes simply descriptive of a process that remains utterly incomprehensible. This is not a criticism of the way the book is written - it is just an observation about some of the content. Knowing that the author sees numbers as lines does not help me understand how he uses the lines to carry out calculations. The mental processes seem foreign - fascinating but ultimately inaccessible.

This is an honest and readable account of a real person with both remarkable talents and significant limitations. It has the considerable advantage of being an account of a real person and this separates from the well know "Curious Incident of the Dog...........". I think this book should be read by anybody who works with, knows or are related to people who have an ASD, and especially with Asperger's Syndrome. We will come to have a better understanding of this condition only if people are willing to hear about it.
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