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My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey Paperback – 4 Nov 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: (4 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430300612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430300618
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,573,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This book is important for everyone . . . I love this book' (Oprah Winfrey)

"Highly Recommended" 'surprisingly compelling reading' (Good Reading 2008-11-26) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A US bestseller and Oprah's new webinar author, this is a brain scientist's personal experience of a stroke, her journey to recovery and rare insight into human consciousness and its possibilities for all of us --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Maggie B. on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Since my brother had a stroke last year I've read several books in an attempt to understand what he's experienced and how best to help him up the long slope to recovery. This is definitely the best book I've read so far. It reads like a novel (even the two technical chapters are fascinating) and I can't put it down. It has a really good combination of science, an account of what happened to her, how she felt and what she needed in order to recover. I finally feel I have some understanding of what has happened to him and what he may need from the people around him. This book has really helped me to feel a little less helpless. I agree with other reviewers that a)the last section is very American, "touchy feely" and a bit spiritual which some people might find offputting and b) it would have been really useful to have more information on the nature of the care and therapy (speech, cognitive and physical) which enabled her to recover.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Cowie on 18 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an easy book to read, however it is very American - touchy feely. The book is split into 4 parts, and is worth getting for the first 3 parts.

The intro is well written and interesting. The next part covers the science of the brain. This is slightly heavy going, but worth reading if you are interested in the subject (why else would you buy a book about strokes?!). The author encourages you to read this to understand the next part, and it is useful but certainly not essential.

The next part of the book is what you are buying it for, the description of what happenned to Jill and how it affected her and her insights to this and understanding of what was happening, followed by her recovery and her personal take on the differing support she got from different people. It is a thrilling and scary journey, and for this part I would absolutely recommend anyone to read this book to help undertand brain injury a little and the support required. I feel that I have learnt a great deal from this book.

The final part, is more about what Jill has learnt about how to control her brain and return to her nirvana whenever she wants. She has certainly turned what could so easily have been a tragedy into an asset that has made her a happier person and she encourages us to enter that same mental space. This bit was for me the touchy feely self help spiritual guidance bit. I didn't get it, but if you are looking for that, it is a nice extra - possibly would have been worth putting into a seperate book though.

All in all, this is two books in one, and the book about the stroke is excellent and well worth reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 3 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a short book and it's also easy to read. Being quite the hypochondriac, I liked it because Jill Bolte Taylor portrays strokes as nothing to be afraid of. In fact, for her it was a lifechanging, almost spiritual experience.

Essentially the book is in three parts. The first part is a simple explanation of how the brain functions and what happens when you have a stroke. I have no great scientific knowledge but I found this quite easy to follow. The second part (most of the book) is about Jill Bolte Taylor's personal experience of having a stroke (specifically, a haemorrhagic stroke in her left cerebral cortex) and going through the recovery process. Her account of the stroke is fascinating because she is able to describe very specifically what was happening to her brain as well as how she felt and how it affected her as it was happening.

This section also has a lot of information about how you can best communicate with and help someone who's had a stroke to recover. There are lots of tips on basic things that you can do, for example: speak quietly but slowly and clearly, don't hurry them, don't overwhelm them with stimulation (no TV or radio), keep visitations brief.

One thing that I found very interesting in terms of her recovery process was how long it took: after four years of work her brain became capable of multi-tasking, after six years she could climb two steps at a time etc.

In the final part of the book, Dr Taylor takes what she learned from her experience and explains how she believes that better understanding of the ways that our brains operate can allow us to choose what thoughts we will give attention to and to consciously override the negative aspects of left brain thinking.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Iona Main Stewart TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book about a neuroanatomist who suffers a cerebral haemorrhage. Apart from the first three chapters, which explain to us in detail the structure of the brain, with its two halves, detail necessary for us to understand what happened to the author, the first part of the book reads like a thriller and is unputdownable.

She, Jill, wakes up early one morning to a sharp pain behind her left eye. This is the beginning of a blow-by-blow account of her haemorrhage. This takes place in the left, logical, side of her brain. The account is fascinating, in that we experience Jill's gradual awareness of the fact that something absolutely serious is happening, something she realizes she will have to do something about, get help with, while at the same time she is more and more being drawn into the euphoria and now-consciousness of the right side of the brain. The left side was gradually filling up with blood and her ability to move, talk, and think logically, was disappearing. Part of her knew that she had to act quickly, but she was constantly distracted by the wondrous feeling of being one with the universe (not to mention by the splitting headache). It was a struggle to focus enough to find out what to do to get help, and how to do it. Who to call, what number to call, and how to call a number.

Eventually of course, as we can figure out, she does manage to alert the world to her predicament. After a brain operation and aided by her loving mother and much sleep, she gradually returns to health, though it takes her eight years fully to regain her faculties. Of course she needs to learn how to walk, talk, read and understand numbers, the latter proving to be the most difficult.

Now, I believe that everything happens for a reason.
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