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VINE VOICEon 2 March 2007
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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VINE VOICEon 10 September 2006
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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on 21 July 2006
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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on 9 December 2009
Very insightful book, always interesting to understand how someone quite different sees the world. Also makes you realise that any differences are not so big after all.

The prose is a little dry - in some places a bit abrupt - but I think that adds to the feeling that the book has not been too dressed up or crafted - it feels like a genuine reflection of Daniel's thoughts/ experiences. Don't want that to sound too harsh though - in other places there is rich detail and very descriptive explanations of how numbers, language etc form in his mind - again, leaves you feeling closer to his world.

Overall a good read.
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on 10 August 2006
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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VINE VOICEon 10 September 2006
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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on 7 September 2012
I give this 5 stars - a very high rating for me - simply because of the extremely rare opportunity it gives the reader to, in some small way, experience the world through the eyes of someone with a variation on autism. Daniel has Savant Syndrome, in itself an extremely rare form of Asperger's, which gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, as portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man. He sees numbers as shapes, colours and textures (synesthesia), and can perform extraordinary maths in his head. One of his achievements has been to set a new British and European record for memorizing and reciting pi - to 22,514 digits, a feat which took him 5 hours and 9 minutes to recite at the Ashmolean in Oxford in 2004. He can also learn to speak a language fluently in just a week -a noteworthy feat being the learning of Icelandic in less than a week, to a level where he could converse on television about a range of subjects in his newly acquired tongue. While this may be exceptional, other aspects of his life are more typical of autism - a compulsive need for routine and order, difficulty in coping with crowds, change and lots of different stimuli at once, as well as an inability to see the world through the eyes of others. He takes things literally (needing to learn things like when someone says "Take a seat", you sit down rather than picking up the seat and taking it away) and also has to learn something about the concept of empathy in order to function socially. Even things like needing to look someone in the eye when speaking to them are totally foreign to Daniel, as to other autism sufferers. The other critical and near-unique thing about Daniel is that he has been able to learn to live largely independently, an impossibility for most people with similar levels of autism, Asperger's or even Savant syndrome. Not only did this book enable me to view the world through his eyes, but there are also lots of facts and insights offered which were new to me. He offers many insights into medical matters - from epilepsy to colic. He also offers fascinating insights into social norms and issues, and language. The book ends very hopefully when he talks about the moments of complete peace and connection which humans experience from time to time. "I imagine these moments as fragments or splinters scattered across a lifetime. If a person could somehow collect them all up and stick them together, he would have a perfect hour or even a perfect day. And I think in that hour or day he would be closer to the mystery of what it is to be human. It would be like having a glimpse of heaven".
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on 10 May 2007
I'm one of those people that really wants to read but seems to spend a little too much time infront of the internet, or TV! So I thought get your self a book.

Shamfully enough I really liked the cover of this book and I though "hmmm whats this about"...Anyway when the book arrived (after looking into what the book was about obviously) I started reading it and got through about 50 pages in half hour, which was out of this world for me. It was so interested from the start, having the ability to see directly into Daniel's mind was great. He describes his condition in such an interesting way to really help you visualise how he lives each day.

I'd say buy this book if you want a good read and are even slightly interested in autism, although don't be mis-guided by thinking it is a deep insight in to dealing with autism, it is more a story about a boy, who grows up to be an amazing man.

Great Stuff.
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on 2 August 2006
The most startling thing which comes through from Daniel Tammets book is not his astonishing savant abilities (which have already been documented elsewhere). It is his generosity of spirit and courage in overcoming his shyness and other problems to propogate his message that difference is not necessarily disabilty. It is particularly touching how his attempts to overcome his problems in travelling and meeting people have resulted in him being able to do more and more - he has in effect "felt the fear and done it anyway". I intend to take up one of his language courses as soon as I can. Heartily recommended!
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Daniel Tammet is a fascinating person, with a totally original view of life. I found the book both confusing and refreshing. Confusing because one is lulled into thinking it is a simple autobiography, but without warning he throws in detailed asides, which derail the thoughts when first encountered and yet with hindsight make perfect sense. Refreshing because he has taken what unenlightened others might consider 'conditions to be cured' and intelligently turned them to his advantage, to grow into a talented and highly focused individual capable of remarkable feats of memory with astounding linguistic and mathematical skills.

He has a very rare combination of both Autism and Synaesthesia. Most of us probably think we know something about Autism and will have seen the films Rain Man and A Beautiful Mind, and many of us might even have a small hint of it in our own nature. But for me the most fascinating aspect of the book was how he came to terms with finding out about his Synaesthesia and then using it. To my envious mind it is an advantage adding an extra texture and a more subtle flavour to the world around us, and not merely another 'condition' needing treatment. I sympathise with him needing to avoid the heat and pressure of crowds, and to find a calmer and more ordered, organised, tidy existence.

I'm not aware of myself having any aspects of either Autism or Synaesthesia, but the book strikes a loud and ringing chord with me, and I very much want him to succeed in life. I found his prose somewhat stilted at times, and his attention to detail took some getting used to, but it adds to the flavour of the book, and gives us a very private glimpse into the precision and depths of his mind.

One needs some time and patience to read the book, and being sympathetic will help a lot with your enjoyment of it. If you are not interested in a personal look at modern life from an unusual viewpoint, and if you don't have the time to sit back and think about what he has to say in several parts of the book before continuing to read, then don't buy it. But if you would like to discover how to overcome major conceptual difficulties in adapting to a strange and nonsensical society (ours!) then read on.

It will not be to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed reading it, and immediately re-read it from the beginning, and was left with a warm feeling from the reflection of his achievements.
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