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Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind

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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  632 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
Owner of "the most remarkable mind on the planet," (according to Entertainment Weekly) Daniel Tammet captivated readers and won worldwide critical acclaim with the 2007 New York Times bestselling memoir, Born On A Blue Day, and its vivid depiction of a life with autistic savant syndrome. In his fascinating new book, he writes with characteristic clarity and personal awaren ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Free Press
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Ahmed Allala
Sep 30, 2016 Ahmed Allala rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book with a simplistic vocabulary that makes its scientific purpose easier to reach the reader.
It proves that the autistic mind is no different from any other mind in matters of health and sanity and that autistic individuals, to contrary belief, generally have better intellectual activity.
I only gave it 4 stars for one reason which is : I prefer reading fictional stories to scientific books or real-story-telling books.
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Mar 24, 2009 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any one interested in how we learn/create
This is a great book. It transported me back to the college courses I took in the late 90s for a teacher's credential. It was basically an overview of what I had learned over a two year period, except in a condensed, readable, and interesting format - although sometimes difficult to grasp and a few time to understand, due to my own lack of abilities.
He writes about how he believes our brains work and tries to dispell the myth that the human brain is like a computer arguing that our humanity is t
...more
Nichola
Feb 17, 2009 Nichola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: differences
Don't look here for a continuation of the author's life journey (he is an autistic savant, and so much more). His first book was a descriptive story of his experiences and development. But in this latest book he seems to have grown beyond self examination to give a fairly comprehensive view of cognition in general and as it relates to our interactions, decisions, and future.
Isa
Dec 16, 2009 Isa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Daniel Tammet deals with a lot of topics that interest me as well: Math, Mind, Language, Creativity - he presents a lot of information that is quite interesting - especially his first-person views of synesthesia and of perceiving numbers semantically (i.e., the number theoretical properties like divisibility to his mind resemble grammar/morphology of sentences/words).
The facts are quite up to date, most things will be known to people interested in these fields, though.
I find myself
...more
Saadia
Aug 20, 2016 Saadia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2009 book by the author of "Born on a Blue Day". He cites meticulous scientific research to tie neurological facts to human skills and argues that his savant abilities are perfectly understandable expressions of biology.

The title of the book "Embracing the Wide Sky" is inspired by one of his favorite poems, by Emily Dickinson. When I read the poem, I felt profoundly stirred and touched.

I was very struck by the chapter "Seeing What is not There". He discusses how the mind perceives an
...more
Lara
Dec 27, 2009 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really well written, and pretty fascinating stuff. My grandfather was a neurosurgeon towards the end of the lobotomy days, and so I've always been really interested in how the brain works and why we think and perceive the way we do, and intrigued that we still know relatively little about it all. I thought Tammet managed to articulate very well the way in which he and some other savants are able to visualize and relate to numbers, which I've always had trouble picturing, and I found his theory o ...more
Gendou
Jun 28, 2011 Gendou rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Makes a weak case against IQ testing:
1 Bad to apply statistics to the individual.
2 Not a good measure of true complex nature of intelligence.
3 Roots in bigotry and pseudoscience.
4 Correlation of IQ and perceived intelligence does not imply causation.
I would counter argue:
1 These statistics can still be useful in some limited cases.
2 IQ doesn't pretend to measure all aspects of intelligence, only easily measurable components.
3 So what?
4 There ARE causal factors which might be investigated
...more
Jordan Price
It took a savant to explain the electoral college to me, go figure! I really enjoyed Mr. Tammet's prior book, Born on a Blue day, which is more autobiographical and focuses on his spectrum disorder. I was delighted to find there was not much repetitive overlap between the two books, as sometimes it seems like many nonfiction writers tell their personal stories over and over with each new book to establish their credentials. This material, while processed through the mind of someone with autism, ...more
Hoonie
Dec 12, 2016 Hoonie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
수많은 연구와 실험을 통해서 얻어낸것은 우리의 편견을 뒤엎을거리가 생긴것 하지만 한사람이라도 희생이 뒤따라야 함
Diane Kistner
Oct 28, 2012 Diane Kistner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather than talk about what this book is about, I'd like to share how I reacted to it. First, I think mild autistic spectrum disorders probably run in my family, overlapping with ADHD. I'm pretty sure after reading this book that at least one of my family members has Asperger's syndrome, and realizing this helps me understand their social distancing. I'm encouraged to find out more.

I was especially encouraged by the "World of Words" chapter, which deals with language acquisition in general, plus
...more
Katherine
Aug 17, 2009 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Tammet is what is termed a prodigious savant. He has a very high functioning form of Autism (Asberger’s syndrome), a remarkably high IQ and absolutely amazing mathematical and linguistic abilities. In Embracing the Wide Sky, he draws on his own experiences and a wide array of research to explore how the human brain works.

Tammet explodes the longstanding mythology surrounding savants and autism in general, as illustrated in the film Rain Man and even perpetuated by men of science like Oli
...more
Ashley
Aug 20, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rounded up... I'd give it a 3.5
This book was like a poorly constructed mosaic of random thoughts; I'm currently taking a few steps back hoping to conceive the big picture/theme. I became fascinated with the mind of Daniel Tammet after reading his autobiography, "Born on a Blue Day", and I was eager to delve further into his synesthetic world. Throughout my reading of "Embracing the Wide Sky", I vacillated between a continued enchantment and slight disappointment with his dry presentation of in
...more
Vy
Jan 05, 2010 Vy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I first learned about Daniel Tammet when I heard a little news blurb about someone reciting pi to 22,000+ decimal places. I was completely blown away by that! As someone with an interest in autism-spectrum disorders, I really enjoyed learning more about his thought processes in the documentary Brainman and especially in his memoir, Born on a Blue Day.

I had high hopes for this new book, but I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters. Tammet does provide lots of interesting tidbits of neuros
...more
Aimee Khan
Aug 22, 2014 Aimee Khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fred Landis
Jun 08, 2011 Fred Landis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One day I am watching this guy on TV being treated like some kind of circus attraction the next I read the most thoughtful,truthful,insightful book on the creative process.
The author has Aspergers,synesthesia,and is a savant.The minute he speaks the lies crumble in all 3 fields.This person is not disabled,very much to the contrary,he is extraordinary.
John Lennon"when I was 8 years old I knew I was a genius,why dis nobody notice?"
Who knows how many people like Tammet were misdiagnosed and treated
...more
Schissel
The first half of the book is really unique, and filled with interesting tidbits. For example, when given a large matrix of numbers to remember, Tammet does remarkably well when the numbers are "shaped" as he experiences them: ones are spiky, twos are round, threes are sad and blue, etc. However, when the matrix is filled with numbers that explicitly defy his expectations--round blue ones, for instance--his memory is suddenly little better than that of an average person! Clearly there is somethi ...more
Jan
Mar 02, 2012 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about the brain and many of its aspects, e.g. how it might work. The book also deals with "savants" and is written by one. Having seen documentaries on the phenomenon the book did not offer much new for me. As someone with a computer science education one thing that I noticed was a bit of a bias "against" CS. Even savants don't know how their brain works and I find it slightly presumptuous to reject the idea that AI is impossible and CS cannot produce "intelligent machines". I parti ...more
Thom
Jul 25, 2011 Thom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so entranced and distracted by the reader's English accent, that sometimes I missed what was actually being said. I would repeat some of the pronunciations back out loud in the car. This is a very rational author who performs some mild myth-busting and gives some updates on the latest brain research. I'd now like to read his earlier book, Born on a Blue Day. It's fascinating listening to someone with a different perception. Mr. Tammet has a particular sensitivity to numbers. The main point ...more
Kirsi
Jun 12, 2012 Kirsi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was interesting peek at the current understanding of how the brain works, especially in the more peculiar spectrum of autists and Asperger people. Before reading this book, I had been quite anxious to get my hands on it as Tammet had been promising a completely new view on the brain. However, the book mostly served interesting tidbits of current research, a lot of information on Tammet's own thinking (which is interesting) and some stories on other autistic and otherwise different think ...more
Louise Jones
Nov 23, 2014 Louise Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autism, knowledge
As a person with aspergers I find books quite fascinating although i can get a bit fed up with the fiction types !!! were they seem to dwell to much on how we tale things literallY but i found this fascinating as went into how the brain works especilly the memory side of it is interesting that i can remember dates and times of things that happened decades ago but if asked to come home with a pint of milk as it does not hold importance to me til i go,and make myself a cup of tea and no milk .ave ...more
Polina
Mar 23, 2014 Polina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Au niveau de la mémorisation, la musique détient une spécificité qui manque au langage seul. Elle a le pouvoir d'exprimer de façon puissante des sentiments de bonheur ou de joie, de frustration ou de désespoir; et l'émotion joue un rôle central dans la formation des souvenirs. Elle les rend vivaces et plus résistants à l'oubli."

"Les personnes bilingues aprennent très tôt que le nom donné aux objets est arbitraire, elles traitent donc d'un niveau d'abstraction très tôt dans leur vie."
-meilleure
...more
Bryce Holt
In reading this, you get a sense that Daniel Tammet is a genius. You also get the feeling that he's been told that a few too many times. And, yeah, while I'd be another one of those people who'd be in line to reiterate how amazing I find his mind, you don't necessarily want to read a book about the author being the example of brilliance. When he's running facts and talking about the history and studies of math, language and their usage within the human brain, he's great. When he's talking about ...more
Kreso
Apr 25, 2010 Kreso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people after stroke lose ability to understand the language yet remain intelligent and self-sufficient. (Though Tammet contradicts himself later in the book).
Some people with synaesthesia (colouring sounds/ words/ numbers in one's mind), colour things with colours they can't see in the 'real' world. (Martian colours)
Otherwise, Tammet picked up the lingo talking with top neuroscientist that were researching him. Tammet's own research doesn't seem to be deep, and I heard most of the arguments
...more
Jeff Yoak
I really enjoyed Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant and was looking forward to Tammet's second book. It is fine for what it is, but while the first book was primarily memoir and display of an unusual ability from a high-functioning Asperger's / savant syndrome person describing how he does what he does, this book more analyzes theories of personality and intelligence with his personal and unique perspectives added in. I'm very familiar with the topics so it w ...more
Laura Lam
Mar 28, 2011 Laura Lam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Embracing the Wide Sky is a book written by autistic savant Daniel Tammett. Tammet can recite pi for hours on end, find the square roots and multiply large sums easily, and he also learns languages very quickly, speaks at least 12 fluently, and is even creating his own language.

In this book, he analyzes how our brain works and how we learn things such as maths and languages, the biology of creativity, how different savants express their abilities, and also looks at the nature of intelligence and
...more
Mike Bell
Sep 05, 2013 Mike Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an individual lacking clear understanding or even any forms of labeling of my own mind, I was recommended this book by the author himself after asking him for recommendations on how to increase by language learning capabilities. This book helped illuminate the connections between his own mind's activities and my own, and the interconnected framework of mental activity shared by all people. Numbers and language fascinate me, and Tammet has helped bring them to a greater audience. If there is o ...more
Tin
Jun 02, 2011 Tin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty fascinating stuff, especially since my college major is related to psychology. People who aren't into psychology or anything related won't be able to appreciate it that much. Anyway, there are some parts where it goes into linguistics, creativity, mathematics, statistics (which I loved since this particular subject is also related to my major) and logic.

The thing is, the first half and the (first few chapters of) second half of the book are really fascinating. I find the last few chapters
...more
Mary
Oct 02, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, but I don't think it's for everyone. Daniel Tammet is a highly functioning autistic savant, and his accounts of his and others' abilities, and the theories behind them, were fascinating to me. (The author recited Pi from memory to 22,514 digits, and learned Icelandic in a week.) Some other reviewers have said that the book jumps around a lot, is too anecdotal, and gets slow partway in. They may be right, but none of that bothered me. If you normally read fast-paced fi ...more
Sasha Boersma
Maybe my rating isn't very fair, as this is a well thought-out, well-presented book. It just wasn't what I was looking for. This is a very generalized collection of thoughts and anecdotes about how our minds develop, perceive and process. Plenty of very good bits within it. I think I was expecting something a little less scientific. I still went through the entire book, but found myself more skimming through chapters than taking in what was written.

Good for someone looking for a launch pad of li
...more
Heather
Apr 21, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone who wants an interesting book by their bedside to pick up occasionally
Recommended to Heather by: Tom Ashbrook--NPR
Embracing the Wide Sky is enjoyable, discussing interesting tidbits in the beginning that pulls you in, however, the book loses steam as it moves along, and in my opinion, becomes a little too anecdotal for my taste. I always enjoy thinking about how we think, and I wonder if it is possible to present such information in a fresh and exciting way, and Tammet falls prey to this trap. He does put an interesting twist on how us non-savants can try and adapt their ways of thinking, but I would have l ...more
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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 a
...more
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“The human brain is like a memory system that records every thing that happens to us and makes intelligent predictions based on those experiences.” 5 likes
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