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Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  13,350 ratings  ·  1,615 reviews
One of the world's fifty living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story - and explain how his incredible mind works.

This unique first-person account offers a window into the mind of a high-functioning, 27-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger's syndrome. Tammet's ability to think abstractly, deviate from routine, and
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2006)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The problem with autobiography is that extraordinary people are not necessary good writers. Daniel Tammet has an extraordinary mind - he can visualise numbers, recite pi to record-breaking decimal places and learn languages with astounding ease*. This is linked to his Asperger's and also to epilepsy.

Although a novel human story, this does not provide much insight into how Tammet's brain works and why other brains are not like his. I expected his unique cognition would be illuminated through pre
Daniel Tammet first became known to the world for such feats as setting the world record for memorizing the most digits of PI (22,514) and learning to speak Icelandic in a week. Tammet is a high-functioning autistic savant who also has synesthesia, a neurological mixing of the senses that allows him to see numbers in shapes and colors.

Tammet's autobiography provides a fascinating glimpse into the inner world of a man who experiences life very differently from the rest of us. As he discusses gro
Daniel Tammet is a savant who sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and who can perform unbelievable feats of calculation in his head. In 2004 he became something of a celebrity in England when he memorized and recited the first 22,000 digits of pi, setting a new world record.

The cover is a bit misleading with the tagline, "inside the extraordinary mind of an autistic savant". The author is not, in fact, autistic, and never was. He suffered from epilepsy & seizures during early child
Modern Hermeneut
The author of this autobiography is a gay, Christian, epileptic, synesthete with a photographic memory. Unfortunately, he also has Asperger's, so instead of serving up a boldly self-satirizing confessional, he subjects us to a robotic catalogue of chronologically ordered facts about his life, wholly devoid of emotional connection, thematic unity, narrative tension, and moral value. There is virtually nothing here that would interest a non-autistic person.

To give you an idea of what I mean, consi
Jul 27, 2008 Silk rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, teens with autism, parents of same
Recommended to Silk by: the gifted education director at my son's school
Ok, I'm not sure what to do about the star system, but I loved this book so much that it's a five for me. It's non-fiction, and I wouldn't say exactly that it's poetically written, or great literature, but I found it amazing. For one thing, forget the sexy title, the really interesting stuff in here is about this man's struggles, or may I even go so far as to be politically incorrect and say "deficits." How he copes with those differences is much more intriguing than his savant aptitudes.

I real
Jan 14, 2008 Adam rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents or siblings of someone with Aspergers
Recommended to Adam by: Costco
Shelves: non-fiction
I think I was expecting something different when I picked up this book and even after I had seen part of the movie that was made about Daniel Tammet's life. I was hoping for more detail pertaining to how he sees numbers, people, letters, languages, etc. differently from other people. More about synesthesia. Maybe more amazing stories and exercises demonstrating his ability to work out math problems or logic puzzles quicker than a person who is not a savant. Instead, most of the book is a slow sl ...more
Jan 24, 2009 Lindsay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: autistics, people interested in the mind
Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant whose special talents include lightning-fast calculation (including calendrical calculation --- telling on what day of the week any given date will fall), amazing facility with languages (he currently speaks ten, and has even made up his own language) and a near-perfect memory for facts and figures (he's the current European record-holder for reciting pi to the greatest number of digits). He's also a synesthete, which helps him considerably in performing these ...more
Este maravilloso libro me hubiera pasado inadvertido de no ser por una columna de Rosa Montero en El País Semanal en la que hablaba de un chico autista que había logrado la proeza (para un autista lo es) de escribir sus memorias. Existen en el mercado diversos manuales sobre el síndrome del autismo, de Asperger, etc., pero este libro es especialmente recomendable porque cuenta de primera mano cómo se siente y cómo reacciona un autista ante cada nueva situación a la que se enfrenta. Porque para l ...more
I've seen publicity of this book and have wanted to read it. I found a copy at the Orem library and checked it out, just in time to read the whole thing during a flight from SLC to New Orleans. It's a very interesting personal account of a man living in England who has both Savant Syndrome and Asperger's. He has a stunningly brilliant mind for numbers - he visualizes them as shapes and colors - and can perform incredibly complex mathematical tasks in his mind in seconds by merging the shapes. He ...more
How interesting, this book works in a number of ways, and fails in a few others. It's nearly as interesting for its failings as for its successes. It is, as promised, a glimpse into an "extraordinary mind," but it's not just all the things the author says about his experiences (the time he recited the digits of pi for a record setting length, the time he first overcame significant fear to fly on a plane, when he become public speaker counseling others on the minds of savants) there's also the wa ...more
Born on a Blue Day is one of the only books I've read this year that actually taught me something. It provides a rare glimpse into the mind of a person who is both autistic and a savant. The MOST surprising thing, however, is how Daniel was able to overcome autism, write this book, and lead an independent and "normal" life. The memoir follows Daniel's progress from birth to adulthood and the author is very matter-of-fact and analytical when helping people without autism understand his past emot ...more
Having two little brothers that fall on the Autistic Spectrum really made me empathize with Daniel Tammet and the struggles he faces every day just to function. I like that he never glamorized his eventual worldwide fame as one of the few savants that exist and are open enough to tell their stories to all of us so that we may better understand theirs.

Anyone who is familiar with the inflection (or lack thereof) of an Autistic person will instantly feel at ease with Tammet's voice. He tells the s
I liked this book a lot, it is so well written, it is a compliment to the author. What a gifted person, his ability to write and the accomplishments he has made in his life are amazing. His interest and ability with languages encourages one to want to learn other languages and his explanations of language and how it can be learned lead you to believe that you can. This book causes you to examine yourself and ponder the possibility of where you might fall on "the spectrum"! Someone once told me t ...more

Fascinante! Este livro autobiográfico, fácil de ler, não podendo propriamente ser classificado como grande literatura, prendeu-me completamente do início ao fim pela história em si, intrigante e extraordinária. De como um indivíduo com um tipo de sindroma de Asperger (no âmbito do autismo) se supera continuamente, passando de uma infância de isolamento (mas em que o próprio destaca o papel fundamental e o amor dos pais) para uma idade adulta bem sucedida, em que é completamente independente, man
Lydia LaPutka
I learned about this book from the author of Look Me in the Eye which was also written by an individual with Asperger's. Having had a few students on the autism spectrum, I feel like anything I can read that will help me understand these children is worth my time. I have a student this year who has had one big meltdown and one that could have escalated but I quickly intervened and was able to calm him. His parents are having him tested for Asperger's. It fascinates me how brains of young childre ...more
Dec 07, 2008 Uen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Uen by: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl Gatling
When I read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time," I recommended the book to a friend, saying, "It lets you know what it is like in the mind of an autistic kid." My friend, who enjoys playing devil's advocate, asked, "How does the author know? Is he autistic?" Well, no. But in this case, the answer is yes. Daniel Tammet can't tolerate crowds of people, noises, itchy clothes, or any change to his routine. When he gets upset he sticks his fingers in his ears, counts things, or walks ...more
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I was going to. I hate math and at the beginning when he was talking about numbers and how he sees them, I was wondering if I could get through the whole book. I also thought he spent a lot of time talking about his early life and wasn't for sure that I was going to enjoy the book. I am glad I stuck with it though, because it is such an inspiring story about someone who has overcome such odds. Not to mention that even though he has a type of Autism he ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Daniel Tammet doesn't exhibit the greatest literary style in his Born on a Blue Day. It reads as a series of anecdotes strung together; however, that doesn't matter. His book is one of the finest insights into what it feels like to be a high-functioning autistic.

Tammet additionally has synesthesia, which means he "sees" numbers and letters in colors and shapes. Not all autistics have that: My two daughters do not. Nor are all those with synesthesia autistic. But Tammet credits the synesthesia wi
Most of us have some vague idea of what it means to be autistic, or diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. We may even have watched "Rain Man", centred around Dustin Hoffman's character who had Savant Syndrome. Daniel Tammet is a high-functioning Asperger's with that same syndrome. He is also synaesthetic, meaning in his case that letters, words and numbers have their own colours, shapes, sizes and sounds.

What is particularly unusual about this man is that he has learned to handle his "abnormalitie
Imagine getting a glimpse inside the mind of someone living with autism. Tammet takes us into his world in this beautiful and fascinating memoir (for lack of a better descriptor) written in his mid-twenties. Tammet's world is one of numbers, counting, language, and other fascinations. It is also a sometimes lonely place. Finding love changed that.

When something catches Tammet's attention, it seems that everything else ceases to exist. Tammet tells a story of seeing a lady bug on a bush when he i
Interesting - actually more questions have arisen in my mind about autism than when I started the book. Three stars - which means I liked it. Well I quess I liked it, sort of. What it did give me is a real feeling for how the author sees life. He has both Asperger's syndrome and synaesthesia. Look them up in Wikipedia if you don't know the terms. There they are explained better than any explanation I could give! What makes this person unique is his ability to explain to us how his brain is worki ...more
Matt Tomaso
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

Daniel Tammet is a highly successful language educator who is also a high-functioning autistic savant with synesthesia. Subject of the documentary film "Brain Man", Tammet has appeared on television several times. He has learned several languages, is incredibly adept at certain kinds of math and, apparently, has a terrific memory. Tammet's success is foreshadowed by the upbringing in a large, loving and highly supportive fami
Wow! I read this book because I wanted to understand more about autistic spectrum disorders since T (my grandson) was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified. When Born On A Blue Day first came out, I wanted it right away. What better way to learn about autism than by reading a book by a person who has it?

Daniel Tammet has another form of autism, Asperger's Syndrome. Asperger's is considered a higher functioning form of autism because the kids diagnosed with it us
Surprisingly unremarkable and uninspiring. Perhaps the fact that Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant (Asperger syndrome) should have prepared me for this monotonous description of his life, which lacks anything a "normal" person would appreciate: sparkling anecdotes, humor, good writing and most importantly - and my reason for picking up Born on a Blue Day in the first place - ; a peek into his interesting brain. I expected so much more from "the most remarkable and extraordinary mind on the pla ...more
This was an excellent book written by a man who is an autistic savant. I was very touched by his graciousness and humility. He recounts his childhood, a very difficult and painful time, and yet there is no bitterness. His trials growing up 'different' did not keep him from remaining grateful for his extraordinary gifts, and for the people around him who helped him along the way. I recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who are on the spectrum, as they say, and their family/friends.
Feisty Harriet
Daniel Tammet is a pretty high functioning man with autism who also happens to have some remarkable mental abilities with numbers and memory and languages and math. (He picked up enough Icelandic in a week to be able to do a live interview on TV completely in Icelandic, for example.) I was so baffled by his brain's ability to compute and remember, and also awed at the seemingly simple processes he just didn't understand. Brains, man, they are WONDERFUL AND AWESOME things.

While I appreciated and
Steph Patt
Fascinating read! Full review to come!
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of and Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet is an extraordinary, indeed, unprecedented memoir. Because savant syndrome and autism, even in it’s mildest form, affect emotional experience, social interaction, and imagination, the public communication of individuals like Tammet is usually limited to displaying feats of calculation and memorization. Tammet’s life story highlights his acquisition of social skills and how the acceptance of family and frien ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet 1 15 Jan 29, 2015 05:38PM  
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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 about Daniel Tammet...
Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant

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“Why learn a number like pi to so many decimal places? The answer I gave then as I do now is that pi is for me an extremely beautiful and utterly unique thing. Like the Mona Lisa or a Mozart symphony, pi is its own reason for loving it.” 14 likes
“No relationship is without its difficulties and this is certainly true when one or both of the persons involved has an autistic spectrum disorder. Even so, I believe what is truly essential to the success of any relationship is not so much compatibility, but love. When you love someone, virtually anything is possible.” 13 likes
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