David Hammond's Reviews > Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
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Oct 29, 11

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Read from October 21 to 27, 2011

When I finished reading this, I immediately wanted to watch the documentary Brainman, which is about Daniel Tammet, and found it online easily. I also found his David Letterman interview (both of these are discussed in the book). It's really interesting to compare his public appearances with his own descriptions of what it's like to be him. I didn't really expect him to appear as at ease in front of the camera and as engaging as he was.

The truth is that I found the writing in the book to be rather flat, for the most part. For example, he often says blandly that he was happy to see someone or happy to do something, and one wonders if he was really happy or only believed that he should have been happy at the time. It is impossible to say, because he has obviously worked hard to fit in and so it can be hard to distinguish the dividing line between his true self and his invented self. Still the book is an interesting read.

And Tammet is a fascinating person. After watching the documentary I did some more searching and learned that his name was originally Danial Corney. It is strange that this is not mentioned in the book. Why did he change it? The recent book "Moonwalking with Einstein" speculates that he was a highly ranked competitor in the World Memory Championship and changed his name as part of his effort to sell himself to the world as a savant. Strange stuff. It hardly makes his feats less impressive, but still, why did he change his name?

--EDIT--

Continued to be curious about why he changed his name, and found this:
http://incorrectpleasures.blogspot.co...
A well researched and referenced summary. Apparently he changed his name in 2001 because he just thought "Tammet" fit him better. I still find it incredible that he makes no mention of the name change or of his involvement in the World Memory Championship in his book. He uses his original surname for the WMC still (looks like his current rank is 85: http://www.worldmemorychampionship.co...), and it is as if he is intent on separating his "Savant Daniel Tammet" persona from his "Memory Champ Daniel Corney" persona. Why? Makes you wonder.
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