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Born on a Blue Day

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  21,077 ratings  ·  2,072 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 1st 2006 by Free Press
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  21,077 ratings  ·  2,072 reviews

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Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Modern Hermeneut
Aug 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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 childhood
Alex Givant
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Interesting peek into savant mind (some pages of his school experience remind me The Last Samurai). Would I like to be a savant? Hell no! Would I like to have some of his superpowers (like remembering stuff and learning new languages in week? Hell yes! ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Asperger's Syndrome
If you have read BORN ON A BLUE DAY by Daniel Tammet, chances are you either know someone with Asperger's Syndrome or have seen the author profiled on television. However, I hope that in time, its readership expands: If you fall into neither of these categories, please consider reading this book.

Asperger's is considered to be on the autism spectrum. Its designation as a syndrome reflects the current thinking that it is a cluster of symptoms including difficulty interpreting social cues and diff
Gabrielle Dubois
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 21st-century
A unique and singular vision of a man "different" who let us see inside inside his brain... well a tiny part of his huge brain! ...more
☼♄Jülie 

I read this book in 2008 pre my Goodreads days so didn't write a full review of it, but I agree with the many positive reviews of my friends here.
This is a must read book and one which has stayed with me.
I have since loaned it many times to friends.

I loved this book and I love this extraordinary young man with his determination and grit.

Highly recommend this one ...all the stars 5*s
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  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
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
The process of learning is fascinating and Tammet is one of the few people who actually tries to describe how he thinks and learns. Several Goodreads reviewers comment on his writing style and overly descriptive passages. But that's good! If this had been edited, we wouldn't have the opportunity to see how his mind works.

In one chapter, he describes his experiences with pi, an infinite and important number. In early 2004, he attempted and completed the record-breaking task of memorizing and reci
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of medical literature regarding autism and Asperger's syndrome and these are the most revealing pages about it yet. ...more
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
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
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting read from an autistic person who doesn't register emotions and have social anxiety like the rest of us. A rare glimpse into a mind functioning very differently than your mind.

I found it interesting how he described the inner workings of his visual mind, learned the 22 514 numbers of pi and how he has worked hard to overcome his drawbacks. An incredible journey no doubt.

Surely Daniel is an extraordinary person and good with numbers like an accountant, but unfortunately the writin
Aurélien Thomas
Here's a fascinating insight into a baffling mind! To be autistic is rare enough. To have synaesthesia is rare too. To have savant syndrome is even rarer. Well, Daniel Tammet combines all three! More, unlike most individuals with savant syndrome -who usually are so challenged in other cognitive areas that they are dependent for their care- he is perfectly independent; and so fully able to tell about his experience. 'Born on a Blue Day' truly is an extraordinary book.

Starting by reminiscing upon
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Lydia LaPutka
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-08
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
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Daniel Tammet's book "Born On A Blue Day" holds a very special spot in my heart. As I read this book I think of the little boy I get the privilege of calling my son. Daniel writes extremely similar to the way my son speaks. His experiences make me feel like I am being allowed into a world I normally am not allowed to see. A world hidden and secret. I love the book, and I was extremely happy to see how Daniel grew as a person as the book went on. I perviously was told the book was a hard read bec ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Uen by: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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

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