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Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir | [Daniel Tammet]

Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir

One of the world's 50 living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story and explain how his incredible mind works. Worldwide, there are fewer than 50 living savants, those autistic individuals who can perform miraculous mental calculations or artistic feats. (Think Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.) None of them has been able to discuss his or her thought processes, much less write a book. Until now.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the world's 50 living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story and explain how his incredible mind works.

Worldwide, there are fewer than 50 living savants, those autistic individuals who can perform miraculous mental calculations or artistic feats. (Think Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.) Until now, none of them has been able to discuss his or her thought processes, much less write a book. Daniel Tammet is the first.

Tammet's problems were apparent from childhood. He was shunned by his classmates and often resorted to rocking and humming quietly. Yet he could memorize almost anything, and his math and language skills were astonishing. By high school, Daniel was diagnosed as autistic, and he began to discover his own superhuman abilities: calculating huge sums in his head in seconds, learning new languages in one week, and memorizing more than 22,000 digits of pi.

With heart-melting simplicity and astonishing self-awareness, Born on a Blue Day tells Daniel's story: from his childhood frustrations to adult triumphs, while explaining how his mind works. He thinks in pictures. He sees numbers as complex shapes: 37 is lumpy like porridge; 89 reminds him of falling snow. Today, Daniel has emerged as one of the world's most fascinating minds and inspiring stories. His brain has amazed scientists for years, and everyone will be moved by his remarkable life story.

©2007 Daniel Tammet; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[Tanmet's] ability to express himself clearly and with a surprisingly engaging tone (given his symptoms) makes for an account that will intrigue." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (546 )
5 star
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4.0 (174 )
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4.1 (171 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Gordian 04-02-07
    Gordian 04-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative but self indulgent"

    This is a highly informative look into a world that few have access and fewer can truly tell about - the mind of a savant.
    It is quite insightful and informative to see how his mind works
    Unsurprisingly the story dips toward self indulgent tangents on a periodic basis but overall is a worthy book

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elijah Mathew smith 07-02-07 Member Since 2015
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    "Enough Already!!"

    OH my God!!! I only give this a 2 star rating just to give Daniel credit for this endeavor, but it was very dry. The only parts that were interesting were the parts about his childhood. At about the 3 hour mark I was ready to put it away, when I noticed on cable a documentary about him, and I thought, how ironic that I am listening to his book when his story came on TV. I enjoyed the television event, and that would have been enough for me. He does describe much of the events from the program in this book, but he drones on and on. I did enjoy his personality and demeanor on television and really wish he had narrated his own book. Perhaps it would have been more enjoyable. The narrator spoke with such a high British accent, that it just didn't sound like a 28 year old man. This all added to the boredom. Although I understand the attention to detail for persons with autistic disorders, there was just too much in this book. If anyone wants a great read about someone with Asperger's try reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I just listened to it yesterday, and laughed the whole way through. Maybe that was the cause of my disappointed with this book.

    11 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle 07-24-15
    Danielle 07-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Hard to connect at first but very heart warming and inspiring"

    Very inspiring story, fascinating events
    The monotonous tone was hard to get used to and obsession for numbers, but soon I found it very endearing and understood much further the difficulties of autism, and was even more in awe at Daniel's personal achievements and willingness to take on such large risks early in his life. The willingness to go out and make something of himself is in no way to be taken lightly. Well done!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    History Buff Maryland 09-04-13
    History Buff Maryland 09-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Grace

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    "It's like some people don't dream in color!"

    I get it. The idea that words and numbers can have shape, color, feelings...I totally get it. When I was young, I didn't like certain numbers. 7, 8, and 9, specifically. But enough about me....

    I have a great-nephew who scores on the high end of the autistic spectrom. Although, as I expect all who fall into the autistic spectrum disorder category will say, his experience does not echo Daniel Tammet's, it was helpful to me to gain some understanding of what bright lights, sudden noises, and crowds can feel like. It was reassuring to know that Daniel grew up and learned to deal with the world, that he found a life-partner to share with, that he made it to David Letterman!

    And I have yet to listen to a book narrated by Simon Vance that I haven't enjoyed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie California 09-25-12
    Connie California 09-25-12

    Connie

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    "Fascinating in part"
    What did you like best about Born on a Blue Day? What did you like least?

    I found the descriptions of Tammet's experience of autism to be very interesting. I was very moved by his courage in moving far from home and making bis own way- and also admired his parents for supporting him!


    Any additional comments?

    I was glad to have read the book, but found the latter half of the book less captivating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reney 07-28-12
    Reney 07-28-12 Member Since 2010

    I like to listen to adventure stories and funny stories. I have a real preference for travel tales and sometimes even enjoy a good mystery. I love fiction, but also like to learn facts. I like all kinds of stories. Follow me, if you do too!

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    "A Wonderful Surprise"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Born on a Blue Day to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, so I have no idea. But I do feel the narration was wonderful and, I'm sure, added to the interest of the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Born on a Blue Day?

    When he recited pi - I could feel the tension and emotion. Also, it was his defining moment to the world - he was able to say, "look at me, I may be odd, but I have an extraordinary gift - SEE ME!"


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    the emotion he brought to a story about a man who has difficulty with emotion. His voice was like a bridge that crossed that sea of understanding.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, when he met the man who would become his life companion. There is someone out there for everyone - keep an open mind and heart!


    Any additional comments?

    I took a chance on this book because I wasn't sure I would really like it. So glad I did! I hope this review will encourage others to do the same. It's a powerful story that I won't soon forget!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ira Indianapolis, IN, United States 04-21-12
    Ira Indianapolis, IN, United States 04-21-12 Member Since 2012

    I will soon be eighty one years young. I have had a very interesting life learning from it as well as enjoying it. I just published a book.

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    "Thank you Daniel for you taught me much!"
    What did you love best about Born on a Blue Day?

    I had thought that I would learn more about savants, which is a subject I have found of great interest. This book was much more than that to me. Let me state here that I am not autistic, or am I a savant, yet I found so much in Daniel that is me.The book has taught me much about myself.I unlike other reviewers find Daniel not to be at all self-indulgent instead being honest, very honest! This I am afraid is a virtue which is not as common today as it could, and should be.Those who read this book and who did not find the value of this within it I believe missed the purpose and meaning of it's writing. A wonderful story interesting and with great purpose.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Mark Bosma 04-16-12
    Mark Bosma 04-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting story"
    Any additional comments?

    I had never read the print version, but the Audible edition was an interesting story that helps make a person think about the way their mind works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. 04-07-12
    C. 04-07-12
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    "Not what it promises to be"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    An actual good book about what goes on the head of a savant.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He didn't. He is as boring as the book.


    Any additional comments?

    This book presents absolutely no insight about the mind of a savant. It is a story about a shy, nerd, gay guy, like most shy, nerd, gay guys I know. There is nothing special or exciting about this character. You will meet dozens like him in any CS, physics or math departments of any university in the world.

    The book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 06-22-10
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 06-22-10 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "A Very Interesting Read..."

    just short of the Temple Grandin books, which are much more involved and penetrating. There are times in the book when the experiences he describes are incredibly mundane, and in a book so short, one expects more of the dynamic and unusual aspects of Tammet's life. Still, a four out of five.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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