The dramatic story of one man's recovery offers new hope to those suffering from concussions and other brain traumas.
In 1999, Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear-ended. Overnight his life changed from that of a rising professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day. At times he couldn't walk across a room, or even name his five children. Doctors told him he would never fully recover. After eight years, the cognitive demands of his job, and of being a single parent, finally became more than he could manage. As a result of one final effort to recover, he crossed paths with two brilliant Chicago-area research-clinicians - one a specialized optometrist, the other a cognitive psychologist - working on the leading edge of brain plasticity. He was substantially improved within weeks.
Remarkably, Elliott kept detailed notes throughout his experience, from the moment of impact to the final stages of his recovery, astounding documentation that is the basis of this fascinating audiobook. The Ghost in My Brain gives hope to the millions who suffer from head injuries each year, and provides a unique and informative window into the world's most complex computational device: the human brain.
©2015 Clark Elliott (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
The core of this book is interesting and insightful. The author conveys some aspects of living with brain injury that are rarely talked about and difficult to describe. However, these glimpses are buried in a seemingly endless tedium of repetition, recital of dates and facts, and other mundane details that are truly irrelevant.
My advice: Read/listen to the first half of the book. Then, just be aware that author claims to have been successfully treated using a series of custom prescription glasses. Very little new is revealed in the second half aside from this fact, which almost reads as a footnote to the author's almost daily journal of every minute observation (each one being very similar to dozens of previous observations).
Aside from these criticisms, the book is still important for the way it describes living with brain injury. It is just not a story told in a skillful way, but more as an unedited journal.
I would recommend the first half of the book, as it offers some glimpse into what it is like living with a brain injury. The recommendation would come with the caveat to go ahead and put the book down as soon as it started to become tedious, because it would not recover.
A follow-up is definitely unnecessary. It is difficult to imagine the author left out the slightest detail. A sequel would, possibly, go into slightly more detail about what he had for lunch each day.
I am an eye doctor who loves to read about the brain and brain research. I enjoy a good novel or series from time to time also!
As a Neuro rehab optometrist, I found the story Dr Eliot tells riveting. Must Read!
As a teacher who is always looking for brain information to pass along to my students Iwas looking forward to new knowledge, which I did receive, however there was little I can use. The author is an amazingly brilliant , detailed man who wrote in great detail. I learned, but got bogged down in many descriptions. Overall I am in awe of the methods used in his healing and in his memories. This book should be required reading for any health care workers dealing with brain injury.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It was very relatable to since I have been experiencing many of the symptoms he describes, though on a much lesser scale and without a concussion. His descriptions have given me a way to explain what I've had to deal with to many people who have not been able to understand before.
This is the type of book that I think everyone should read as it sheds light on why someone who might appear healthy is acting different or inexplicably. Maybe it could lead to more kindness and understanding for those who suffer from hidden illnesses.
Fascinating, detailed description of severe PCS. I can relate to many of the symptoms from my own medication induced brain injury (post renal transplant immunosuppression)...and of my own concussion patients.
Dr. Steve Waddell
As someone who experienced a concussion from a head on collision only to receive another from being rear ended ten days later, I was a little surprised to not relate as much to the book as I expected to. It was interesting to hear about the author's experiences and inspiring to hear the subsequent recovery. Ultimately I am disappointed that I did not get as much insight into my own journey to overcome brain damage. The most significant thing I took from this was that brain damage is incredibly unpredictable in how it manifests, but the implications of it are far reaching and can be difficult to overcome without proper help.
I am extremely interested in cognitive neuroscience. Indeed there is some interesting information in here about the strangeness of the human brain. The book details an AI professor's search for help in curing his TBI, acquired in an auto accident in 1999. He attempts to detail as much of his journey as possible in the hopes of helping people understand what it is like to live with TBI.
I agree that more awareness is needed, and I often like when scientists give a first hand account of something they have experienced. The personal narrative was at times very interesting and at times really not for me. There might be many readers who have TBI and will relate better to this author than I did. The whole time I was reading, I was wishing I could be reading an Oliver Sacks book about the subject.
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