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Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me…
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Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel (vuoden 2014 painos)

– tekijä: Jason Padgett (Tekijä), Maureen Ann Seaberg (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
1132192,791 (3.15)-
"No one sees the world as Jason Padgett does. Water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us. Yet Padgett wasn't born this way. Twelve years ago, he had never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging forever altered the way his brain works, giving him unique gifts. His ability to understand math and physics skyrocketed, and he developed the astonishing ability to draw the complex geometric shapes he saw everywhere. His stunning, mathematically precise artwork illustrates his intuitive understanding of complex mathematics. The first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia, Padgett is a medical marvel. Struck by Genius recounts how he overcame huge setbacks and embraced his new mind. Along the way he fell in love, found joy in numbers, and spent plenty of time having his head examined. Like Born on a Blue Day and My Stroke of Insight, his singular story reveals the wondrous potential of the human brain. "--… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:SamBortle
Teoksen nimi:Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
Kirjailijat:Jason Padgett (Tekijä)
Muut tekijät:Maureen Ann Seaberg (Tekijä)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2014), Edition: American First, 256 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read

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Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel (tekijä: Jason Padgett)

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From extroverted college dropout party man to introverted math savant

Jason Padgett is one of an estimated 1.7 million Americans who annually suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Jason’s head trauma happened twelve years ago outside a karaoke bar where he was brutally and repeatedly punched and kicked in the head. After that, his life changed dramatically. Before the TBI, Jason’s only goal was to live life 24/7 as an adrenaline-seeking, hard-partying extrovert. He describes himself at that time as a math and artistic dunce. He was an I-don’t-care college dropout. He was the type of person who constantly needed something stimulating happening around him because he was incapable of just being quiet and entertaining himself from within his own mind.

After the TBI, Jason’s whole personality and worldview was completely upended. Suddenly, he found an unlimited rich new world of numbers, geometry, and shapes; they endlessly fascinated him. He was completely entertained from within his own mind. He became a hermit-like introvert. He had little interest outside totally focusing on discovering and visualizing all the geometric fractal shapes he saw around him in everyday life. He started to draw these shapes and discovered he had a marvelous new ability to create artwork out of the shapes he saw all around him. He developed a keen new interest in math and, after going back to community college to learn some fundamental mathematical concepts, he started to delve into mathematical theory. He became a “mathematical marvel.”

On the downside—and I learned from this book that there are always major downsides to TBIs—Jason developed an intense case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He also suffered the onslaught of frequent panic attacks. Perhaps most interesting of all, Jason became an extreme empath, i.e., at times he could feel the psychological and physical pain of other people so acutely that it would become seriously harmful to his own body.

I found Jason’s life story and transformation extraordinarily fascinating, but also mightily puzzling and frustrating. The book held my attention throughout, yet I was also a bit disappointed. I wanted “more” and that intangible “more” wasn’t there.

I was never fully convinced that Jason had become the “math marvel” that the book promised. Yes, he’d uncovered an amazing latent ability to understand math at a fairly advanced level, but this could hardly be called a math marvel much less a math genius. Neither did I find Jason’s art to be all that compelling or creative. Yes, it is beautiful--you can look at his work on the Fine Art America Website--but it seems to be the natural by-product of his OCD focus on visualizing fractals rather than anything truly outstanding in its own right. I get the theory behind the pi drawing, but it doesn’t make me ecstatic. I’m sure it provides him with a great deal of inner peace and tranquility to spend thousands of hours producing these highly repetitive designs—designs that a computer could easily be programmed to do on its own—but I couldn’t help but feel sad for all those “lost hours” that might have been more productively used…for example increasing his knowledge of math, or focusing on learning the medical details of OCD and PTSD.

In the book, Jason repeatedly highlighted his prodigious new skill at narrowly focusing on a topic of interest and learning all he could about it from the Internet, yet so far, he has never been drawn to begin a highly-focused, in-depth study of OCD or PTSD…and this despite the fact that both disorders intervene enormously in his ability to live a normal life. For example, should Jason have taken the time to learn all he could, in depth, about the human microbiome, he might be able to break himself of the harmful practice of excessively lathering his entire body in antimicrobial lotions. Perhaps another habit might emerge to replace the one lost, a habit that might be less harmful and life-disabling.

An extrovert is predominantly concerned with obtaining gratification from what is outside the self, while an introvert is predominantly concerned with obtaining gratification from his or her own interior mental life. (I highly recommend reading Susan Cain’s magnificent book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” for more on this topic). This aspect of the book—at least for me—was the number one profound change that took place in Jason. The TBI propelled him from an extreme extrovert to an extreme introvert. I’d have liked to have seen more neurological interest and discussion in this book on that aspect of his transformation.

But I have to remind myself that this book is the intimate private story of Jason’s life, not the life I would have wanted Jason to live. So I have no reason to be disappointed or frustrated.

I have nothing but sincere admiration for Maureen Seaberg’s talent at writing this book. She did a remarkable job of getting inside her subject and channeling him in an authentic first-person narrative.

I recommend this book highly. It is unique and fascinating. However, if you read it, know that it may leave you with more questions than it answers. But isn’t that always the case with life? It is infinitely mystifying.

I wish Jason all the best in his life ahead. I marvel at all he has achieved since his TBI. If he and Maureen were to update this book in another ten years, I suspect that we’d all see an even greater transformation in the years to come. ( )
  msbaba | Feb 25, 2014 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"No one sees the world as Jason Padgett does. Water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us. Yet Padgett wasn't born this way. Twelve years ago, he had never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging forever altered the way his brain works, giving him unique gifts. His ability to understand math and physics skyrocketed, and he developed the astonishing ability to draw the complex geometric shapes he saw everywhere. His stunning, mathematically precise artwork illustrates his intuitive understanding of complex mathematics. The first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia, Padgett is a medical marvel. Struck by Genius recounts how he overcame huge setbacks and embraced his new mind. Along the way he fell in love, found joy in numbers, and spent plenty of time having his head examined. Like Born on a Blue Day and My Stroke of Insight, his singular story reveals the wondrous potential of the human brain. "--

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