Blue day, somewhat cloudy

Tammet, Daniel. (2006). Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind. London, Hodder & Stoughton.

Tammet's Asperger's and autism take the form of "Savant Syndrome," a combination of extraordinary abilities and equally extraordinary disabilities-- he's a whiz with numbers, helpless in personal interaction, can learn a new language in a week but can't converse spontaneously, sees details far more sharply than almost anyone but fails to notice larger patterns -- he may see your nose but not your face. He cares about people, but has no empathy: that is, he does not sense what it is they feel, and thus either does not respond at all or responds in startlingly inappropriate ways, taking in only the literal sense of another person's words. It is surprising and admirable that he could write a readable book, and his descriptions of how he experiences events are valuable clues as to how the brain processes information (apparently his left lobe is somehow damaged so the right does almost all the work). But be warned: a book by a very bright person who has no empathy with an imagined reader nor any notion of the overall pattern of what he is writing can be no more than a string of informative but emotionally flat episodes.

See Daniel Tammet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and

Optimnem: The Official Website of Daniel Tammet; when I'm ready to try again to improve my German, or learn some other new language, I'll try out his system.

Thanks to my friend Jeanne Durban for suggesting this book.