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My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journeyby Jill Bolte Taylor
Synopses & Reviews
A brain scientist's journey from a debilitating stroke to full recovery becomes an inspiring exploration of human consciousness and its possibilities.
On the morning of December 10, 1996 Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain. A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. As the damaged left side of her brain — the rational, grounded, detail and time-oriented side — swung in and out of function, Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely.
In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain. It would take eight years for Taylor to heal completely. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and most of all an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world according to the insights gained from her right brain that morning of December 10th.
Today Taylor is convinced that the stroke was the best thing that could have happened to her. It has taught her that the feeling of nirvana is never more than a mere thought away. By "stepping to the right of our left brains", we can all uncover the feelings of well-being and peace that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter. A fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human mind, My Stroke of Insight is both a valuable recovery guide for anyone touched by a brain injury, and an emotionally stirring testimony that deep internal peace truly is accessible to anyone, at any time.
From Our Staff:
Jill Bolte Taylor was a Harvard-trained brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. And though she deteriorated to the point of being unable to walk, talk, read, or write, she eventually made a full recovery and retrained her mind. With My Stroke of Insight, Taylor helps other injured people rebuild their brains after trauma — and helps the rest of us gain a better understanding of the mysteries of our brains.
"Fascinating....Bursts with hope for everyone who is brain-injured (not just stroke patients) and gives medical practitioners clear, no-nonsense information about the shortcomings of conventional treatment and attitudes toward the brain-injured....But to my mind, what makes My Stroke of Insight not just valuable but invaluable — a gift to every spiritual seeker and peace activist — is what I would describe as Taylor's fearless mapping of the physiology of compassion, the physiology of Nirvana. This book is about the wonder of being human." Robert Koehler, Tribune Media Services
"[T]here is comfort in better grasping what has gone wrong, and enlightenment for those around you when they grasp it too. None of us needs sympathy; what we do need is a helping hand and understanding. Someone like Taylor provides that, helping a terrible blow become far less so." Dick Clark, in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2008
"[Dr. Taylor] brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities." The New York Times
"Transformative...[Taylor's] experience...will shatter [your] own perception of the world." ABC News
The astonishing New York Times bestseller that chronicles how a brain scientist's own stroke led to enlightenment.
On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life — all within four hours — Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.
For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by "stepping to the right" of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by "brain chatter." Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah's online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.
Jill Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. Through the eyes of a curious scientist, she watched her mind deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Because of her understanding of the brain, her respect for the cells in her body, and an amazing mother, Jill completely recovered. In My Stroke of Insight, she shares her recommendations for recovery and the insight she gained into the unique functions of the two halves of her brain. When she lost the skills of her left brain, her consciousness shifted away from normal reality where she felt "at one with the universe." Taylor helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel and how we react to life's circumstances.
About the Author
Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, is a neuroanatomist who is affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. She is the national spokesperson for the mentally ill at the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Brain Bank) and the consulting neuroantomist for the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. Since 1993 she has been an active member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her story has been featured on the PBS program Understanding the Amazing Brain, among others. She was interviewed on NPR's Infinite Mind and ABC News. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
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