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Extended Audio Sample Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind, by Daniel Tammet Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (341 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel Tammet Narrator: Daniel Gerroll Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9780743572453
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Owner of “the most remarkable mind on the planet” (Entertainment Weekly), Daniel Tammet captivated readers and won worldwide critical acclaim with the 2007 New York Times bestselling memoir Born On A Blue Day and its vivid depiction of a life with autistic savant syndrome. In his fascinating new book, he writes with characteristic clarity and personal awareness as he sheds light on the mysteries of savants’ incredible mental abilities—and our own.

Tammet explains that the differences between savant and nonsavant minds have been exaggerated; his astonishing capacities in memory, math, and language are neither due to a cerebral supercomputer nor any genetic quirk but are rather the results of a highly rich and complex associative form of thinking and imagination. Autistic thought, he argues, is an extreme variation of a kind that we all do, from daydreaming to the use of puns and metaphors.

Embracing the Wide Sky combines meticulous scientific research with Tammet’s detailed descriptions of how his mind works to demonstrate the immense potential within us all. He explains how our natural intuitions can help us to learn a foreign language, why his memories are like symphonies, and what numbers and giraffes have in common. We also discover why there is more to intelligence than IQ, how optical illusions fool our brains, and why too much information can make you dumb.

Many readers will be particularly intrigued by Tammet’s original ideas concerning the genesis of genius and exceptional creativity. He illustrates his arguments with examples as diverse as the private languages of twins, the compositions of poets with autism, and the breakthroughs, and breakdowns, of some of history’s greatest minds.

Embracing the Wide Sky is a unique and brilliantly imaginative portrait of how we think, learn, remember, and create, brimming with personal insights and anecdotes and explanations of the most up-to-date, mind-bending discoveries from fields ranging from neuroscience to psychology and linguistics. This is a profound and provocative book that will transform our understanding and respect for every kind of mind.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marion | 2/19/2014

    " I learned so much from Tammet's book about the differences between savant and non-savant minds. I also was able to gain understanding about the unique ways that I process information Tammet looks at how our minds work and how they process information, from optical illusions to processing mathematics. He explains difficult concepts succinctly and clearly. Great read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 2/17/2014

    " I was really disappointed by this book, which surprised me given how much I enjoyed "Born on a Blue Day" and the fact that the subject matter is all about how our brains work (which is my pet obsession). I think that may have been part of it - most of this information was not new to me and it was generally broad-ranging rather than deep. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan | 2/15/2014

    " This book is about the brain and many of its aspects, e.g. how it might work. The book also deals with "savants" and is written by one. Having seen documentaries on the phenomenon the book did not offer much new for me. As someone with a computer science education one thing that I noticed was a bit of a bias "against" CS. Even savants don't know how their brain works and I find it slightly presumptuous to reject the idea that AI is impossible and CS cannot produce "intelligent machines". I particularly take issue with describing computer sciences' language as "impoverished" and limiting it to storage, input, output and retrieval (quote in the book by Gerald Edelman). You don't have to belief in the "new age messengers" of AI like Mr. Kurzweil, but I had wished for more respect for an important scientific discipline. Final note: I found several typos in the book - you would think that especially in a book such as this the text would be flawless... But then again, we're all humans and no machines (yet)... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mscout | 1/27/2014

    " Really fascinating look at how our brains work. I need to go back and read his first one, Born on a Blue Day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thom | 1/24/2014

    " I was so entranced and distracted by the reader's English accent, that sometimes I missed what was actually being said. I would repeat some of the pronunciations back out loud in the car. This is a very rational author who performs some mild myth-busting and gives some updates on the latest brain research. I'd now like to read his earlier book, Born on a Blue Day. It's fascinating listening to someone with a different perception. Mr. Tammet has a particular sensitivity to numbers. The main point that I understood is that popular notions of the human brain being akin to sophisticated computers is very far off the mark. The brain is much more fascinating and dynamic in the mysteries of its processing, part of which is to make creative associations between superficially un-related things. I do think I'll have to listen to this again, and get more out of it. The Asperger author says he sees the scratch on the fender before he sees the car. I heard the accent of the reader before I heard what he was saying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Foster | 1/11/2014

    " A great sequel to Born on A Blue Day. Forces you to look at the brain, and the world, differently. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dasn0wie | 1/7/2014

    " The author is a savant who has the record for the remembering the most numbers of pi. He talks about how he "sees" numbers and languages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kinga | 12/16/2013

    " It summarized well the current understanding of the human brain. Its subject overlapped with other books I have read before - so occasionally I found it a bit tedious. But if he were to write a new book I would want to read that as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 9/7/2013

    " Reads like an encyclopedia of nuero-phenomena currently being buoyed on the waves of current tides. Flat, not so great, but informational so that in list form it would be summary of those ideas coming to shore in the last few years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin | 3/7/2013

    " Everyone should read this book. Tammet is an autistic savant who is best known for reciting pi to 22,514 decimals. His book is part autobiographical and is mostly about cognition, perception, language, and memory. It's fascinating. (He is also a synesthetic, which is really interesting.) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 LeAnne | 12/27/2012

    " Disappointing and boring book by the author of Born on a Blue Day. Don't bother. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail Hatcher | 5/15/2012

    " An excellent look at cognitive concepts from someone who had paid more attention than the rest of us. It looks like my sister is right, i AM the autistic one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 3/22/2012

    " Fascinating in places, but dry in others. I think I'd REALLY enjoy the first book written by this famous autistic savant, however. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 M | 12/31/2011

    " Enjoyable book looking at human abilities. Daniel Tammet is Asperger's, and looks at his own talents as well as those demonstrated by others. Our mind/memory do not resemble those of a computer, we can do more than we realise and can learn to learn in a more effective way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff Grabowski | 12/25/2011

    " i got about half way through and was totally not into it. i was hoping for more insights into his mind. but rather he spent a lot of time talking about brain defects, accidents, reasons for memory loss, etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 12/13/2011

    " Fascinating look at how the human brain works, using insights from the author's autistic savant experience and modern science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 10/10/2011

    " Not what I expected...probably would give it a 2-star, but it is good at explaining the basics of how the brain works...kinda like if you were taking a high school psychology class. Good basics "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 9/27/2011

    " written by Daniel Tammet, the savant who also wrote Born on a Blue Day, this is an insight into the mind and how it works - hopeful for the aged as those neural pathways do keep connecting! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donncha | 6/12/2011

    " Starts off quite interesting, but meanders a bit towards the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 11/29/2010

    " Fascinating look at how the human brain works, using insights from the author's autistic savant experience and modern science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vincent | 4/19/2010

    " A nice look at Daniel Tammet's life and approach to knowledge and learning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 4/11/2010

    " A great sequel to Born on A Blue Day. Forces you to look at the brain, and the world, differently. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Austin | 2/24/2010

    " So bad. So pointless. So self-indulgent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crandash | 1/29/2010

    " non fiction. helps to understand how the mind works. he is austictic savant, very intelligent. "

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