Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel (Hardcover)

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Description


The remarkable story of an ordinary man who was transformed when a traumatic injury left him with an extraordinary gift

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.

www.struckbygenius.com

About the Author


JASON PADGETT is an aspiring number theorist and mathematician with acquired savant syndrome and synesthesia. His art, drawings of the grids and fractals he sees synesthetically, won Best International Newcomer at the Artoconecto A-B(o)MB show at the Bakehouse Art Complex in 2008. Struck by Genius is his first book. 



MAUREEN SEABERGis an author with several forms of synesthesia and is an expert synesthesia blogger for PsychologyToday. She has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, and ESPN: The Magazine. She has appeared on MSNBC, PBS, and The Lisa Oz Show on Oprah Radio.

Praise For…


"[Struck by Genius] travels seamlessly between the personal and the scientific in an engaging, finely rendered tale of a modern-day Phineas Gage—only instead of losing his sense of self, Padgett has gained a vision of the world that is as beautiful as it is challenging."
New York Times Book Review

"Deeply absorbing . . . It's that contagious enthusiasm, bursting off the page, that makes this tale of a man trying to understand himself so fascinating. A-"
Entertainment Weekly

"How extraordinary it is to contemplate the bizarre gifts that might lie within all of us."
People Magazine, 3 1/2 out of 4 stars


"A remarkable and wonderfully personal medical tale. It reminds us in equal measure about our possible capacities and our impoverished understanding about how to tap into them."
David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

"Jason Padgett’s story is an extraordinary example of the human capacity for adaptation and the immense importance of exploring the individual strengths hidden inside every person’s brain."
Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures

"Like Dorothy in Oz, Jason sees the man behind the curtain. Except in his case, the wizard is not a trickster but the normal operations of the brain that, in the rest of us, take place outside of consciousness. Struck by Genius is a journey of self-teaching—about what had happened to his brain, why he became a different person overnight, and what the meaning of it was."
Richard E. Cytowic, neurologist and coauthor of Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia

"Acquired savant syndrome is an incredible phenomenon which points toward dormant potential—a little Rain Man perhaps—within us all. Jason Padgett's experience affirms that medical marvel in a demonstrable and irrefutable way. His compelling story calls for even more urgent inquiry into that remarkable, optimistic manifestation which holds great promise for better understanding both the brain and human potential."
Darold A. Treffert, M.D., author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant

"Modern neuroscience, in spite of its tremendous progress, tends to ignore folk wisdom about the brain's remarkable potential for change and growth. Struck by Genius restores the balance and marshals evidence that there are astonishing abilities in all of us, presently unfathomable, waiting to be unleashed."
V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist and author of The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human

"A remarkable, heartwarming and unforgettable first-person account of one man's struggle to comprehend his sudden genius in the wake of a traumatic assault. This truly amazing incident opens up a whole new dimension for science to explore."
Berit Brogaard, Professor of Philosophy and Neurodynamics, University of Missouri, St. Louis

"A tale worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! . . . This memoir sends a hopeful message to families touched by brain injury, autism, or neurological damage from strokes."
Booklist
 

"Padgett’s heartfelt story of learning to cope with his new faculties, the onset of OCD that accompanied them, the intensive clinical testing and research that continue today, and how his experience changed his life, will appeal to fans of the films Rain Man  and A Beautiful Mind, as well as the works of Oliver Sacks."
Library Journal


"Beautiful, inspiring and intimate . . . An exquisite insider’s look into the mysteries of consciousness."
Kirkus Reviews, *starred* review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780544045606
ISBN-10: 0544045602
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 22nd, 2014
Pages: 256
Language: English