The first time I watched Jill Bolte Taylor’s presentation at a TED conference, I was stunned. At the age of 37, this Harvard-trained neuroanatomist experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain – she had a massive stroke – and remained conscious through the entire episode. When she realized what was going on, her reaction was: “Wow, I’m having a stroke. This is so cool!” Only a neuroanatomist could have a reaction like this. In her TED presentation, she tells an abbreviated version of the story and it is amazing. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Now I’ve just finished listening to her book, My Stroke of Insight. I’ve listened to it several times, in fact. If you are intrigued by her TED presentation and if you like audiobooks, get it. If you prefer to read, read the book. My Stroke of Insight contains a lot of good science and medical information about the brain and stroke, but in an entirely accessible way. Some critics of the book have complained that the ending is a little sappy. After reading it for yourself you may determine, like me, that this is very “left-brained” of them.
After listening to the book, I searched for more information about Bolte Taylor. I came across this interview she did with Oprah. While I’m not a huge Oprah fan, I did want to watch and listen further to Bolte Taylor talk about her experience. (Just an aside -I had better luck watching this in Internet Explorer than Firefox.)
Right now I’m right smack dab in the middle of part two of the interview. But I had to pause and take a little time to gush here hoping to encourage anyone with even the slight interest or curiosity about the enormous power of the brain to watch, listen, or read about this remarkable experience.
If you’re at all interested in brain stuff, another great book is The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.
Now I’m headed back to the interview . . . .