books pdf My Stroke of InsightAuthor Jill Bolte Taylor –

Jill Taylor Was A 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

10 thoughts on “My Stroke of Insight

  1. says:

    Jill Bolte Tayor was a 37 year old neuroanatomist when she experienced a massive stroke that severely damaged the left hemisphere of her brain My Stroke of Insight is her account of what happened that day, her subsequent 8 year recovery, and how these events changed her life for the better.The most interesting part of the book for me was Bolte Taylor s discussion of what happened to her on that morning in 1996 With her scientific background, Bolte Taylor was in a unique position to observe the progressive breakdown of her own functioning as the blood from her burst AVM spread throughout her brain As new areas were affected, different functions were lost, and reading about her experience is a strange kind of real world brain anatomy lesson.A significant portion of this book is devoted to the process of Bolte Taylor s recovery She realized early on that the attitude and pacing of her caregivers made a big difference in how willing and able she was to respond, and she speaks in detail about what she, personally, found was most effective in helping her heal There is some useful information in this section for those involved in stroke victim care.What has catapulted this book onto the bestseller list, however, is the spiritual message underlying Bolte Taylor s experience When the language processing areas of her brain shut down, Bolte Taylor found herself bathed in a kind of peace and bliss that was previously unknown to her With the section of her brain that controls physical boundaries offline, she felt fluid, open, and one with everything around her.Bolte Taylor considers these experiences to be the result of her right brain suddenly being given the chance to run the show while her left brain was incapacitated She speaks quite a bit about how she made a conscious decision during her recovery to retain access to these states and to keep these pathways open as she brought her left brain back online In the latter section of the book, she offers a list of techniques she feels anyone can use to help open up pathways to the expanded capacities of their own right brains.I learned a number of interesting things while reading this book, and there is no question that Bolte Taylor s story is a very inspiring one Ultimately, however, I was disappointed by a number of things about this book To start, it would have benefited from better editing Some sections are highly repetitive, I was confused about certain aspects of her level of functioning and recovery, and the flow of the narrative was very uneven Hers is a great story, and good editing would have made that even obvious.My main criticism of this book, however there is a very sloppy blending of hard, scientific information about the brain with Bolte Taylor s anecdotal experience and personal theories about what happened to her It was not always obvious which was which, and I suspect many readers will be confused and assume her personal theories are scientifically grounded than they actually are Though Bolte Taylor does not specifically mention religion in the book, her numerous allusions to prayer, visualization, energy, and oneness make it clear that she subscribes to a certain kind of belief system that her experiences are filtered through While this is to be expected, her inability to see the contradictions in her beliefs was frustrating to me For example, she speaks about how, after the stroke, she floated in a place of bliss, at one with everything Yet just a few paragraphs earlier, she refers to a harried, inexperienced medical student as an energy vampire She does not address why her feelings of being at one with and connected to everything did not extend to this person In addition, she is critical of how the judgmental function of the left brain keeps us shut down from the expanded perspective of the right brain, yet doesn t seem to notice her own preference for right brain dominated experiences seems, well, kind of judgmental.I ve had personal experiences of peace and bliss that are similar to what Bolte Taylor describes, so I can certainly understand her preference for them I also think she gives some good advice to help people find those states themselves without having to have a stroke to get there But I think this book would have been much valuable had Bolte Taylor used her scientifically trained left brain to clearly separate her anecdotal experience and beliefs what science actually tells us about our fascinating brains.

  2. says:

    I closed this book today with such a sense of relief This is, in essence, a self help book marked by the author s inflated with due reason, I know sense of self and a few interesting tidbits about brain chemistry.Let s get a few things straight 1 I love reading about the brain.2 I was really, really wanting to love this book.3 I, like the author, believe that in most cases happiness and peacefulness can be choices for every person and that our brain can become wired to react positively to the world.What I didn t like was the author s tone attitude, her need to italicize the word one whenever she used it as in, I was _one_ with the universe, a sentiment repeated seventy six times each chapter , and the way she skimmed over information about the brain as if she were approaching third graders Maybe I ll have to stay about this book once I have a book club meeting about it in a couple of weeks Or else I ll just put it out of my head forever and sell my copy online.Here s what I wrote a few days ago I m halfway through and the woman is driving me batty Batty, I sayI hope to change my mind, especially since I brought this up as a book club suggestion and now at least five other people are reading it because of me

  3. says:

    The author, an accomplished neuroanatomist, suffers a massive CVA at the age of 37 She takes the reader through the events of her stroke and the recovery 8 long years of recovery She gives basic brain science for understanding, and speaks from the heart The grouch in me wanted to poo poo the whole book when she started in with how she uses angel cards to start her day I ignored the alarm in my head, screaming, New age kook Abort Abort But it was too late I was suckered in And really, if those cards help her start her day with a clear intention, and bring her comfort and peace, power to her Maybe of us need to do that.Or not.Anyway, this book gets 5 stars alone for Appendix B in the back The list of forty things I needed the most should be printed out and handed to family and friends of stroke brain injury patients Heck, maybe it should be mandatory reading material for all medical professionals as well you know, respect that the patient is wounded, not dumb Don t treat them as if they are deaf unless they are Protect them, but don t stand in the way of progress My favorite on the list is 23 Trust that my brain can always continue to learn.Because they can.And do.Jill Bolte Taylor is living proof.18 min video of Jill speaking Thanks, D2

  4. says:

    I read this years ago still own it I thought the insights were amazing and a fascinating story Emotional too.This was a woman s life.Interesting how books pop into our space when we are meeting new friends on Goodreads.Brings back memories of books we read A treasure in itself make a new friend re visit books we have read.nice deal

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  6. says:

    I wanted to like this book than I actually did I wanted this book to be several other books than the one it actually was I found it alternately fascinating and incredibly irritating Taylor is a brain scientist who had a stroke and recovered enough to write about it The chance to learn about what that experience was like seemed compelling enough to me to start reading the book When her left brain went offline due to the stroke, she experienced only living in her right brain what she describes as a blissful nirvana She s spent years getting her left brain back, and as a result has a unique perspective on the relationship of the two halves.I stuck with the book because I m sympathetic to at much of what she was saying that if you can turn down the volume on the ego s chatter to attain a sense of calm, your life is better off It s just that most of us approach that goal through meditation, yoga, spiritual practice, or philosophy Her writing resolutely avoids any such discussion So it was kind of like reading a book about God written by an autistic person it seemed incredibly flat, devoid of emotion, even when she was talking about feelings I suspect that this book is the result of divided intentions about its goals and audience perhaps between the author and her editor, or between the author s two brain halves, I don t know It s one part pop science, 1 part survival memoir, 1 part oddly cold narcissism, and 1 part new age metaphysics The audiences for these things are really different, and to successfully blend them would take a much compelling writing style than Taylor s It s unfortunate that a book that should be the demonstration of her recovery kept making me wonder whether she was expressing herself so badly because of her brain injury.There are grains of interesting stuff in here, and it s a quick read It s definitely been on my mind for the past few days, despite my irritation with it I ve heard from friends that audio interviews with Taylor are very warm and charming, which is the exact opposite of my impression from reading the book Maybe that would be a better place to start if you re curious.

  7. says:

    whoa i probably should have paid attention to the little tagline under her name that proudly proclaims the singin scientist and put it down immediately but that wasn t how it worked.see, the author is a brain scientist who had a stroke i heard her speak on NPR and she was insightful and funny and had very interesting things to say about the brain, so i put the book on hold at the library and a eagerly picked it up a few days ago i loved the section of the book that gave us an intro course on the science of the brain it was well written and engaging AND it totally fooled me into thinking that the rest of the book would be of the same.not so i felt invested after reading the first 30 or so pages of brain science and then her minute by minute description of what was happening when she suffered a stroke, which is the only somewhat logical reason that i didn t actually throw this book across the room it was her sappy, polyanna, and ridiculously one dimensional tale of recovery that made me actually hate this book her insanely upbeat self narrative was too much for me in the words of another reviewer on this site The information in this book could have been stopped at phamplet size Instead we have to read chapter after chapter of 4th grade happy talk yep only now YOU know, so you don t have to.

  8. says:

    I m a neurologist, so I approached this book from a different angle than most readers, I imagine.In short, it was not what I expected Although she was a neuroanatomist prior to the stroke, the book is not science y at all That is both good and bad.The good A first hand account of being afflicted by a brain bleed with aphasia, or inability to produce language, and other losses of function is priceless In medicine, we have a great deal to learn from knowing what our patients are going through She describes her route fantastically well, including her frustrations with the medical field Her insights into how she feels, and what functions she lost and gained from her stroke are excellent.The bad Unfortunately, intertwined with her narrative is an explanation of how the brain works that is suspect, to be sure She compartmentalizes right brain, left brain in a way that isn t accurate She teaches a this is what I felt, so this is what must be true kind of doctrine, which is the kind of thing that can be incredibly misleading She gets very metaphysical, and to me it seems like she takes her internal sensations as facts Granted, she attests to not being particularly scientific any after her stroke, and this shines through.All in all, I d like to hear accounts of other left brain stroke survivors, to see if they had similar experiences to her I am curious whether all would have similarly nirvana like, extrasensory perseptory, left brain is evil ideas and experiences.

  9. says:

    This book wasn t what I was expecting I expected to read a memoir of sorts Maybe a before and after or even a during the process what was happening And JBT does write lightly about those things But mainly she is writing a self help book that seeks to influence the rest of us to embrace the right side of our brains As a brain scientist, she has a stroke then discovers she is one with the universe Her brain and her cells are beautiful Oh how lovely the world and everyone in it The information in this book could have been stopped at phamplet size Instead we have to read chapter after chapter of 4th grade happy talk I can imagine most people aren t as masochistic as I and will quit mid book on this one .

  10. says:

    Oh, gag Yes, really I m glad the author used her stroke to find nirvana, but honestly, stroke just ain t this pretty.The first half of this book, or less, was a page turner and I was fascinated Dr Taylor was a successful 37 year old neuroanatomist who suffered a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of a congenital condition called arteriovenous malformation AVM Partly because of her training and knowledge and partly, I suspect, because of the way the stroke s effects developed and progressed, she was able to observe herself and analyze the process as it was happening and somehow remembered or recovered this information later which seems to me the amazing part perhaps a little too amazing She was functioning enough barely to be able to call for help when she realized she was having a stroke I would guess this is highly atypical The book is about the events of that day, as well as Dr Taylor s slow recovery with her damaged brain I particularly liked the earlier chapters and Taylor s recounting of what she experienced when the stroke occurred she was alone in her apartment and the immediate aftermath, the progressive loss of function There s also a great deal of valuable information about recognizing signs of a stroke, as well as how to treat people who have sustained a stroke Patience, patience, patience And don t holler They re not deaf The book also teaches us about the brain s plasticity and resilience.I felt the book got a bit redundant after a while, but it s hard to fault the author for wanting to underscore her points She s not just a memoirist She s a teacher and advocate for people with mental impairment But after the first few chapters, Taylor wanders off into the la la land of pseudoscience, pop psych mythology, personal opinion, and belief Another Goodreads reviewer Lena has said T here is a very sloppy blending of hard, scientific information about the brain with Bolte Taylor s anecdotal experience and personal theories about what happened to her It was not always obvious which was which, and I suspect many readers will be confused and assume her personal theories are scientifically grounded than they actually are I concur and find this irresponsible and troubling Unfortunately, this led me to have and doubts about the veracity of the story she recounted in the early chapters How much is accurate, how much a plausible reconstruction And really, how plausible is it Her pop psych perspective isn t informed by science Her views on right brain left brain function are vastly oversimplified and just not consistent with contemporary cognitive neuroscience I expected from a PhD neuroanatomist But perhaps she hasn t kept up with the field since her 1996 stroke Of course, some specific functions are lateralized Most notably, the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa Linear thinking, logic, language, and math skills are primarily grounded in the left hemisphere Broca s area language production and Wernicke s area language comprehension are in the left hemisphere But many language processes take place in the right hemisphere, along with visual, spatial, and auditory functions Many other cognitive functions are bilateral However, the notion that a person is right brained or left brained or that one s personality is right brain or left brain dominant is largely a pop psych myth that derives from research in the 1960s on split brain patients people whose corpus collosum connecting the two sides of the brain had been severed The conclusions of this research were later found to be premature The two sides of the brain are far interdependent than once thought There s a lot of good science and high tech brain imaging to support this All complex cognitive function and information processing require complex interactions of various regions of the brain in both hemispheres This has been well known for over a decade now.The only left brained or right brained people are those who ve had one of their brain hemispheres removed By the last few chapters, I felt as though Taylor were just making stuff up It s a lot of New Age blathering a mishmash of personal opinion and belief based on memory and subjective experience, which we well know to be poor indices of objective reality Most, or certainly many, people who have strokes end up with physical and mental disabilities that are not so easily overcome And I m not saying Taylor had an easy time of it, but she does romanticize the whole process which culminates in her ability to be one with the universe If she tells us once, she tells us a hundred times.Where did I throw the book across the room Maybe when she started talking about how she uses angel cards every day Or no, maybe here I unconditionally love my cells with an open heart and grateful mind Spontaneously throughout the day, I acknowledge their existence and enthusiastically cheer them on I am a wonderful living being capable of beaming my energy into the world, only because of them When my bowels move, I cheer my cells for cleaning that waste out of my body When my urine flows, I admire the volume my bladder cells are capable of storing No Oliver Sacks.Quick, quick I need an antidote ___________________________________ The modern understanding of brain hemisphere function is not exactly new In 1999, John McCrone wrote in New Scientist Many a myth has grown up around the brain s asymmetry The left cerebral hemisphere is supposed to be the coldly logical, verbal and dominant half of the brain, while the right developed a reputation as the imaginative side, emotional, spatially aware but suppressed Two personalities in one head, Yin and Yang, hero and villain To most neuroscientists, of course, these notions are seen as simplistic at best and nonsense at worst Not really I d have thrown it had it not been a library book.