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Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind : Reviewed

Author:Daniel Tammet
Reading Level (Conceptual):Sophisticated readers
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Sophisticated readers
Genre:Non-fiction: Science
Year of publication:2009

Daniel Tammet is autistic, intellectually gifted, and synesthesic. This book, a follow-on to his autobiography, is billed as a
"...book about the mind -- its nature and abilities. It combines ... the latest neuroscientific research with [Tammet's] personal reflections and detailed descriptions of [his] abilities and experiences. [Tammet's] ... intention is to show that differently functioning brains ... are not so strange ... and that anyone can learn from them ... [and to] clear up many misconceptions about the nature of savant abilities and what it means to be intelligent or gifted."

Great intentions; I agree they are worthwhile. But, I fear, a disappointing execution.

Or, perhaps, I am not gifted enough to understand the arguments. But, really, to use the outcome of the US Presidential Election of 2000 to "prove" that the Electoral College works? Without mentioning that this election was decided by the Supreme Court and not really by the Electoral College? Seems to me that using the ideas of one person, even one admittedly highly gifted person, as a model for the prototypical smart person from whom we can all learn to think is -- misguided?

Well, anyway, I certainly admire and even envy many of Mr. Tammet's abilities and accomplishments. And, again, I sympathize deeply with his goal of helping others less gifted than he is learn to observe the world around them more intently and reason out their opinions rather than blindly accept "common wisdom", which is often not correct.

On the other hand, and this is something that both of my gifted daughters had figured out by the time they were 11, if not before, Just because someone is gifted, that doesn't mean they know all the answers.

Judging from the stated premise of this book and its execution, I am not sure that Tammet is actually as smart as my high school student.


Other reviews: Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind
 
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