Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Struck by Genius by Jason Padgett

Struck by Genius:  How a Brain Injury Made Me aMathematical Marvel is a non-fiction book along the lines of A Beautiful Mind, which I loved, and The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, which I did not love as much.  Padgett suffers through a violent mugging that leaves him seeing things most people can’t see- the very structure of the universe. After a period of depression and seclusion, he finds himself fascinated with math and geometry in ways that make the average person’s brain hurt. He instinctively knows theories that he’s never before encountered, with no education to back them up, and without the vocabulary to describe them. He can draw fractals. He is eventually diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome and acquired synesthesia. In exchange he also gets a healthy dose of OCD, paranoia and PTSD.

I found the majority of the book to be incredibly fascinating. It’s nearly impossible for me to comprehend the idea of looking at a flood light and seeing pi. Fractals and imaginary numbers and math theory seem more like fiction than reality (and I say that having taken years of calculus in college.)  Padgett not only understands these things instinctively, he literally sees them.  The math talk isn't so heavy that you can't follow along, nor is it at all boring.  I wish there had been a little more about how this affected his personal life once he left his house, and I think the last chapter took a philosophical turn that was absolutely unnecessary but otherwise I'd easily recommend this to anyone who enjoys non-fiction of this sort. 
Struck by Genius will be released on April 22, 2014.


  1. That sounds interesting if completely bizarre. Though I think I'll keep being a non-savant and miss out on the violent mugging, PTSD, OCD and paranoia! I'll have to hunt this one up.

  2. That does sound like a fascinating story.

  3. Math is a nightmare to me so seeing fractals and imaginary numbers would not be welcomed in any way. Does he embrace it? I suppose he hasn't much of a choice in the matter.

  4. This sounds amazingly interesting. I had no idea that such a condition existed. How in the word does the brain suddenly "know" things that it has no experience with?


Thanks for visiting, please leave a comment! Whenever possible I reply to comments via email, so please leave an email address if you want a direct reply. Anonymous users, I'm sorry, but until you stop leaving spam, you can't comment.

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP