I heard about this book after seeing Bolte Taylor’s talk for TED. At that time the book was self-published, but it has since been released by Viking Penguin Group.

Bolte Taylor is a brain researcher who volunteers as an advocate for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. One day before work she had a stroke. The book is a step-by-step account of that experience from her point of view both as the victim of the stroke and as a brain scientist explaining what was happening at each step. She also talks about the process of her recovery following surgery.

The insight beyond the mechanics of the stroke experience is from the effect the damage had on her. The particular effect she got was like the enlightenment from advanced meditation, a kind of peace and freedom from worry and concern with an overarching joy in life and the world. The message she’s sharing following her recovery is that that state is there in our brains available for us to tap into. It’s a little woo-woo, but it’s clear that she had a life-changing experience and it’s fascinating to read about it from such a unique perspective. Definitely worth reading for anyone who has had or knows someone who has had a stroke.