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Book Review: My Stroke of Insight ~Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

At age 37 Jill B. Taylor had a massive stroke and survived. Her career is teaching Neurologic Anatomy at Harvard and she has spent a lifetime studying the brain and how it works. This is an easy to read book in which Taylor has shared the amazing feelings she had while having the stroke, the many parts of her 8 year recovery process, all the amazing things she learned about how we as people think and work, and vital information for assisting other’s in the process of recovery from a major traumatic event.

Every medically trained worker and therapist should have a copy of Dr. Taylor’s “Appendix B: Forty Things I Needed Most”, and “Appendix A: Ten Assessment Questions”.

I was very happy to learn that Dr. Taylor was able to experience Nirvana/bliss while having her stoke and she had to relearn how to access her left brain’s resources again after the stroke. I found it remarkable that she was able to discover from the experience that we all can make choices about our thinking and how we process ideas. It is within our power to reach and teach our brains all the time; we can reprogram ourselves if we desire to do this.

Dr. Taylor also speaks about the 90 seconds of emotions (90 seconds of anger/90seconds of happiness – on this blog) and how after 90 seconds the brain’s message about an event is beginning to leave our systems and how we have a choice as to how we are going to react to any situation. It is within our power after the 90 second message.

I was deeply moved by Jill Taylor’s story and her suggestions. I was inspired to change my thinking and reprogram myself in several areas of my life. I can highly recommend this book for anyone to read and learn from her experience or to assist someone you know into recovery.

I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from this book:

“ …to experience pain may not be a choice, but to suffer is a cognitive decision.”

“The easiest way I have found to humble myself back into a state of peaceful grace is through the act of gratitude.”

“When I am simply grateful, life is simply great!”

“Internal Verbal abuse is not acceptable behavior.”

And one of the most perfectly placed quotes I have ever experienced is one from Einstein:
“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”

I read this book on my Kindle – it was an amazingly fast read on this new reader!

Have you read this book? What did you think?
How do you change your thinking about something?
Do you know someone who also recovered from a stroke? Or had a stroke? Head Injury?

9 Responses to “Book Review: My Stroke of Insight ~Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor”

  1. cathlawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – This sounds like an amazing book. And how wonderful that Jill was able to recover from her stroke and go on to write a book.

    I once nursed a woman in her early fifties who’d had a stroke. I moved to a different hospital and I was delighted when I bumped into her in the canteen one day. She wasn’t completely recovered but she’d improved a great deal. It was brilliant to see that she was managing to recover from her stroke.

  2. Patricia Says:

    I just found this book amazing from start to finish and discovered I did a lot of correct things in helping my youngest child learn. I also saw my father correct his problems himself after having a stroke – he started his career as a speech therapist in a school for the deaf and then went on to be a teacher, principal, and then State Director of Special Education…
    Good intuitive healing
    thanks for your comments

    Patricias last blog post..Factoid Friday: Architects

  3. The Ants Go Marching 10 by 10 – patriciaswisdom.com Says:

    […] Jill Bolte Taylor in her book My Stroke of Insight (book review on this blog) shared her insights about how having a stroke helped her to control her […]

  4. Descartes Says:

    I found My Stroke of Insight to be interesting, but found all the New Age business about energy and negativity a bit distracting. I don’t like my science mixed up with my self help.

    It is frightening that we are all one head injury away from being someone else.

  5. Patricia Says:

    I found this book to be very interesting too and enjoyed reading it. It did not bother me to mix the self-help with the science and I think it assisted the author in her understanding – but each to his own.
    I have a child with a lesion in her brain in long term memory. After figuring out how to help her learn, this book became even more fascinating as the author described so many of the things that I was doing and seeing.

    Yes! it is very frightening to think about how quickly life can change and a new life emerge. Thankfully so many folks who sustain head injuries are now being “recovered”, though life seems to be a new adventure.

  6. sensit Says:

    Buddhist-influenced perspective on My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor


  7. Patricia Says:

    I am on my way to check out your Buddhist perspective…thank you

  8. Prof. Shams Raza Brohi Says:

    Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s account of stroke is worth reading and inspiring as well in understanding of two hemispheres as a parallel and serial processors of computers. Her description of left lobe as a selfish lobe always thinking in future and past as compared to right which thinks right here and right now and connecting to whole universe, makes sense of functions of two orchestra conductors in the cerebral symphony.
    she is wonderful orator.

  9. patricia Says:

    Prof. Brohi,
    Thank you for your insightful comments and I truly liked this book, it was helpful in working with my child who has a lesion in her brain at long term memory retrieval…
    A very wonderful orator
    Thank you for stopping by…