In a tale worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Padgett tells how a traumatic brain injury inflicted by muggers at a karaoke bar turned him into a “mathematical marvel.” At 31, the former math-averse underachiever turns into a hermit fascinated by pi. He gradually finds out that he is not like the other 1.7 million or so Americans each year who suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Instead, he learns that, while healing, he has become an “accidental genius” with sudden-onset savant syndrome, or acquired savant syndrome. He also finds out that he has acquired synesthesia—a blending of the senses that lets him see the world in beautiful geometric patterns. Padgett struggles with setbacks, including dependence on pain medication. But overall, he stays positive as he tells his tale with the help of coauthor Seaberg: “Cases like mine prove a far greater plasticity of the brain in its ability to heal itself than was previously thought.” This memoir sends a hopeful message to families touched by brain injury, autism, or neurological damage from strokes. --Karen Springen
"Beautiful, inspiring and intimate . . . An exquisite insider’s look into the mysteries of consciousness."
—Kirkus Reviews, *starred* review "Deeply absorbing . . . It's that contagious enthusiasm, bursting off the page, that makes this tale of a man trying to understand himself so fascinating. A-"
—Entertainment Weekly "How extraordinary it is to contemplate the bizarre gifts that might lie within all of us."
—People Magazine, 3 1/2 out of 4 stars "Padgett’s heartfelt story of learning to cope with his new faculties, the onset of OCD that accompanied them, the intensive clinical testing and research that continue today, and how his experience changed his life, will appeal to fans of the films Rain Man and A Beautiful Mind, as well as the works of Oliver Sacks."
—Library Journal "A tale worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! . . . This memoir sends a hopeful message to families touched by brain injury, autism, or neurological damage from strokes."
"A remarkable and wonderfully personal medical tale. It reminds us in equal measure about our possible capacities and our impoverished understanding about how to tap into them."
—David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain "Jason Padgett’s story is an extraordinary example of the human capacity for adaptation and the immense importance of exploring the individual strengths hidden inside every person’s brain." —Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures "Like Dorothy in Oz, Jason sees the man behind the curtain. Except in his case, the wizard is not a trickster but the normal operations of the brain that, in the rest of us, take place outside of consciousness. Struck by Genius is a journey of self-teaching—about what had happened to his brain, why he became a different person overnight, and what the meaning of it was."
—Richard E. Cytowic, neurologist and coauthor of Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia "Acquired savant syndrome is an incredible phenomenon which points toward dormant potential—a little Rain Man perhaps—within us all. Jason Padgett's experience affirms that medical marvel in a demonstrable and irrefutable way. His compelling story calls for even more urgent inquiry into that remarkable, optimistic manifestation which holds great promise for better understanding both the brain and human potential."
—Darold A. Treffert, M.D., author of Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant "Modern neuroscience, in spite of its tremendous progress, tends to ignore folk wisdom about the brain's remarkable potential for change and growth. Struck by Genius restores the balance and marshals evidence that there are astonishing abilities in all of us, presently unfathomable, waiting to be unleashed."
—V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist and author of The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human "A remarkable, heartwarming and unforgettable first-person account of one man's struggle to comprehend his sudden genius in the wake of a traumatic assault. This truly amazing incident opens up a whole new dimension for science to explore."
—Berit Brogaard, Professor of Philosophy and Neurodynamics, University of Missouri, St. Louis