122 of 150 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (Kindle Edition)
I had high expectation for this book, but it was far less interesting than I hoped. There were many redundant passages about being one with the universe and the state of nirvana that the author, Dr. Jill Taylor, achieved. A good editor would have shaved off at least 20 pages. I found myself skimming over more than a few pages. I expected more of the science; explanations were couched in simplistic terms. Although there are descriptions of normal brain function in the beginning, the scientific discussion waned when it came to her actual situation.
After her surgery and her recovery starts, Dr. Taylor glosses over the 8 years it took her to recover to focus on the spiritual aspect of her experience. The steady stream of new-age mysticism is attributed to right-brain function, making an argument that religious/spiritual/mystical experiences are nothing more than a few extra neurons firing here and a few less firing there. And who knows, maybe they are. What might be useful to hospital workers and caregivers is her need description of how their questions, demands, and posture were experienced. She needed questions repeated slowly, not loudly. (As she noted, she wasn't deaf, but folks would repeat a question louder as if it would make understand better.)
At the end of it, I was disappointed in this book. Even at the Kindle price of $9.99 I would recommend waiting to pick the paperback version up for less.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 15, 2009 1:12:02 PM PDT
I purchased the paperback ($15 cover price) so you aren't really going to save much. I agree with you however, I haven't yet finished the book, but am at the point where i'm wondering if it's worth continuing - the 'nirvana' portion you mention is redundant (as are other elements), and the repetition is noticeable and tiring.
Posted on Jul 6, 2009 9:26:38 AM PDT
Kentucky book lover says:
I appreciate your helpful review. You might want to look it over for typos, though. Would have been more readable without those. Thanks!
Posted on Jul 31, 2009 7:20:52 PM PDT
I just finished reading the book and was going to write a review, but your comments are almost word-for-word what I was going to say.
Posted on Nov 11, 2009 10:02:14 AM PST
G. Lin says:
i have not read the book, but i have some knowledge about nirvana. The commend "The steady stream of new-age mysticism is attributed to right-brain function, making an argument that religious/spiritual/mystical experiences are nothing more than a few extra neurons firing here and a few less firing there." is not correct.
The reason Dr. Jill feel/sense nirvana is NOT because of it is from right brain. It's because the influence of left brain being suppressed, thus nirvana shows itself up.
Nirvana is not an illusion caused by neurons firing off right brain, it's something much deeper and fundamental within ourselves.
Dr. Jill's experience is telling us that the way to experience nirvana is to let go the neuron signals from the logical left brain.
Posted on Jan 26, 2010 7:21:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2010 7:23:12 PM PST
Anna Reage says:
I'm glad you noted the repetitive nature of the book! I was about to say something if you didn't. I thought her reason for this may be her experience with recovery; she probably feels repetition is helpful. The "redundant pasages" aside, I found the book very motivating. I heeded her advice (or at least tried) and began to pay more attention to my emotions. These stories always leave me feeling like I am better off than before I read [whatever it is I read].
Oh and I disagree with your last tidbit! The Kindle version may be more expensive than paperback, but it is greener. haha.
Posted on Jan 24, 2011 4:51:29 PM PST
freeport beach says:
You know why you were disappointed? Because you are obviously unable to turn off your left brain!!! She was repeating herself FOR YOUR BENEFIT, so that if you didn't get it the first time, you would hopefully get it by the third or fourth repetition!!!! You need the lessons in this book most of all!! It is life changing...if you let it be!!! I just read it, and I am sure she is telling the absolute truth...and we all need to "step to the right" --(Brain wise, never politically!!!!) In fact, if we all stepped into our right brain, nobody would ever listen to the likes of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or Bill O'Reilly again!!!! Cuz nobody would fall for their fearmongering and hate speech!!! They embody the lying story-teller spoken of in the book.
Posted on Sep 5, 2012 7:40:44 AM PDT
Low Entropy says:
"religious/spiritual/mystical experiences are nothing more than a few extra neurons firing here and a few less firing there."
This statement is written by someone who does not appear to understand how our physical body (and brain) are intimately connected with our energy body and cosmos. Beachcomber is an example of what would be considered a left brain dominant person who desires logical and linear explanations for complex or mysterious phenomena.
I have had four kundalini awakenings. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it can be described as a mystical experience of nirvana, although anyone who goes through it will have a very unique perception and experience of it, even if some accounts sound similar. In my own study of myself and of the kundalini phenomena over the past decade, I have a good understanding of what brought it on each time it happened. Internal influences, such as things that I did by choice was the main driving force each time, however one involved a major external trigger. This is from my own experiences, but I also know that some people experience kundalini awakenings as a result of trauma. This may sound absurd to some, but many people experience daily humdrum that continues for years, even decades without making choices that moves them into a more conscious, or "awakened" state of being. Many people are still sticking with the well tested and tried methods of living their lives. "Too busy" to do anything else.
After seeing Taylor's speech on a TED Conference video, it made me laugh how she recognized she was having a stroke, but then had a thought she was too busy to deal with that. Do you know some people who are workaholics who don't seem to stop for anything, but then they get sick with something that forces them to stop? Sometimes it can be something that only requires a week recovery. Sometimes that little illness is what is needed to stop, and slow down, for the WHOLE to come into balance. In Taylor's case, her stroke helped bring her WHOLE mind/body/spirit into balance, but it also put her on a path to share her story with others. I feel she is assisting humanity in bringing our collective whole more into balance, along with many others.
Trauma can be terrible and tragic, but some people become "awakened" as a result of it. Call it what you want, a kundalini awakening, nirvana, infinite bliss, or a spiritual awakening. Sure, it involves neurons too, but to give all the credit to neurons is a very limited and distorted understanding of the human being's amazing potential.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2013 9:13:14 PM PDT
I found the responses to the review very helpful and it encourages me to read the book. I would like to experience kundalini yoga, your review and insight were very inspiring.
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