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Home Reviews Book Reviews Daniel Tammet: A very different boy

Daniel Tammet: A very different boy

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In 2004, Englishman Daniel Tammet recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, an unimaginable feat for most of us. It took him five hours and nine minutes. He didn’t miss one number.

In his first book, “Born on A Blue Day,” published in 2004, Tammet explains he has a “rare condition known as savant syndrome, little known before its portrayal by actor Dustin Hoffman in the Oscar-winning 1988 film ‘Rain Man.’” The condition is part of his diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, a relatively mild and high-functioning form of autism that affects “around 1 in every 300 people in the United Kingdom.”

Unlike Hoffman’s character, who was based on a man named Kim Peek, Tammet has been able to live independently and forge his way in the world, and has been the focus of news programs around the world, including appearances on ABC news and “The David Letterman Show.” He and his life partner, software engineer Neil Mitchell, now live in the south of France where he operates several web-based businesses.

He’s traveled the world, sharing his story, a rare thing for savants. He believes the acclaim and travel he’s done has opened him up to the world, forcing him to learn to interact with others.

The only life skill Tammet can’t seem to master is driving a car.

“I get too distracted,” he says.

In a very clear, distinct voice, Tammet tells about growing up in east London, the first of nine children. To their credit, Tammet’s parents did everything within their power to accommodate his special needs, allowing him to develop social skills and obtain a public school education.

After a series of seizures when he was young, Tammet started to see pictures in his mind and patterns in numbers.

In addition to numbers, Tammet has an affinity for languages, learning to speak difficult Islandic flawlessly in just one week.

By sharing his story in “Born on a Blue Day,” Tammet has allowed us a peek into a very special world – a world open to all possibilities.

Tammet released a second book, “Embracing the Wide Sky,” in 2009.

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Click here to watch a documentary about Tuttle’s life, “Boy with the Incredible Brain.” for the link.

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