The dramatic story of one man's recovery offers new hope to those suffering from concussions and other brain traumas.
In 1999, Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear-ended. Overnight his life changed from that of a rising professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day. At times he couldn't walk across a room, or even name his five children. Doctors told him he would never fully recover. After eight years, the cognitive demands of his job, and of being a single parent, finally became more than he could manage. As a result of one final effort to recover, he crossed paths with two brilliant Chicago-area research-clinicians - one a specialized optometrist, the other a cognitive psychologist - working on the leading edge of brain plasticity. He was substantially improved within weeks.
Remarkably, Elliott kept detailed notes throughout his experience, from the moment of impact to the final stages of his recovery, astounding documentation that is the basis of this fascinating audiobook. The Ghost in My Brain gives hope to the millions who suffer from head injuries each year, and provides a unique and informative window into the world's most complex computational device: the human brain.
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Mostly Tedious With Moments of Insight
The core of this book is interesting and insightful. The author conveys some aspects of living with brain injury that are rarely talked about and difficult to describe. However, these glimpses are buried in a seemingly endless tedium of repetition, recital of dates and facts, and other mundane details that are truly irrelevant.
My advice: Read/listen to the first half of the book. Then, just be aware that author claims to have been successfully treated using a series of custom prescription glasses. Very little new is revealed in the second half aside from this fact, which almost reads as a footnote to the author's almost daily journal of every minute observation (each one being very similar to dozens of previous observations).
Aside from these criticisms, the book is still important for the way it describes living with brain injury. It is just not a story told in a skillful way, but more as an unedited journal.
I would recommend the first half of the book, as it offers some glimpse into what it is like living with a brain injury. The recommendation would come with the caveat to go ahead and put the book down as soon as it started to become tedious, because it would not recover.
A follow-up is definitely unnecessary. It is difficult to imagine the author left out the slightest detail. A sequel would, possibly, go into slightly more detail about what he had for lunch each day.
One of the most important books I've read!