stroke of insight - walking book club - books for brains

 

October is Books for Brains month

This month I’m getting on board with the ‘Books for Brain’ initiative being run by one of my alumni, Neuroscience Research Australia.  I completed my first postdoc at NeurA (back when it was the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute) – I researched the inflammatory response to spinal cord injury.

For the month of October, NeurA, are inviting you to “read a book for brainpower”.  They have suggested a list of books, and from that list I’ve chosen one that I think will appeal to Walking Book Club members….

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor

This is the bestselling personal account of a neuroscientist who experienced a stroke.

This from Jill Bolte Taylors website:

Jill Bolte Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained and published brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain.  Through the eyes of a curious neuroanatomist, she watched her mind completely deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Because of her understanding of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and an amazing mother, Jill completely recovered her mind, brain and body.

Based upon her academic training and personal experience, Jill helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can ‘tend the garden of our minds’ to maximize our quality of life.

Jill pushes the envelope in our understanding about how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances.

“I believe the more time we spend running our deep inner peace circuitry, then the more peace we will project into the world, and ultimately the more peace we will have on the planet.”

You can see Jill speak about here experience in her 2008 TED talk, here.

I’m excited as I haven’t read this one yet!

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What happens after I read My stroke of insight?

In about two weeks time I’ll send out my newsletter with questions for you and your friends to discuss while you walk (and I’ll also put the questions here on the blog).  If you haven’t already signed up for the Your Brain Health newsletter you can sign up here (and get a free copy of ‘How to improve your memory’ as a gift for signing up!!)…

As always, the questions will be designed to spark discussion about broader issues raised in the book, not a page-by-page analysis of what happened to Jill!

If you need a reminder of the philosophy behind The Walking Book Club you can read more here….

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Discussion questions

  • Do you know anyone who has had a stroke?  Tell their story (or maybe it’s your own story of stroke survival) to the book club.
  • Dr. Jill created a mnemonic device in order to help people remember the most important signs of stroke. Do you know what the letters S T R O K E stand for?
  • Talk about what specific passage in the book that has stuck in your mind since reading it. Why was it memorable to you?
  • Do you practice yoga or meditate? If you do, discuss the impact it has had on your mind, your health and your outlook on life.
  • Discuss the 90-second technique.  Have you tried it?  Describe a situation you’ve used it. Did it work?
  • After reading my blog post on the left-brain right-brain myth, what were your thoughts on Dr Jill’s description of her stroke?  Hint – neuroscience is never straightforward – see Dr Jill’s quote below.
  • Jill discusses how her stroke of insight taught her how to experience deep inner peace. Have you tried her techniques for tapping into your own inner peace?
  • Jill ends her book with a list of 40 things she needed the most during her recovery. What is on your list of ‘things you need’ for inner peace, calm and connection with others.

“I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been supported by science up until this point. The whole right hemisphere, left hemisphere possibilities, this has been an argument for over 200 years,” she says. “All I am doing is feeding fuel to a fire that has been going on for hundreds of years and it’s very exciting because now people are ready to hear it. People are ready to hear, ‘I am not just this, and I am not just that.’ We are tired of the incredible bipolarity of science saying the spiritualists are nuts, and the spiritualists are tired of the closed-mindedness of the scientists. We have this incredible chasm going on. How about a little corpus callosum love! Let us get both hemispheres functioning and communicating in all of us so that we are open-minded and we are open-hearted because we are actually utilising both hemispheres.”

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