[Accidental Genius] Struck by Genius book review

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Struck by Genius by Jason Padgett and Maureen Seaberg

1-Sentence Summary. True story of a carefree party-guy & Planet Futon salesman, Jason Padgett, who got hit on the head one night and woke up to suddenly become a mathematical genius and automatically starts seeing mathematical equations in front of his eyes all the time.

Why I Picked it Up. I’ve always been mystified about knowing more on geniuses. The fact that an accident could actually turn someone incredibly intelligent just got my heart begging to learn more about this.

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One of Jason’s artwork to describe what he sees in real life. This one is to illustrate ‘Photon Interference Fractal’. No, I do not understand this advanced mathematics, but that’s fine as long you appreciate Jason’s work. (Image Credit: Struck by Genius)

Why It’s A Gem

  • THE SINCERE PASSION AND WONDER FOR MATHS. Doesn’t it just warms your heart to see when someone is sincerely passionate with their interests, especially when it’s about something that everybody else doesn’t understand? This applies to Jason Padgett, whom throughout this book continuously shares with us the wonderful things he learnt in math. It was so genuine, it inspired me the desire to re-learn math. It is now my new year resolution to pick up a beginner math textbook and master the exercises by the end of this year!
  • UNEXPECTED SURPRISE AND PLOT TWISTS IN THE STORY. Just when you thought his life was going downhill after his injury, his life flourished. Then just when you thought his life will continuously get happier, God threw him a curveball and his life goes bad again. There are plenty of surprises, good and bad to keep you on your toes throughout this book. If it’s not about his life, then it’s surprises about math’s fun facts and trivias that you could never have learned in school.
  • OPENS YOU UP TO THE WORLD OF SAVANT SYNDROME AND SYNESTHESIA. Savant means a genius, while synesthesia is when someone sees a mix blend of different senses. For example, Maureen Seaberg (one of the author of this book) sees words and numbers in different colours, Daniel Tammett (Jason Padgett’s early role model) sees numbers in shapes and personalities, while Jason himself sees the world in stop-motion and geometric shapes. Before this book, I have no idea to most of these experiences. This book provides a good introduction to the possible reasons why this phenomenon happen and some of the notable real life people who have similar gifts like Jason. I’ll surely be picking up more books about savants and synesthesia should I see them around in the future.
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How Jason was before he became a genius – A guy who is only concerned with getting girls and building a good body to attract more girls! What a far departure compared to how he is now. (Image Credit: Struck by Genius)

Why It Can Be A Rock

  • NOT ENOUGH PHOTOS TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY. Now this might be a biased view, since I got the paperback version that only contains about 3 of Jason’s drawings. However, I’ve seen online that the hardcover version contains many more photos of Jason and his artwork. Of course, although I crave for more visuals, the book is still a very good read regardless.

015897-yellow-comment-bubble-icon-animals-animal-panda3-sc37 (2)  As A Reading Panda,  I’d Give It :

bamboo_1bamboo_1bamboo_1bamboo_1bamboo_1bamboo_1bamboo_1(7 out of my 10 bamboos)

All in all, I love how this book is so different, opening you up to the fascinating wonders of math and the brain relating to savant syndrome and synesthesia. It’s living proof that our brain is hella powerful and is just hiding all these superhuman abilities from us.

After reading the whole book, I was under the impression that Jason is very rigid in real life, as he struggled a lot within different parts of the book. But on the contrary, he seems quite comfortable and charming when he speaks in videos online. Although I’m sure it was because he made plenty of preparations before each presentation, I can further understand why there were so many of his customers who went to see him to buy futon mattresses, but ended up listening to him talking about mathematic for hours!

You can listen to a snippet of his story yourself in the video below and see how sincere he is about his mathematical passion:


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