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review: my stroke of insight.

Posted Jan 17 2011 5:42pm

Hey hey hey! How are you guys doing today? Hope you were lucky enough to get the day off! :)

I spent the day finishing up my first book of the new year: My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.

Dr. Taylor is an established and well-credited Harvard neuroscientist who suffered a stroke at the young age of 37 due to an undiagnosed congenital defect with the arteries in her brain. The book depicts her life before the stroke, the actions occurring during her stroke and her struggle to regain normalcy afterwards.

I have to say I really enjoyed this book! I felt that there were a lot of good messages to take away and it left me with a better understanding of the human brain. For example, Dr. Taylor explains that the two hemispheres of the brain [right and left] are actually more like two personalities that work together to form your conception of “you”. You know how I wanted to buy those shoes the other day ? My right hemisphere focuses more on personal happiness so it was telling me to go for it. However, my left hemisphere, which focuses more on responsibility, told me I had more important things to spend my money on. Two sides of my brain working together to make a conscious decision. Obviously you know which one won out ;)

The book also talked a lot about emotional responses, especially towards the end. Did you know that any triggered emotional reaction technically lasts only 90 seconds? So when your boyfriend pisses you off and you feel anger coursing through your body, the physiological response is over and done within 90 seconds. If you’re still mad after that time, it’s because you choose to be. Crazy, right?

Dr. Taylor is all about controlling your emotions to live life to the happiest. She instills in the reader a sense of power over one’s thoughts and actions. Though we often think of ourselves as a product of our brains, we are actually the ones in control. We just don’t often use that ability. Very empowering, right?

Occasionally, Dr. Taylor did get a little hippy-ish in the book. It was hard for me to bear through reading about “The Great Spirit” and her “oneness with the universe” at times, but I plowed through. And to be honest, that may not even be an issue for some of you, but it totally was for me.

The only thing I would caution about concerning this book is the degree of the biology terminology used. Since I’m a bio major, I had no trouble with it, but I feel as though someone who didn’t have my scientific background might not understand some of the things she tries to explain. Dr. Taylor, however, does give two chapters in the beginning of the book as a kind of “Brain Biology 101” as a good reference for every reader.

Well it’s a good thing I finally finished this book, because school is starting for me tomorrow! I’ve got so much to do, print out and get organized!! Have a good night loves :)

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