The Mesmerizing Story of Jill Bolte Taylor’s Brain.

Imagine the irony. A Harvard trained neuroanatomist — a highly skilled brain expert – suffers a stroke and amazingly watches her left-brain functions quickly disappear.

Reviewed by Robin Parisse

I picked up My Stroke of Insight curious to read about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s mesmerizing true story.  Imagine the irony.  A Harvard trained neuroanatomist  — a highly skilled brain expert – suffers a stroke and amazingly watches her left-brain functions quickly disappear. Dr. Jill relates a stroke victim’s experience from the academic, scientific and personal perspectives.  One quickly grasps that the human brain has amazing capabilities.  Through Dr. Jill we see how the brain’s plasticity (it’s ability to repair and heal) works.  She explains the science behind the reality that “we each have the power to change our minds, change our brain, change the way we think and feel” and in doing so change our lives for the better.

The story opens on the day of the fateful hemorrhage that destroys Dr. Jill’s left-brain functions.  Over the next eight years she is right brain dominant.  The battle to regain left-brain functionality and the methods used to do so are just a cornerstone of Dr. Jill’s story.  Her historical recount lays the fabric but her journey through the eyes of a brain scientist intrigues and teaches.  This story is a gift to society.  It gives the medical community, stroke victims, stroke survivors, you and I a new brain perspective.

With her ego driven left-brain disabled from the stroke, Dr. Jill was forced to live life differently.  She now operated from her right brain. This shift awakened something.  As Dr. Jill rewired functions in her left brain, she wondered if she needed to bring back certain personality characteristics such as anger, worry, stubbornness, arrogance or meanness exactly as they had been before.   She realized she didn’t. She could choose.  Jill found that “with lots of effort, I have consciously chosen to recover my left mind’s ego center without giving renewed life to some of those old circuits.”

The techniques Dr. Jill uses over her recovery help us understand that the brain’s capacity to recover is phenomenal.  Dr. Jill not only provides a stroke victim and their families hope and guidance but she gives all of us proof of more.  She presents in simple terms how anyone can change their mind and consciously take responsibility for their energy, thoughts, and feelings to create a better and richer quality of life.

I realized as I came to the end of My Stroke of Insight that I was not only inspired but thoughtfully considering how I interact and react in my world.  Dr. Jill states the importance of being mindful of “the energy I bring into a room”.  What a simple thought that can create dynamic change.  Imagine if we did “tend the garden of our minds” what our world would be like.

Event info.:  Insight Lectures presents:

Wednesday, April 20, 7 – 9 pm, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Reno, Nevada $25, $45, $65. Tickets on-line at

Robin Parisse

Robin Parisse is interested in all avenues of brain change, function and expression, and an experienced marketer with over 20 years in a variety of industries: technology; consumer products; fashion retail; cycling and outdoor. Robin writes reviews, business plans, white papers, collateral and other business and consumer materials as well is a speaker and moderator for industry technology conferences.

12 replies on “The Mesmerizing Story of Jill Bolte Taylor’s Brain.”

The only problem with her story was a failure to realize that consciousness does not depend on the brain. In her presentation she violates principles of scientific inquiry and makes huge leaps based on supposition and not the rigorous practice of science.

What does consciousness depend on then? Because as an ER nurse I can assure you that consciousness goes when the brain goes.

We watched her TED presentation during YTT – amazing, remarkable, inspiring. I have to put this book on my reading list!

[…] Related Post: The Mesmerizing Story of Jill Bolte Taylor’s Brain swfobject.embedSWF("", "vvq-145947-youtube-1", "425", "344", "10", vvqexpressinstall, vvqflashvars, vvqparams, vvqattributes); The founder of (a proud sponsor of the The Antarctica Challenge screenings at the International Polar Year Conference) plus the I Count for myEARTH blog and campaign, Lynn is also a contributing editor to a number of online environment focused publications. You can find her on twitter and facebook. Guaranteed. Most days between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. She practices breathing when she thinks of it, runs, intends to do more yoga and loves to eat ice cream and dark chocolate. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, son and two feisty cats; and considers herself an environmental and human rights activist. […]

Too bad doctors don't know about nutrition. If more did they could probably prevent strokes from happening altogether.

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