Straight From TED 2008 – Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor And Her Stroke Of Genius Talk

Posted by

My flight to TED 2008 got delayed because of the weather. When I walked into the event and finished registration, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor was about to take the stage. Little did I know that her TED Talk was to be the highlight of TED 2008, and the one presentation everyone (including myself) is still talking about.

Here’s what the TED Talks website says about her presentation:

"Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another."

And, because TED is rocking more and more every day, they’ve made her presentation available. Do yourself a favour: take eighteen minutes and watch this right now (warning it has nothing to do with Marketing, but everything to do with being human):


  1. Interesting and more true than I might like. However, she must realize the affect she now loves and promotes is just a by-product of our wiring too. It explains religious experiences and why we love drugs.

  2. wow how refreshing that a left brained scientist did a wonderful job of experiencing and allowing us to glimpse the true nature of mankind. When we are able to look and experience the possibilities of what we do not experience we realize how much there really is for us and now have a roadmap of the path to take. We should all be greatful.

  3. VERY interesting and timely…I just read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle (and am reading his previous book: “The Power of Now”), and Oprah Winfrey has been hosting live webcasts discussing the book ( What Dr. Taylor describes is exactly what Dr. Tolle talks about in his books, and is making a big difference in a lot of people’s lives! I think even cynics (which I was) should at least take a look…

  4. I’ve been recommending a book by Jill Bolte Taylor called “My Stroke of Insight” to everyone I know. It’s an amazing story, both uplifting and powerful on three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual, but the spiritual aspect alone makes this the best book I’ve read all year.
    How often do you get to hear a neuroscientist describe having a stroke, nearly dying and finding Nirvana, and then making a miraculous recovery so that she’s back to teaching medical students!?!
    I came away with a renewed sense of understanding, wonder and hopefulness about the capabilities of the human brain. I give “My Stroke of Insight” highest marks!

  5. My TED wish would be that Dr. Bolte Taylor’s book become required reading for all health professionals and definitely all school educators. The gift for understanding our brain function that came from this brilliant woman, can and should be used to change the education system we now see failing way too often.

  6. The New York Times Sunday Newspaper on May 25 had a great two page article on Jill Bolte Taylor and her book, “MY STROKE OF INSIGHT”. Her book is a must read and this NY Times article – called “A Superhighway to bliss” is worth checking out too.

  7. I read “My Stroke of Insight” in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it’s a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I’ve ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

  8. I first saw Dr. Jill on the Oprah Soul Series. I watched all 4 parts consecutively; I could’nt stop watching! How amazing and how moving this lovely lady is.
    I have sent for her book ‘My Stroke of Insight’ and I am telling everyone I know that they should take a look at the footage.
    Since watching her I have become very conscious of my thoughts and actions and am trying really hard to put the things she talks about into practice. Easier said than done but I think it is really worth the effort for both my own development and for the benenfit of the people around me.
    Thank you Dr. Jill for sharing this experience with us and for giving us an insight into a better way of living.

  9. I really enjoyed this video. I am interested to know if Dr. Taylor believes in God. And if she believes that the ‘Nirvana’ she felt was from this wonderful energy that I would refer to as God.

  10. That’s just wonderful, and oddly familiar. I had a similar experience many years ago. Upon opening a book I’d been given, (Attar’s Conference of the Birds), I immediately felt that I’d read the book before (I hadn’t). Then, as I started to read it, I became convinced that I knew it because I had written it (obviously wrong!). Then, it became even stranger: I was writing the book now; the text was being projected from my eyes onto the page. At that point, “I” ceased to be. Time ceased to be. My cells were connecting to a terrifying greatness. All of everything was connected in a single sleeve – a dark well into which I melted, and fell. Unfortunately, I got scared and pulled myself out of it. Still, I can come back to moments of this peace when I practice my photography. In fact, I’ve realized that this space is the precondition for seeing in any special way. In those moments I feel the world is alive and part of me. It speaks to me when “I” put “myself” aside.

Comments are closed.