Daniel Tammet

This guy fascinates me. He seems so self-aware and capable of explaining his understanding of himself to the rest of us. I once read an article written by a neurosurgeon who suffered a stroke and recorded her experience as it was happening. I love it when people can express their own amazing weirdness in a way that makes sense to those of us who haven’t been through the same thing. It’s the definition of genius to me.

I read one of his books a whole bunch of years ago, “Born on a Blue Day”. Afterward I memorized π to 75 digits over the next couple of days. I used telephone area codes I had memorized at one of my first jobs, home phone numbers I remember from my childhood, family members’ birthdays, and ZIP codes to find the most memorable patterns, and then when nothing matched I just thought to myself, “oh yeah, the bunch of numbers that don’t mean anything…” But it only stuck with me for about 2 weeks. I had to recite it every day, several times to hold the numbers but it was almost completely gone a week later and forgotten 2 weeks later. Well, not completely. I still remember it out to about ten digits. 

3.1 easy. 415, San Fransisco area code. 926, kind of like the 976 porn phone numbers from the ’80s. 535, 5 seven times. I don’t remember any of the rest of it, but I learned about finding meaningful patterns in noisy number trails as part of this exercise.