Thursday, February 01, 2007

60 Minutes

Last Sunday, CBS aired an interview with me on their popular '60 Minutes' programme. The response was overwhelming: the book shot straight to No.1 on Amazon.com and I received literally hundreds of emails from people from all across the United States. I wanted to write here to say a big thank you to everyone who wrote to me and/or purchased the book. I'm extremely touched by the sheer scale of the interest in my story and in what I have to say.

The 60 Minutes interview with Morley Safer was originally taped last summer at my home in Kent. Several people have written and asked about the large number of CDs in the background during the interview - they are from our music collection, both mine and my partner Neil's, as we both enjoy listening to music frequently. One eagle-eyed viewer even detected correctly that I'm a Carpenters fan!

For the segment, I painted one of my numerical landscapes - of the first twenty digits of Pi - and many people have written to ask whether they can purchase a print of it. I'm working on this at present, so please check back in the coming days for an update.

In case you missed the broadcast, you can view it online until the end of this week at CBS's website: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml

40 comments:

Dave A said...

Daniel,

You are a truly remarkable person, and we are all grateful for the opportunity to share in your experiences, and to challenge our own ideas of how the brain works. I personally find it delightful that all of us have within us a mysterious grey engine which we barely understand!

I have been enjoying reading your replies to the comments on past posts here. I wish you success at whatever direction you choose to take, and I was happy to see that you stand up for yourself well when it comes to defending how *you* want to spend your time. I've seen a handful of posts of people asking you to do work for them, and while some of their intentions may be noble and the causes good, at the end of the day it teeters on exploitation.

All the best.

mark freund said...

Daniel,
Wow! I'm so glad I can see the 60 min. thing on the computer! I have access to a computer at my work, but not at home. And I don't watch/own television, so when I came in to work and my co-workers told me you were on the tv over the weekend I was really bummed-out. I so much liked your book. What an inspiring love story! I'm looking forward to seeing/buying a print of your pi. Keep truckin' bro, love ya, mark.
p.s. did you ever hear the Dittybops? (thedittybops.com)

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for posting that link for those of us not in the US -- you are a truly fascinating person, Daniel!

KK said...

I feel like you were described and am glad to see you living such a rich, in friends, purpose and joyful life. I saw something when you said numbers have color and texture and would be so very blessed if you could tell me or show me what 1,3 and 7 look like. I am different and sometimes I mind. When I heard about you, I was proud. I feel blessed. thanks KK -owhataknight@hotmail.com

Jessica said...

I just saw the 60 Minutes show and was especially intrigued by the images you drew of different numbers. I've recently noticed that many people have at least one number they identify with. Mine right now are 19, 6, 13, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34. Any chance you'll post images you've drawn of different numbers?

Anonymous said...

Daniel and Neil,
I so about five minutes of your TV interview, I realize I needed to know more, I went to a bookstore and told the clerk, a book about a uk man who could recite Pi, after a minutes he came up with your book,,, this is the first book I ever bought in my life! The reason is I don't read or write! A severe developmental learning disorder-DYSKEXA since birth, this is what interested me!
You read and write (I don't)
you love numbers (I don't)
you have a great memory (I don't)
I have great motor skill(you don't)
I have a great understanding how the mechanical things work (you don't)
what I find interesting is the things you don't do well I do! Things that you do well I doubt! It's almost like you're on one side of life in time on the other.
I love to travel at turning to make it to London once a year, walking around London makes me feel good like I am normal.
I would like to chat with you someday and compare our lives, because there's many things that we are very similar, I see myself very similar to you by your book.
Daniel and Neil, you have a good evening, take care.
Casey

Rehan Qayoom said...

A brilliantly made documentary, it covered so much of your life in such a short time, like poetry.

Hope you had an incredible birthday -

Ray Wilson said...

Thank you for being you. Important for me and for the world, Do you have any insights into current world problems such as the ones into which President Bush and his companions have cast us?

Anonymous said...

It's Liz from I Speak of Dreams

Although I'm an American, I didn't see the 60 minutes piece, as I was travelling. I did, however, run across your book on Monday, and promptly bought 3 copies for friends who have sons with AS -- all under 10.

Thanks for writing it -- you are giving inspiration to people you will never meet.

charmian said...

Dear Daniel,

My son is seven and, like you, has had seizures when he was younger ( though never Grand Mal) and he has Autism. I read where you discribed pulling on your lips and that's just what he does...and, sadly, like you, he is teased.

I love the way he is fascinated by numbers. In his case it's when people were born and died, their birthdays and how old they are.

Seeing you, so kind and bright and well adjusted, gives me much needed hope.

I hope your book tells me more about your Mother. I want to rise to the challenge for my little genius and there are very few accurate road maps for dealing with "the obsessed".

I don't want him to lose his fascinations. He finds such joy in them. I wish only that other children weren't so cruel.

Jack said...

I'm glad I can see an interview with you. I'm a huge fan and admirer, and have downloaded Brainman from Google Videos. I also have the book, which I am in the process of reading.

It's really nice to hear that things are going from strength to strength with you.

All the best!

Cazzy said...

I was browsing the internet while my mother was watching the television behind me. I was half listening to what was going on, and for some reason, I turned around and came face to television with you. I was absolutely mystified by you and your story. Your intellect is astounding.

You are amazing.

I hope you and your partner go far together in all that you do.

Anonymous said...

You are a remarkable and beautiful man. As a teacher in the U.S., I wish you could speak with all of my students. Keep us posted about a speaking tour in the colonies!

Derek Bair said...

Daniel!

I remember seeing the special about you last year and being fascinated by how you could think. I have something I would really like you to check out that I think you would be interested in. I just finished my own book called, The Anatomy of Mona Lisa: Love's Prison. I thought about you because I have a chapter on Autism where I assert that Leonardo Da Vinci was an autistic savant. I would love to get your opinion, I think it explains his genius and you might be able to relate. I think I am also autistic and this has enabled me to find what i have about the painting.

If i'm right (which I would also love your opinion on) I figured out who the Mona Lisa is. I found a painting of Da Vinci's lover Salai which combines perfectly with the Mona Lisa. Salai is also in an anagram for MONALISA- Mon Salai "my salai" in french. Or even M on Salai, which is cool since the painting of him does go over the painting of the mona lisa.

I only finished my book a couple days ago and haven’t had any recognition for anything I found. I have a free copy for you to check out at http://www.itsjustlife.com/lovesprison.pdf

I also found that the Shroud of Turin was created by Da Vinci and combines with his Vitruvian man. I would really appreciate any advice or direction you might have for me. I'm only 23 and came about this randomly and don't really know what to do next. I put something i'm calling "interjections" between each chapter which is my story - how i found what I did and how.

I actually had an savantish moment that you might find interesting. I also have a strange hunch that what you see in your head (the color numbers etc) is what Da Vinci saw and this is in his art - especially the Mona Lisa. I believe she is encoded with thousands of other images. I would really like your opinion on some of the things i've found.

Thanks so much, I'm looking forward to reading your book!

Derek Bair
derek@itsjustlife.com

Anonymous said...

Sæll Daniel
Frábært að heyra þig tala íslensku eftir eingöngu einnar viku nám í tungumálinu. 60 mínútur þátturinn er það fyrsta sem ég sé af þér og er það ætlun mín að kynnast sérþekkingu og lífsýn þinni nánar því hún er mjög áhugaverð.
Gangi þér vel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel.
My name is Paloma and I am thirteen years old. I live in Washington. I saw your clip on sixty minutes and just like tons of other people I was absolutely inspired.

I think it is absolutely amazing how you think and how you do things. (I hate to make you sound like a science experement.) It must be incredible. You said something about how beautiful the numbers are. How beautiful their shapes and their textures and their colors are. And you said something about how if you could share that beauty with the world, that would be all you needed to do. Just share that with the world. I have no adjective that can explain that. Beautiful. But even that's not enough.

I very much respect you and admire you. The way you see numbers brings me such joy because I love them too. Math gives me problems sometimes and I get frustrated. I'm good at it but it's frustrating. It's so beautiful though. Math and numbers are so amazing and your joy and love of them just is so heartwarming.

If you would like to talk my email address is photographlovely@gmail.com
If not then thankyou. I just wanted to tell you like many before me and after me that you are just such an inspiration.

With love, respect, and admiration.
Paloma

Jen said...

Here, here! Daniel...I have read your book on a recommendation of a co-worker with a child with autism. I am a mother of two on the spectrum, and one nt child. My older son is diagnosed aspergers and my youngest is autistic.

I would like to write about you and suggest your book on my site: http://www.connectingwithautism.com

Many blessings to you and to Neil!

_perpetuity_ said...

You've such a radiant soul. I doubt you understand the full impact of your luminous life on so many. Surely, your generosity in sharing your experience has blessed countless lives.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,

Don't know if anyone else has asked this but have you looked at sudoku puzzles? Can you solve them instantly or does synesthesia help you solve them faster?

Thanks,

Tina

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,

Previous mail on sudoku started from a thought concerning pattern recognition that could be extended to more complex systems, such as market predictions. Maybe you don't want to go down that route, even on a trial basis.

Another thought, perhaps more relevant to your well-being. Have you ever attempted any form of yoga or meditation? The first might be helpful in terms of developing your propiocentive skills/motor coordination. The second might be redundant on some levels (as a person you come across as being healthy and serene) but might still be of benefit in reducing anxiety and inducing more profound feelings of peace. You're probably the only autistic savant who could give it a go.

Best wishes,

Tina

Ana Maria said...

Dear Daniel,

I just watched you on "60 Minutes" on my computer and I was absolutely fascinated by your story. Thank you very much for sharing your life with the world.

Wishing you all the best.

Cheers,

Ana Maria

Raven said...

Daniel,

Sadly, I missed the 60 Minutes program but ran across your book and am thoroughly enjoying it. Some years ago I read an article on Savant Syndrome in which it described individuals who associated colors with specific musical pitches. For instance, if they saw a particular shade of blue they would hear it in their mind as the musical pitch of B flat. If memory serves, the assignment of pitch to a certain color was uniform across those individuals that were tested. In other words, they all heard B flat for the same shade of blue; not A sharp or C, for example.

I was curious if you have ever compared your perceptions of numbers with others who share your particular gifts? Do they experience the number 3 as being round and the number 9 as being tall and imposing, as you do, or are their perceptions unique and different from your own?

Best wishes, and thank you for the wonderful book!

Sydney said...

Dear Daniel,

Last Sunday, while waiting for my usual Sunday TV show to come on, I happened to see the intro to 60 minutes and was istantly captivated, so much so that I watched the whole show just to see your segment. And I was amazed.

After that I made my dad (who runs a community college library) see if he had your book in. He didn't and so I made him order it. It arrived yesterday and I've been reading it almost nonstop since then.

The book itself is immensely well-written and your story is truly amazing. I've just always loved numbers, but to see them from your perspective must be amazing. And that painting of pi was just amazing as well.

I have to say that your one of my heroes. And I hope that that really says how much I respect you.

Sydney

Jeremy Bolton said...

Daniel,

I caught you on 60 Minutes the other night and then went right out and bought your book. Just finished it and it was fantastic - you did a great job and really expressed yourself well. It was wonderful to read about your growth and success. Can't wait to see what you do next!

I'd like to see Brainman, but can't seem to find it. Is it available on DVD?

Keep up the great work! We love you here in the States!

Jock said...

Daniel,

I'd just like to echo the comments of other posters, and to congratulate you on your success and your life. I saw the 60 minutes show, and during the commercial break, I immediately went to my computer and ordered your book. While reading the book, I kept thinking that I would like to send you an email of support (I also always felt different as a child). I just got to the part where you describe Optimnem, and I thought, "Aha! I can probably reach him there!" So I put down the book, fired up Google, found your blog and here I am.

Truthfully, the main reason that I purchased your book is that I have two young friends, the son and daughter of very close friends, that are synethetic (is that the proper term?). I was fascinated by them telling me about the colors of numbers and letters. There was a short news item about them on the local public radio station recently. And when I discovered that you have the same ability to see numbers in color, I wanted to buy your book to give to them as a present. Which I will do after I am done reading it first! I don't know if synethesia has a genetic basis, but here are a sister and brother that both have it, although neither parent does.

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I has been inspirational to me.

Jock Irons
Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
jock.irons@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Bought your book. Very insightful. I have an autistic son and I see a lot you in him. Thank you so much for baring your heart & soul. You've also inspired me to write a short story. More on that later.
BTW will you learn and teach other languages in the future?
Keep looking up and may you unlock the mystery of time & space my friend...

Anonymous said...

I'm Chinese .I read your story on the newspaper .I will come often .My blog address:feizhaopao.bokee.com.
Welcome to your come .
Bye bye !

Louisa said...

Dainel,

I'm Chinese and I saw 60 Minutes interview with you last week. And today our local newspaper-Guangzhou Daily has a paragraph on International Session about you. I'm fascinated about your ability and your opinions about religion, figures and languages are interesting. Hope your book's Chinese version will be on local book-shelf soon.

Best wishes

Lynn said...

Hi, Daniel, I am from an oriental country fay away from you. I saw your story in the local newspaper~you are such a talented man. YOur numerical picture is great!

Anonymous said...

I have read your book yesterday and today. I have always known that loud colors, too many people, and other confusing things hurt my head but I have never heard anyone else describe it thst way. Thank you.

iris said...

Hi, I am a chinese girl who get to know you in newspaper. I consider if I can buy your book in Guangzhou,China .

Anonymous said...

hi Daniel,
hope "Born on a blue Day" can be released here in China~
and thank you sharing the link of the interview

"Philia" said...

Daniel,

*smiles* wow, you are a Phi/Pi lover?...you are not alone! I wonder how your Phi would look like if you used geometrical tools? I have studied the geometry of the circle and floated on an everchanging river of forms and colors..and it was just amazing..Phi is infinite:) you will be in good hands! All the best from "Philia"

Anonymous said...

hi!Daniel,I like your book,and I like you.I'm a chinese,do you know China?And can you speak chinese?
祝你猪年大吉!:)

Joao Costa said...

Hello Daniel,

I'm from Portugal and I've recently come across the '60 minutes' about your remarkable skills.

I just wanted to stop by and wish you best luck for everything you do with your life, because I thought it was really inspiring!

I wish you all 333 :)

Ricardo Carvalho said...

I'm also from Portugal and just saw 60 Minutes a few hours ago. Thank you for being different and for teaching us about it!

cycosper said...

Hey Daniel,

You don't have to post this since its not on topic at all. I was just wondering if you might be able to tell me what the number 333 looks like to you? One day when I was in class taking my SATs I was mesmerised by this number. It seemed to be jumping off the page at me and it had this moving shadow behind it. Since then I've always considered it my favorite, so I am interested in hearing what it looks like to you. Anyways, i'm at cospercy@yahoo.com or you can comment on my dream blog anywhere you want: http://heliuminmyshoes.blogspot.com/

ciao, cy

Jacey said...

HI Daniel

I read your book back in January and just saw your 60 Minute interview on the CBS webpage. I just wanted to thank you for sharing you story with us parents of autistic children.
I have an autistic (HFA) son as well as a non-autistic daughter. I have been struggling for years to understand my boy, Alec...and now I feel you just opened that door into his head. He is much like you in his "autistic" behaviros....anxiety, rituals, not liking crowds, etc. Since his diagnosis at age 23 months, (he is now just turhing 5 years old) - I have watched him with such intensity to determine what sets him off and what allows him to be comforted. I just could never put my finger on some of his anxious behaviors. I wanted so badly to comfort him - make it less stressful...but I had yet to figure that out until I read your book.
Your ability to clearly expain your coping skills in your life has allowed me to truly understand Alec's constant struggle with everyday life. After reading your book, I felt I had finally read something that made all the sense in the world to me. I finally "got it" and now I do what I can to make Alec's life a little bit easier. None of the other 50 books I had read on autism ever came close to understanding him. I was tired of reading about other people's interpretation of spectrum individuals ... and now I finally found one person who knew Alec to a "T".
I am forever grateful of your gift.
I am also so amazed at your abilities, but it is your attitude and gift to all other parents of autistics that truly makes you a special person.

Sincerely
Jacey Capurso
New Jersey, USA
jaceysemail@optonline.net

Anonymous said...

My name is Sylvia. I live in North Carolina. Just this past Friday, I watched the clips of you from "60 Minutes" (they were posted on Yahoo!). I had read about autism, but I had never heard of savants before.
I agree with Jessica (a few posts up) when she says that many people have numbers that they strongly connect with. I generally do not like odd numbers with the exception of those divisible by 9. I have at least 15 numbers that I associate colors with. For me, 9 is a vivid red violet. I had never heard of other people associating colors with numbers before listening to the "60 minutes" clips of you (though I cannot fathom being able to associate different colors and textures for all numbers 1 to 10,000). I also associate colors and textures with certain shapes and names. I would love to see what 289 looks like to you. :)
I also saw a clip of you and Kim Peek together. I saw very distinct differences between the two of you. He didn't look up when you entered the room. When you conversed with him, he kept his eyes glued to a book. You seemed eager to talk, but I didn't detect much emotion from Kim at all. You said that you had to teach yourself to look people in the eye and that living in a large family helped you to overcome your autism. Are most savants like Kim?
I was really able to connect with you in the clips, and I can't say that about many people. I am very shy, and I could spend all day talking about math, science, poetry, music, foreign language, etc, but not many kids my age (I am 17) are into that sort of thing.
Since you mentioned those cds in the background, I've got to ask; do you have a favorite song?
I can't wait to read your book!
Cheers,
Sylvia

Rafi Simcha said...

Daniel -
You make me glad to be alive! You prove that a person can be gentle, kind, and nice, and a Jedi Warrior at the same time. I think I have a slight case of Asperger's myself, and see your way of handling life as a great inspiration.

Also, I greatly admire your strength and honesty about your relationship, another inspiration to millions of people out here.

Question: Have your studies come across Hebrew yet? Do you know about gematria, the Hebrew numerology system? It connects numbers, words, symbols, and thoughts in a way you might find fascinating. A great book listing the numerical values of every word in the Torah [Bible] is "The Spice of Torah Gematria" by Gutman Locks. My website on the topic is here: www.ifdawn.com.

The world is a better place because you are here, and you are expressing yourself. Thank you.

This is for you, sweet man:

333 333 333 333