Brilliant Idiot: An Autobiography of a Dyslexic

Overview

This book chronicles one man's battle to earn respect and an education, only to discover in mid-life that his severe mental "fog" was a serious learning disability. "Abe Schmitt's towering portrayal is rich, meaningful, and poignant."
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $40.19   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$40.19
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(671)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
{NEW} Paperback.

Ships from: Luzerne, MI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$42.81
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(303)

Condition: New
PAPERBACK New 1561481084 This is a trade paperback.

Ships from: Staten Island, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$98.70
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(203)

Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

This book chronicles one man's battle to earn respect and an education, only to discover in mid-life that his severe mental "fog" was a serious learning disability. "Abe Schmitt's towering portrayal is rich, meaningful, and poignant."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561481088
  • Publisher: Good Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 179
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

What is dyslexia? Almost everyone who hears the term believes it means seeing words wrong, with their letters reversed or somehow distorted, out of order, or in some other ways twisted. Dyslexics, it is thought, make mistakes when they try to read, write or spell. But this widespread, everyday view of dyslexia is superficial and simplistic, even naive. Dyslexia is a highly complex, extremely puzzling set of shifting and varying conditions that may (but not always) include the letter and word reversals that everybody knows about.

Brilliant Idiot makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the dyslexic condition. Abe Schmitt's towering portrayal is rich, meaningful, and poignant. It is a book of searing honesty in which the author portrays in unstinting detail the lifelong torments he has endured and overcome.

Who is Abe Schmitt? He tells us he is a "brilliant idiot," but what does that mean? Can any one individual incorporate these contradictory attributes? This utterly convincing story gets to the heart of the perplexity that assails most dyslexic individuals through their lifespans. Their lives are filled with uncertainty and contradiction. It is painfully, unbearably difficult for dyslexics to reconcile the discrepant elements of their makeups: areas of high competence, even brilliance and genius, coexisting in some uneasy alliance with grave and humiliating evidences of profound inadequacy.

In this revelatory book, Schmitt makes a clean breast of his painful and cruel life history, shows us how he has come to an understanding of his condition, has struggled to find ways of coping with it, of reconciling the disparate attributes into a unified, gifted, and highly productive life and career. In the process, he has at last attained tranquility and wisdom. He shows us how the gift of dyslexia has enriched and ennobled him. In offering his life story, Schmitt makes us a gift of compassion and understanding that is immeasurably rewarding.

Schmitt was born into circumstances and a lifestyle that is, for most of us, exotic. His family was part of a primitive and pre-literate peasant village, the "Old Colony" Mennonites in the remote, harsh prairies of Saskatchewan. Into this family came Abe, from the beginning a bewildered and confused child, the family "schladontz" (dunce), a hopelessly inept child who could not even tie his shoes or close his fly.

Schmitt learns through intense self-searching that the global, diffuse--but creative--thinking that characterizes a predominately right-brained person like himself is sharply at variance with his confused, bumbling, left-brained mental processes, so that he is unable to handle the linear thought requirements, the organizational skills, and the verbal fluency which the conventional academic system and traditional teaching methods require. His treatment of some of the characteristic dyslexic attributes is lucid and meaningful.

An important contribution in this book is Schmitt's exposition of various possible and likely predisposing factors related to dyslexia: medical, developmental, and sociocultural. He arrives at a surmise, which is nonetheless convincing, about his origins as an Old Colony Mennonite. It may very well be that a common genetic factor within the tightly knit male community is a deeply imbedded proclivity towards language learning deficit and consequent academic inaptitude or incompetence. Perhaps dyslexic preponderance is a major element in creating the homogeneous but migrant culture that moved always to a remote region in a far-off land to shun education, while the outward explanation rationalized this characteristic as the means of protecting their pure and holy religion and lifestyle from the worldly evils of the larger literate civilization.

This book is a testament to the triumphant human spirit and a worthy--indeed indispensable--contribution to our understanding of the broader aspects of dyslexia.

Milton Brutten, Ph.D.
-- Council of Advisors, The Orton Dyslexia Society
-- Founder, Crossroads School for Dyslexic Children

Excerpt from --Chapter 1 -- My Roots

My birth certificate verifies that I was born August 7, 1927 on Section 17, Township 12, Range 13 and west of the Third Meridian in Saskatchewan, Canada. The maternity room was a farmhouse in the village of Blumenort, which was not legally incorporated and so could not be identified specifically in any other way.

I come from a Mennonite peasant village on the tree-less, windblown western Canadian prairie with no legal name. Here in southwestern Saskatchewan a primitive community of peasants had recreated a culture that they kept intact for centuries against all odds. When I was born in 1927 I was welcomed into a system that had changed very little in over 400 years.

During the early part of the 16th century a reformation was triggered within the Reformation. Herein lie my roots. My ancestors insisted on calling themselves neither Protestant nor Catholic, but rather Anabaptists and, later, Mennonites. Because they would not identify with either wing of the spiritual and social upheaval, they found themselves at odds with both and, thus, victims and martyrs on both sides.

The Anabaptists from northern Europe found refuge from persecution in and near Danzig in what was then called Prussia, now Poland. There they found a home where they could live what they defined as the totally committed Christian life. Their efforts to put their faith into practice made them cautious about participating in general society. Their belief in nonresistant love meant they could not serve in any capacity in the military, nor be part of the political system. They would not swear an oath, nor participate in the educational system of their host country. They reinforced their community and their separateness by retaining the Low German language. "Low" refers to the dialect's historic origins in medieval times in the German lowlands. The language was never written, only spoken.

My ancestors came from Friesland in The Netherlands--an area whose people even today are considered conservative, questioning all change as unnecessary or threatening. This group selected the remotest swamplands in Prussia as their home. They drained the land and prospered, and remained relatively untouched by the world for 200 years.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction
1. My Roots
2. The Idiot is Born
3. Adolescence and the Secret Idiot
4. Driver's License
5. Too Great a Leap
6. The Idiot Attempts to Teach
7. The Idiot Gets Caught
8. The Idiot as Sinner
9. In His Steps, But Ashamed
10. The Wilderness Experiment--The Idiot is Ignored
11. Across the Great Divide
12. Greek Will Always Remain Greek to Me
13. Seminary-- An Invitation to Nothing
14. My Invitation to Live
15. Last Rites for the Idiot
16. A Dyslexic Doctoral Degree
17. From Peasant to Professor
18. Diagnosis of Dyslexia
19. The Idiot Disclosed
20. Rank and I
21. Dyslexic Fathers/Dyslexic Sons
22. Living on the Right Side of the Brain
23. Creative Sublimation
24. Imprisoned by Words
25. Music: Dissonance and Desire
26. Conflict and Ecstasy: A Dyslexic Marriage
27. My Peaceable Kingdom
28. A Dwelling Designed for Dyslexia
29. A Dyslexic Dream
30. The Gift of Dyslexia
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
About the Authors

"Attests to an indomitable spirit." -- Publishers Weekly

"A truly remarkable book." -- Bookends
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)