Monday, August 8, 2016
New book to be published in 2017 by Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York --
Seeing What Others Cannot See
The Hidden Advantages of Visual Thinkers
and Differently Wired Brains
by Thomas G. West
For over 25 years, Thomas Gifford West has been a leading advocate for the importance of visual thinking, visual technologies and the creative potential of individuals with dyslexia and other learning differences. In this new book, he investigates how different kinds of brains and different ways of thinking can help to make discoveries and solve problems in innovative and unexpected ways. West focuses on what he has learned over the years from a group of extraordinarily creative, intelligent and interesting people -- strong visual thinkers and those with dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, and other different ways of thinking, learning and working.
West shows that such people can provide important insights often missed by experts and professionals -- as they also can prevent institutional “group think.” Based on first-person accounts, West tells stories that include a dyslexic paleontologist in Montana, a special effects tech who worked for Pink Floyd and Kiss and who is now an advocate for those with Asperger's syndrome, a group of dyslexic master code breakers in a British electronic intelligence organization, a Colorado livestock handling expert who has become a forceful advocate for those with autism and a family of dyslexics and visual thinkers in Britain that includes four winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics. He also discusses persistent controversies and the unfolding science.
This is an inspiring book that not only documents the achievements of people with various learning differences, but reveals their great potential -- especially in a new digital age where traditional clerical and academic skills are less and less important -- while an ability to see the big picture and to understand complex patterns revealed in high-level computer information visualizations is rapidly increasing in value in the global economic marketplace.
Thomas G. West is the author of the award-winning book In the Mind's Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies and the highly acclaimed Thinking like Einstein: Returning to Our Visual Roots with the Emerging Revolution in Computer Information Visualization. In the Mind’s Eye was awarded a gold seal and selected as one of the “best of the best” for the year by the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association. The book has been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean -- and West has provided presentations for scientific, medical, art, design, computer and business groups in the U.S. and 19 foreign countries.
West continues to lecture worldwide having given presentations to the Confederation of British Industry in London, the Netherlands Design Institute in Amsterdam, a meeting of 50 Max Planck Institutes in Göttingen, Germany, the Italian Dyslexia Association in Rome, the first “Diversity Day” conference for the staff of GCHQ, the code-making and code-breaking descendants of Bletchley Park (World War II code breakers), in Cheltenham, England, scientists and artists at Green College and at Magdalen College within Oxford University, England, the Royal College of Art in London, the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, a conference at the University of Uppsala before the Queen of Sweden, the University of California at Berkeley, an education conference sponsored by Harvard and MIT, the Arts Dyslexia Trust in London, an education conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and a meeting of visualization scientists and artists sponsored by MIT and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Other presentations have included the Southwest Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, the Learning Disability Association of Taiwan, the international conference of computer graphic artists and technologists (ACM-SIGGRAPH) in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the International Symposium on Dyslexia in the Chinese Language organized by the Society of Child Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics in Hong Kong, the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, the Aspen Institute in Colorado, Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California – and a Director's Colloquium for scientists and staff of NASA Ames Research Center (at Moffett Field in California’s Silicon Valley).
In November 2014, West was invited to give five talks for the Dyslexia Association of Singapore as part of a year-long, nation-wide effort to take advantage of the distinctive talents exhibited by dyslexic children and adults. Long a leader in technological and commercial innovation, Singapore plans to lead the world with this effort as well.
The second edition of In the Mind’s Eye includes a Foreword by the late Oliver Sacks, MD, who said “In the Mind's Eye brings out the special problems of people with dyslexia, but also their strengths, which are so often overlooked. . . . It stands alongside Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind as a testament to the range of human talent and possibility.” According to one reviewer: “Every once in a while a book comes along that turns one's thinking upside down. In the Mind's Eye is just such a book.”