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Stroke of Insight with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor (ep. 432)

John O’Leary welcomes Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor to the Live Inspired Podcast to share about her 8-year-long recovery from a stroke and how our brain is our most powerful ally.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist and author of the New York Times bestselling book My Stroke of Insight.

As irony would have it, at 37 years old, Dr. Jill experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain. Within hours, she lost the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life.

Today, Dr. Jill passionately shares her 8-year-long journey to rebuild her brain and recover all physical, emotional, and thinking abilities, in addition to her latest groundbreaking work: Whole Brain Living.

Beyond neuroscience, this conversation will teach you how to work with your most powerful ally, your brain, and give you insight to deepen your inner peace, joy, and fulfillment.

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  • After her brother’s diagnosis with schizophrenia, Dr. Jill became intrigued with the brain, earning her doctrine in neuroanatomy from Harvard.
  • December 10, 1996: At 37 years old, a blood vessel in Jill’s brain exploded and within four hours, was unable to function.
  • Grateful to be alive, Dr. Jill spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk.
  • With over 30 million views, watch Dr. Jill’s popular TED Talk here.
  • The right hemisphere of our brain is in the moment whereas the left hemisphere is more calculated and has linearity of time.
  • Four characters of the brain: Character 1, Left Thinking; Character 2, Left Emotion; Character 3, Right Emotion; and Character 4, Right Thinking.
  • Get a copy of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s New York Times bestselling book My Stroke of Insight here and Whole Brain Living here.

January is National Mentoring Month. When my wife Beth and I began serving with Big Brothers Big Sisters 19 years ago, we expected to make a difference in someone else’s life. Instead, we were profoundly changed by our Little Brother Travion and what he taught us about resiliency, courage, love + what life really looked like. Tune in to hear my conversation with Travion on ep. 260 now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Play and joy.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My computer. I have a beautiful portrait of my mother but it's on my computer.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? 
    A. An unknown who needed some love.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    A. Don't believe everything your brain says to you.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Everything is going to be okay.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? 
    A. I want to skid into home base completely used up, completely scarred up, completely messed up because I really lived as I ran the bases of life.