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Finding Genius Podcast

Jan 11, 2021

Find what you’re capable of doing, and double down on it until you do it well…and also, always try to get along with other people. These were the two primary lessons David Olney learned during his early childhood. These lessons could probably benefit any typical person, but Olney certainly learned them in an atypical way. Born with only five percent vision which was gone by the end of high school, Olney has led a unique and successful life and career.

Press play to discover:

  • How the brains of London taxi drivers and blind people compare, and why
  • Why technology to restore vision in people who have been blind for the majority of their lives actually poses a significant, difficult-to-overcome problem
  • Which function on Olney’s iPhone has added tremendous utility to his life

Olney is Associate Lecturer at Politics and International Relations (POLIR) at the University of Adelaide, whose blindness has led him to insights and understandings not always easily ascertained by sighted people.

For instance, he credits his blindness for his ability to process and find patterns in huge amounts of disparate data, which has proved useful in a number of ways, especially in terms of understanding security matters and modern war. As an example, it gave him the ability to develop a theory for making sense of Al-Qaeda—a group of people no one really knew anything about in the wake of 9/11—within just a few days, and applying this to what was in the media. Within a couple of months, he was providing lectures on the subject.

Among other topics, Olney discusses the particulars of his experience as a blind person—what he sees, what he feels, how he senses his environment, how he frames his interactions with his students and others in his life, and more.

Tune in for all the details, and check out Olney’s podcast, Blind Insights.

Useful Links to Explore:

An Insight to Blindness:

Bonus Insights - David's Journey into the Void Adelaide's CBD):

Available on Apple Podcasts: