Defiant Mind, The

The Defiant Mind

Living Inside a Stroke

By Ron Smith

$29.95 (hc) / $22.95 (pb)

    • September 2016
    • hardcover ISBN 978-1-55380-464-2
    • paperback ISBN 978-1-55380-480-2
    • ebook ISBN: 978-1-55380-465-9
    • PDF ISBN: 978-1-55380-466-6
    • 6″ x 9″, 316 pages
    • Nonfiction, Memoir


“What is a stroke?” This is the question that plagues Ron Smith as he emerges from the carpet bombing of his brain. The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke is a first-person account of a massive ischemic stroke to the brain stem. Smith takes the reader inside the experience and shows how recuperation happens ― the challenges of communication, the barriers to treatment, the frustrations of being misunderstood and written off, the role of memory in recovering identity, the power of continuing therapy, and the passionate will to live. Full of arresting anecdote, enlivened by a vivid and vigorous style, the book tells of successes and failures and draws on the newest research in stroke treatment. The Defiant Mind is a necessary book for stroke survivors still dealing with the effects of their trauma and for caregivers, vital to the process of recuperation, who feel hampered and harried by concern and confusion. For medical professionals, the book offers insights into the workings of the brain, the power of the brain to heal, critiques of conventional limits imposed on therapy and suggestions for ways to improve care.

Awards, Reviews & Praise

Winner: IPPY Gold Medal, Autobiography/Memoir
Longlisted: George Ryga Award for Social Awareness

This much-needed book fills a void in our literature by expressively taking the reader through the experience of suffering a stroke, which of course includes the physical disability, but also the cognitive, the emotional, and the experiential effects of this disease.”
— Noreen Kamal PEng, PhD, Alberta Stroke Program (QuICR)

“I thoroughly enjoyed Ron Smith’s book. I couldn’t put it down. Even without a stroke, his book is an amazing, lucid, literate, informative read. And to think he did this after a debilitating stroke leaves me grasping for superlatives.”
— Bruce Hunter, author of In the Bear’s House, Toronto

In The Defiant Mind recovery is a sort of miracle, the literary enterprise even more so. An outstanding read, it is an extraordinary balancing of the various elements of narrative.”
— Ada Donati, poet, translator, art critic, Rome, Italy

I finished reading The Defiant Mind and LOVED IT. Beautifully written by an accomplished writer and now stroke survivor making a clear point that defiance (with unconditional support) is the first step to making hope a reality.”
— Jean Woo, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Research, Ottawa

“The really important feature of Ron Smith’s book is that it emphasizes the effect that stroke has on the whole person. Stroke changes your very essence, changing what you can do, how you think and feel, how you experience the world and who you are.”
— Michael D. Hill, MD MSc FRCPC, Calgary Stroke Program, Dept. Clinical Neurosciences, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

“Not only does this memoir illuminate stroke at a personal level, but it also brings clarity to the essence of ‘health care.’ This book should be required reading for all leaders in health care and for student therapists.”
— Pam Aikman Ramsay, Provincial Director, Stroke Services BC, Vancouver

“[The Defiant Mind] is a clear and eloquent account of a personal stroke story that more than anything else reminds us that behind every stroke is an individual and that every stroke recovery journey is unique.”
— Stephanie Lawrence, Senior Manager, Communications, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ottawa

“The Defiant Mind closed a gap for me . . . it allowed me to understand (and in a way come to peace with) my dad’s stroke all these years later.”
— Elizabeth Takac, Coordinator, Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation

“Ron Smith has written a wonderful book about surviving a stroke. The Defiant Mind is a MUST READ for stroke survivors, their caregivers, as well as a general audience.”
— Glen Tibbits, PhD, Professor and Chair, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, SFU; Canada Research Chair in Molecular Cardiac Physiology; Vice Chair of the Scientific Review Committee, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada