The Boy Who Felt Too Much
How a Renowned Brain Researcher and His Son Changed Our Image of Autism Forever

How a Family’s Unconditional Love Led to a Scientific Paradigm Shift.

Henry Markram is the Elon Musk of neuroscience, the man behind the billion-dollar Blue Brain Project to build a supercomputer model of the brain. He has set the goal of decoding all disturbances of the mind within a generation. This quest is personal for him. The driving force behind his grand ambition has been his son Kai, who has autism. Raising Kai made Henry Markram question all that he thought he knew about neuroscience, and then inspired his groundbreaking research that would upend the conventional wisdom about autism, expressed in his now-famous theory of Intense World Syndrome.

When Kai was first diagnosed, his father consulted studies and experts. He knew as much about the human brain as almost anyone but still felt as helpless as any parent confronted with this condition in his child. What’s more, the scientific consensus that autism was a deficit of empathy didn’t mesh with Markram’s experience of his son. He became convinced that the disorder, which has seen a 657 percent increase in diagnoses over the past decade, was fundamentally misunderstood. Bringing his world-class research to bear on the problem, he devised a radical new theory of the disorder: People like Kai don’t feel too little; they feel too much. Their senses are too delicate for this world.


»Lorenz Wagner's book on the remarkable Markrams is, well, remarkable. This is an extraordinary story of noted neuroscientists seeing the world through the eyes of their ASD son, and then helping change the way autism is seen and treated far and wide.A tale of love, constancy and groundbreaking research.«
Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of 'Life, Animated, A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism'

»A compelling story about one of the world's most brilliant researchers searching to understand his son's autism. A gloriously positive book. Left me with hope for humanity«
David Sinclair, PhD, AO is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of the New York Times bestseller 'Why We Age - and Why We Don't Have To'

»Wagner does an exceptional job of mixing biography with complex yet accessible neuroscience. Essential for parents, educators, physicians, and specialists working with children of all ages.«
Library Journal

»A wonderful book.«
NZZ am Sonntag

»Very personal and touching (...) conveys fascinating insights into the human brain. A captivating book that encourages.«
Bild der Wissenschaft

»At the end of this brilliant reportage you have both read about an extraordinary family history as well as about the persistent, laborious, but highly vivid hunt for real knowledge.«
Der Falter

»Lorenz Wagner has written an impressive portrait and managed successfully to make at least partially comprehensible highly complex processes. A very interesting read.«
Reutlinger General-Anzeiger

»A moving father-son-story interspersed with elegant scientific prose about regions of the human brain, which are still terra incognita. Thoroughly researched and brilliantly written.«
Weser Kurier

»This entire book is an appeal to the love of human variety, a resourceful vision of appreciating each and every one of our strengths. [Lorenz Wagner] casts a stimulating and encouraging view of our changing world.«
amazon reader

»Touching and groundbreaking.«

Original Language

German, Europa Verlag

Rights sold

GERMAN (audiobook) Steinbach sprechende Bücher/SAGA Egmont/Lindhardt/Ringhof
GERMAN (paperback) Lübbe

CHINESE (simplified) Archipel
DUTCH Uitgeverij Brandt
ENGLISH (NA) Arcade|Skyhorse
ENGLISH (ANZ) Allen & Unwin
KOREAN Gimm Young

Available Material

German pdf
English translation


on behalf of the author
World excl. German, Italian, Korean

© Julian Baumann

Lorenz Wagner

Lorenz Wagner, for years chief reporter of the Financial Times Deutschland, and author of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, is one of Germany's most renowned journalists. He wrote exclusive close-ups of Susanne Klatten, Melinda Gates and Jeff Bezos and has received many awards, such as the Theodor Wolff Prize, the German Journalism Prize and the Media Prize of the German Society for Internal Medicine.