I think Bauby is a hero as a man who lived brave with noble resignation and completed extraordinary new thing in an extreme condition. There are many films about heroes who fight against daunting odds, but no "locked-in syndrome" hero before him.
"Not to lose humanity, it is the way to survive." He tried to rise up above his emotional reaction to that miserable condition and used his brains, thinking, imagination and memory to the fullest.
I haven't read the book, but seeing from the film, I understand his wit, imagination and healthy cynicism. This is an excerpt from customer reviews; "Bauby's book, for all the horror that we naturally feel at his status, is wonderfully optimistic and life affirming. Sure, there are a few moments of well earned self pity, but they are almost completely drowned out by the author's enduring hopes and dreams and memories. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after this book was published, but in it's pages, he left behind one of the great testament's to the splendor and majesty of the human spirit. In these times when people tend to complain about the pettiest matters, he reminds us that even when life is genuinely difficult, it is still quite beautiful and invaluable and well worth living."