Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Neurological dysfunction is Oliver Sacks field of study and training. The irony is that a tumor attacks his brain to end his life. Of course, he was 82. But somehow, a tumor attacking Sacks’ brain seems an unfair marker for his passing. Sacks opens the eyes of many to the wholeness of being human when a neurological dysfunction changes their lives. Sacks is the famous neurologist who wrote one book that becomes a movie and several that become best sellers.
Sacks is famous to some based on the movie “Awakenings” that recounts an experiment with L-dopa to treat catatonia; a symptom believed to be triggered by Parkinson’s. Patients may spend years in a state of catatonia; i.e. a form of withdrawal from the world exhibited by a range of behaviors from mutism to verbal repetition. Sacks wrote the book, “Awakenings” to tell of his experience in the summer of 1969 in a Bronx, New York hospital. The success and failure of the L-dopa experiment became a life-long commitment by Sacks to appreciate the fullness of life for those afflicted by neurological disorders. With the use of L-dopa, Sacks reawakens the minds and rational skills of patients that had been catatonic for years. In their reawakening, Sacks found that catatonic patients have lives frozen in time. Their mind/body interactions became suspended in the eyes of society. They were always human but they lost their humanness in neurological disorder.
Sacks is saying never give up on patients with neurological disorders. They are whole human beings. The neurologist’s job, as with all who practice medicine, is “first, do no harm”. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” illustrates how seriously Sacks took his calling.
The stories about the struggles of people and the way these stories are told: stories about our loved ones and not just 'research subjects'.
The ending. The gloomy reality of people who are forgotten, or ignored.
No. This was my first book by Oliver Sacks, and Jonathan Davis' performance.
This is a book about bizarre neurological conditions. Although many of the cases involve tragically crippled individuals, this is anything but a morbid catalogue of illnesses. Neither is it a dry scientific tract. Every story is suffused with a great respect for the human potential, and with a sense of wonder at the unimaginable complexity of the brain and the mind. Reading this book, you appreciate how little understood, how mysterious the functioning of the mind still remains after decades of research. You feel an almost spiritual awe while reading this book. It's a great antidote to the depressingly mechanistic, "love is hormone a plus hormone b" view of human nature. Oliver Sacks also emphasizes the importance of art (especially music) to the human mind and to the recovery of many of his patients. (The topic of music from the point of view of neuroscience is specifically explored in Oliver Sacks's book "Musicophilia," which I also can't recommend enough!) This book is fascinating, enlightening, and in its own way, inspiring. It's also written in an engaging, accessible, poetic, and profoundly sympathetic manner. In the book, the author mentions a need for "romantic science," and that phrase is probably the best description for it. I dare anyone who claims that human behavior is governed by well understood mechanical processes to read Oliver Sacks and not feel their opinion challenged.
Still my favourite book after many years since I read it the first time. The stories range from funny to tragic to amazing and heart warming and you will be left wanting more when you finish.
The narration is executed very well also. The narrator manages to give each character a unique and fitting voice that adds to the experience.
Such an enjoyable and often moving book about patients dealing with neurological impairment. It makes you consciously aware of how hard their lives might be. In some cases, how beautiful it must also be to have their minds.
For myself being in the field of psychology and working with individuals with the diagnoses discussed in tis book it was amazing! So intriguing and fascinating. A little dull voiced at times but still such amazing content.
The examples of patient curiosities were fascinating but the level on which this was written made me wish I were reading it on a Kindle so I could get instant definitions of the vocabulary being used. There was a lot of "doctor talk" which makes it challenging for those not in the medical field.