To these seven narratives of neurological disorder, Dr. Sacks brings the same humanity, poetic observation, and infectious sense of wonder that are apparent in his best sellers Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. These men, women, and one extraordinary child emerge as brilliantly adaptive personalities, whose conditions have not so much debilitated them as ushered them into another reality.
PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.
©1995 Oliver Sacks (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"True to his past work, he offers compelling stories told with the cognizance of a clinician and the heart and compassion of a poet." (Library Journal)
54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.
. The jaw dropping stories in this book mated to Sack`s insight, sensitivity, and remarkable articulation are a balm for the soul and candy for the mind. His humanity and his remarkable ability to communicate the experiences of his patients and his own insight make him unique and unforgetable.
The underlying premise for all these cases which sacks brings to light- is the unusual and unforeseen positive path the disabilities of these patients and disabilities in general can (after breaking through) engender.
I am similar to those stories enclosed-in a way. 10 yrs ago I stepped out of the shower heard a crack and have been in terrible crippling disabling pain ever since. I went from being a very fit,strong and super active father of 2 very small boys to being bedridden and writhing in pain.. Things are marginally better now,but the point is- I started using audible books at the start because I couldnt do anything else-including tv. Audible books not only helped me endure the isolation, pain and loss of a way of life-it replaced my physical world with a mental one (generalization)-one in which I'm now relatively happy. This totally unexpected and unforeseen journey from one state of being to another positive state, is part of what is explored in this book. It is no exaggeration to say that audible books saved my life.
I'm not sure just where this book fits into his bibliography, I've read them as I've come across them. and have pretty much enjoyed them all. The narrator (Jonathan Davis) who has done most if not all his books when sacks hasn't done the work himself is utterly perfect, getting the tone, timing and inflection just right.
This book enriched my mind and soul,altered my perspective and relieved the mind numbing effect of a shockingly dumbed down world- at least for a few hours. Now that's credit worthy!!
I really like listening to Oliver Sack's books; the narrators help bring the anecdotes to life and present the drier explanations of neurological anatomy and science clearly (and allow me to drift a bit, without completely skipping material which is fascinating, but fairly difficult).
This book focuses on the inspiring abilities of several individuals to live with and positively leverage potentially debilitating neurological disorders. While I've seen other material about Temple Grandin and Steven Wiltshire, I really appreciated the more in-depth and intimate information about how they and the other "Martians" in this book live, apply their exceptional talents, and face the existential challenge of being so very different in a society where "difference" is not understood, accommodated, or accepted.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Some readers complain of the overly metaphysical nature of Oliver Sachs' The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat (and I do agree that he seems to mistake, surprisingly often for such an educated man, "personality" for "the soul" in that book and that he does ramble a bit into the etheric realms in "Hat," clouding his scientific points.) For those, I would recommend Anthropologist on Mars. This is the best of Sachs, as he returns to what makes Awakenings so good to read: it brings complex medicine to the layman's terms (without dumbing down) and it includes the human element of neurology and neurological conditions without the threats of floating off into abstract philosophy as in "Hat."
Oliver sacks provides entertaining and informative stories of people living with various brain abnormalities. In this book, sacks focused on abnormalities that often compelled the individual to record their environment in extreme ways. For example, Sacks suggest maybe we are all hardwired for recording history, since our only tools for millions of years were our brains and voices, and we handed down an oral history of human existence, throughout the generations. However, in some individuals, the areas responsible for this are overly active, and often the other parts of the brain are under-active. This results in echolalia, a perfect recording of the environment that can be reproduced over and over, a perfect memory that can produce drawings of whole cities-- even years after the artist saw it, a replication of various sounds-- such as instruments, an obsession on preserving the past-- as with someone stuck in the past and unable to live in the present day.
Sacks also gives a wonderful account of his interviews and examinations of Temple Grandin. Instead of seeing her brain as defective, Sacks truly wants to understand how she might simply think differently. Even when Grandin herself views her brain as defective, it is clear Sacks is more interested in understanding the way her brain works than he is in judging if it's defective or not.
Sacks is an excellent writer. The pages flew by and in no time, the book was sadly over. I love him so much; time to start a new Sacks book.
I really enjoyed the open-ended style in which the author framed his understanding. From a basis of such extensive experience, he drew me along on an inquisitive journey of real and practical use to my life circumstances.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is not one of my favorite Oliver Sacks books. The tone is a bit more personal and less technical than some of the other books and I found the case studies a bit less fascinating than his earlier books. Nevertheless these books always get me thinking and this book was no exception. I find these case studies of the effects of specific kinds of brain damage are useful in evaluating various theories of brain function and even theories about artificial intelligence. I particularly found the interview with Temple Grandin thought provoking.
If you have liked the author's previous books you will probably like this one as well, just not quite as much.
It isn't going to be for everyone, but it is an interesting look at 7 case studies of persons with exceptional brain problems, through accident, birth, or otherwise, and the exploration and examination of both the problem and the person.
I found it fascinating and highly enjoyable.
Even so talented a writer as Dr. Sachs needs an equally talented editor. The individual case histories are truly interesting. However, the piling on and up of scientific minutiae is tedious. It detracts from the story. In fact, I gave up midway through the third story, feeling a scream coming on much as when trapped in a boring college lecture.
This book is not one of Sachs' best and I will not recommend it.
"Thoughtful, melancholy and inspiring"
Looks at some difficult and hard to talk about subjects in an often positive and uplifting light. Takes the line of some people being more 'different' than 'damaged' and often strives to see the best in these situations. You also get to feel very up close and personal to the people involved.
Person-centred outlook on neurological conditions.
Yes. And very nearly did.
"Wonderful as always"
Oliver Sacks is hard to beat for fascinating, humane, and beautifully written stories of neurology and the human condition, and this book is full of the mix of sadness of wonder one expects. Docked a point for the reader, who is a little flat; what a shame it's not read by Sacks himself.
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