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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales Audiobook
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales
Written by: 
Oliver Sacks
Narrated by: 
Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales Audiobook

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales

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Audible Editor Reviews

Groundbreaking neurologist Oliver Sacks has written a number of best-selling books on his experiences in the field, some of which have been adapted into film and even opera. Often criticized by fellow scientists for his writerly and anecdotal approach to cases, he is nevertheless beloved by the general public precisely for his willingness to exercise compassion toward his unusual subjects. In his introduction to this audiobook, Sacks himself explains that much of the content is now quite outdated, but he hopes, proudly in his soft British lisp, that The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat still resonates for its positive attitude and openness toward the neurological conditions described therein.

Audible featured narrator Jonathan Davis is more than up to the task of bringing these case studies to life. He adopts a tone that is both sympathetic and authoritative. In fact, he sounds very much like the actor William Daniels, who voiced the car in the television show Knight Rider, or for a younger generation, played Principal Feeny in the television show Boy Meets World. The stories in this book concern matters of science, to be sure, but they also contain quite as much adventure into uncharted territory as either of those television shows.

The cases are divided into four sections: losses, excesses, transports, and the world of the simple. "Losses" involves people who lack certain abilities, for example, the ability of facial recognition. "Excesses" deals with people who have extra abilities, for example, the tics associated with Tourette's Syndrome. "Transports" involves people who hallucinate, for example, a landscape or music from childhood. "The world of the simple" deals with autism and mental retardation. Though this last section is perhaps the most obviously scientifically outdated section of the book, it also best demonstrates Sacks' deep feeling for the unique gifts of his subjects. Indeed, Davis anchors his delivery of the facts in these admirable empathies, demonstrating that in terms of the cultural perception of neurological conditions, Sacks' early work still has much to teach us. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century" (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks' splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject".

PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.

©1970, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985 Oliver Sacks (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Dr. Sacks's best book.... One sees a wise, compassionate and very literate mind at work in these 20 stories, nearly all remarkable, and many the kind that restore one's faith in humanity." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Dr. Sacks's most absorbing book.... His tales are so compelling that many of them serve as eerie metaphors not only for the condition of modern medicine but of modern man." (New York magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2335 )
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4.0 (2015 )
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4.2 (2007 )
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Performance
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  •  
    robyn 08-26-12
    robyn 08-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"
    Would you listen to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales again? Why?

    Yes. It was interesting and moving and well narrated. Made me laugh out loud espite its seriousness.


    What other book might you compare The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales to and why?

    Musicophelia, Awakenings, similar subject matter and same author.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The man who mistook his wife for a hat


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly 08-14-12
    Holly 08-14-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    0
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    "Alright....."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Update of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I would have realized how long ago this book was written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer United States 08-07-12
    Kindle Customer United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    10
    3
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    "Great clinical case studies!"
    Where does The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great author and narrator


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?

    Great book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    All of them


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me smile and chuckle. Made me appreciate life


    Any additional comments?

    Recommend it

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen beaverton, OR, United States 06-11-12
    Colleen beaverton, OR, United States 06-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    13
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    "Fascinating Book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are reading this review it is because you are interested in the topic. It wont disappoint. The mind is amazing and these stories are as well.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The lady who had been "babied" her whole life that she didn't even know she could do things like feed herself.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Oliver Sacks (Introduction) ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The lady mentioned above.


    Any additional comments?

    The stories of these people are so interesting, you will be discussing them with your friends.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Hewett 05-23-12
    K. Hewett 05-23-12 Member Since 2014

    Mystery Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    36
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    1
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    "Loved it"

    Even though this book is dated, actually BECAUSE this book is dated it becomes even more interesting! Really worth the read if you are interested in the way our brain's work!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent 12-30-11
    Brent 12-30-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
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    42
    18
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    "interesting case studies"

    Interesting case studies are presented, but I would have preferred to hear a little more in depth input on the theories of what caused these abnormalities and what malfunctioned in the brain. The collection of stories and cases studies seemed to be rather disconnected to one another. It might have been a better read had they focused on only one aspect of brain malfunction and dove deeper into the symptoms and cause.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitzie Gordon 07-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    1
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    "Review the man who mistook his wife for a hat"

    loved it. it was very clearly narrated and i could easily follow thr different stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Kay 07-27-16
    G Kay 07-27-16
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    "A book of passion and scientific insight"
    What did you love best about The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?

    The stories about the struggles of people and the way these stories are told: stories about our loved ones and not just 'research subjects'.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?

    The ending. The gloomy reality of people who are forgotten, or ignored.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Oliver Sacks (Introduction) ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. This was my first book by Oliver Sacks, and Jonathan Davis' performance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    paula b. 07-26-16
    paula b. 07-26-16
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Clinical but still understandable!"

    A fantastic narration by the professional reader.
    The tales were just enough information to be engaging. Clinical yet able to follow easily.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kat Cat 07-03-16
    Kat Cat 07-03-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
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    Story
    "Endless wonder"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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