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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

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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 In his introduction to this audiobook, Sacks himself explains that much of the content is now quite outdated, but he hopes, proudly in his soft British lisp, that The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat still resonates for its positive attitude and openness toward the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 Though this last section is perhaps the most obviously scientifically outdated section of the book, it also best demonstrates Sacks' deep feeling for the unique gifts of his subjects.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

4.1 (2699 )
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Performance
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  •  
    robyn 08-26-12
    robyn 08-26-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    51
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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
    1
    ratings
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    132
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 08-07-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    12
    3
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    1
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    Story
    "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 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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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
    7
    ratings
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    39
    6
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    1
    4
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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
    74
    ratings
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    42
    18
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    1
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    Story
    "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
  •  
    Shorttyler 01-05-17
    Shorttyler 01-05-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    10
    4
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    "Utterly fascinating"

    I absolutely loved this book. Sometimes a bit too much exposition but sometimes just right.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kenneth dalton 12-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    7
    3
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    "good read for student of neurology"

    as a medical student and hopeful neurologist, I found this to be a truly enjoyable book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Guindon Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 10-29-16
    Eric Guindon Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 10-29-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dated but great."

    So fascinating. Some of the language and terminology is no longer in use in psychology or neurobiology because it is offensive or inaccurate but the author even comments on how some of the terms are degrading and inadequate.
    He is clearly a skilled and perceptive physician whi describes and writes about his patients in a deeply compassionate and insightful way.
    I haven't been this engaged in a book for a long time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bri 10-23-16
    Bri 10-23-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting."

    Never read anything quite like it. A slightly rambling collection of case studies with a gently stated message on human value. I would certainly purchase volume 2 if it existed.
    The narration was excellent in tone and emphasis, pitch perfect to my ear.

    If you have even a passing interest in mental health/psychology consider buying this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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