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 In his introduction to this audiobook, Sacks himself explains that much of the content is now quite outdated, but he hopes, proudly in his soft British lisp, that The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat still resonates for its positive attitude and openness toward the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 Though this last section is perhaps the most obviously scientifically outdated section of the book, it also best demonstrates Sacks' deep feeling for the unique gifts of his subjects.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
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.
"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)
This is a fantastic book, although I was occasionally annoyed by the author's constant use of the word "soul". Surely, by soul one can understand emergent properties of the brain, but in its religious sense it is best shown to be void of any substance and evidence precisely by this book.
Yes, absolutely. Very interesting stories. The book moves along quickly.
I think the first story was the best, actually: the man who mistook his wife for a hat.
"Way too dramatic." He draws out the ends of his words in order to be more dramatic. Comes across as just way overdoing it. Kinda reminds me of Reginald Barclay, for the trekkies in the audience.
The one where the woman with paulsy gets the use of her hands back was great. It was particularly interesting to me because I had recently heard a story on NPR about a blind man who can function normally using echolocation. The whole story is about how if you assume a disabled person can't do something and never give them the opportunity, then they'll never learn. Both great stories, but it was nice to see this having been written back in 1980something.
If you, like me, have very little patients for annoying narrators, read this book in parts. it's very well set up to be read in parts.
Clinical terms used where more recognizable (or maybe just less specific) labels may have sufficed, myopic vs shortsighted. I really found that his insights on the MR individuals were truly new and interesting to me. As someone with an interest in neuroscience, I was a little bored by some of the accounts. But it seemed that Mr. Sacks saved the best for last.
Engaging, fascinating studies of unusual neurological disorders. Opened with several real head-scratchers that were presented almost like mystery writing, giving the reader a chance to guess what's going on, and painting the patients very human ways. Got progressively less interesting as it went on, but worth reading for the high points. [AUDIBLE]
Doctors who like listening to other doctors
He was very wooden and self satisfied.
The doctor who wrote it.
Adventure and suspense please!
Love learning about psychology? No one teaches quite like Oliver Sacks. His anecdotal style is highly engaging and entertaining.
Not clinical at all. Stories of patience. I've always wondered in minds that can't express themselves. What are they thinking? Is there anyone there? Yes there is.
Report Inappropriate Content