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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

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.
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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 In his introduction to this audiobook, Sacks himself explains that much of the content is now quite outdated, but he hopes, proudly in his soft British lisp, that The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat still resonates for its positive attitude and openness toward the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

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  •  
    Amazon Kunde 03-01-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "A must-read"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Another David 10-27-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, not the best narrator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, absolutely. Very interesting stories. The book moves along quickly.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think the first story was the best, actually: the man who mistook his wife for a hat.


    What three words best describe Jonathan Davis and Oliver Sacks (Introduction) ’s voice?

    "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.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    IttyBitty Metropolis 10-15-15
    IttyBitty Metropolis 10-15-15

    The littlest kitty

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    8
    3
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    "A little dense for the layman, but fascinating."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Hawryluk 10-11-15
    N. Hawryluk 10-11-15 Member Since 2016

    SpikeDelight

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    "Really Fascinating, But Loses Steam"

    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]

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "food for thought"

    intriguing accounts of medical cases from a human caring individual. eye opening for someone without formal education in neuroscience

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meep 09-21-15
    Meep 09-21-15
    ratings
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    18
    1
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    Story
    "ok, I've enjoyed other Oliver Sacks books more"

    I like more story and explanation and less pontification. This book is about 35% story and 65% pontification.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Manning Portland, OR 07-31-15
    Nicole Manning Portland, OR 07-31-15 Member Since 2012

    author

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Dry diary of a doctor, great for insomnulent"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Doctors who like listening to other doctors


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He was very wooden and self satisfied.


    What character would you cut from The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?

    The doctor who wrote it.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter and Katherine 06-29-15 Member Since 2012

    Adventure and suspense please!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fabulous for Psych Buffs"
    Any additional comments?

    Love learning about psychology? No one teaches quite like Oliver Sacks. His anecdotal style is highly engaging and entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    general lee new york 06-18-15
    general lee new york 06-18-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enlightening"

    This book was intelligent and a pleasure to read. The author really brings you into his world and the world of the patient

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bullwinkle 06-12-15
    Bullwinkle 06-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    24
    4
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    Story
    "Interesting subjects"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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