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Publisher's Summary

"My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much, and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure." (Oliver Sacks)

No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks.

During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death.

"It is the fate of every human being," Sacks wrote, "to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death."

Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.

©2015 Oliver Sacks (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Oliver Sacks was like no other clinician, or writer. He was drawn to the homes of the sick, the institutions of the most frail and disabled, the company of the unusual and the 'abnormal'. He wanted to see humanity in its many variants and to do so in his own, almost anachronistic way - face to face, over time, away from our burgeoning apparatus of computers and algorithms. And, through his writing, he showed us what he saw." (Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal)

What listeners say about Gratitude

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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To the Point, Yet Told From the Heart

Mr. Dan Woren, as narrator, wonderfully captured the feeling behind Oliver Sacks' words. I very rarely read nonfiction, yet I was drawn to Mr. Sacks and things I had heard about him over the years. This narrative did not ramble on...it very succinctly put into sharp focus the ending chapter of Mr. Sacks' life...as I hope to understand my own last chapter...and to convey it to those I know and love, as simply and heartfelt, as he did. I enjoyed this and can see myself coming back to re-listen, just for the pure pleasure of doing so and further thought.

9 people found this helpful

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Sadness

As I finish this book I am filled with sadness, as if an old friend is saying goodbye. I have read many of Dr. Sacks books and he feels like a good friend over the past four decades of my life. I am not sure if this book would be understood by someone who has not read his other books. The book is short, not even an hour in length. It is not a book to read if you wish to feel happy after. It is a nice goodbye though so know this if you read.

6 people found this helpful

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Simple beauty

Anyone who lives Oliver will feel blessed to have heard these beautifully honest end of life words. Enjoy your day. You're alive.

6 people found this helpful

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Exalted Tribute

What a tribute to gratitude for life at its end. I would recommend this book to everyone I know.

4 people found this helpful

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Short and nothing new.

What did you like best about Gratitude? What did you like least?

I'm a huge Oliver Sacks fan and so ordered this without really reading the description. It is great if you unfamiliar with him and new to his works, but I found this extremely brief, and consisting entirely of repeats of things i had read by him elsewhere.

9 people found this helpful

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a deeply moving and heartfelt meditation.

a deeply moving and heartfelt meditation on the meaning of a life well-lived, written by one of our foremost humanists and storytellers. Oliver Sacks inspired me throughout my life, and remains one of my deepest inspirations. I only wish I had thanked him during his life.

2 people found this helpful

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A Feast in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I just listened to Oliver Sacks' very short book, GRATITUDE. He wrote it during the few weeks he had left before newly diagnosed cancer killed him. Thanks to those who brought it to press afterwards. Thanks to Audible and to the narrator Dan Woren for letting Sacks speak aloud, not just metaphorically.

As in his many other books, Sacks is passionate about life, and brings to the brink of doom gratitude for being blessed by creation. He writes without sentimentality. He is a brilliant scientist and physician. He counsels that our uniqueness never survives us, that it is appropriate to leave and appropriate sooner or later to be forgotten.

When diagnosed, Sacks reorders his time. He stops watching the News Hour. The news is important he feels, but mostly for those who still have an active stake in it. The task of those lucky enough to live to be old is to experience thoroughly the beauty and the knowledge that we have been given and to welcome the uniqueness of those who follow us.

Sacks grew up practicing Orthodox Judaism, but stopped all religious practice as a teenager when his mother told him he was going to hell because of his homosexuality.

Sacks still respected Orthodox Judaism for many of the values it nourished in him. He was grateful for the example of a Noble Prize winner who concluded that he would rather not accept the prize if doing so required him to travel on the Sabbath. Fortunately the date already chosen avoided such a conflict.

I expect to listen to this book many times. Sacks is not docile like the sheep in the 23rd Psalm, but just as grateful for the feast.

Louie Crew Clay, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

2 people found this helpful

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interesting, personal, but very brief.

I had expected to hear the article sent to the NY TIMES in addition to some final thoughts. But the article is not part of this audio.

2 people found this helpful

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moving.

I've read all of Oliver sacks books deeply moved to have one last visit with this remarkable man

4 people found this helpful

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I was expecting something more interesting

I thought it was something definitely more interesting and more teaching than this, story was ok but performance not much

1 person found this helpful