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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Gratitude, On the Move, and Musicophilia, a collection of essays that displays Oliver Sacks' passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience.

Oliver Sacks, a scientist and a storyteller, is beloved by all for the extraordinary neurological case histories (Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars) in which he introduced and explored many now familiar disorders - autism, Tourette's syndrome, face blindness, savant syndrome. He was also a memoirist who wrote with honesty and humor about the remarkable and strange encounters and experiences that shaped him (Uncle Tungsten, On the Move, Gratitude). Sacks, an Oxford-educated polymath, had a deep familiarity not only with literature and medicine but with botany, animal anatomy, chemistry, the history of science, philosophy, and psychology. The River of Consciousness is one of two books Sacks was working on up to his death, and it reveals his ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what makes us human.

©2017 Oliver Sacks (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

Absorbing and relatable, historically educational and philosophically engaging. I loved every subject and supposition, constantly feeling like Sacks asked (and answered) questions I had not considered since childhood.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 11-16-17

Important but Less Interesting

This was written based upon an outline and notes from Oliver Sacks after his death and is quite a bit more rambling that most of Sacks' books. This book is about the brain and quirks of brain processing but is very different from most Sacks' books. It seems the underlying theme is the dysfunction of science blinded by prevalent theories and the old ideas of influential scientists. The book describes how these influences can stymie scientific progress for decades leaving well meaning scientists effectively blind to obvious evidence right before their eyes.

Perhaps this is Sacks' most important book but it was not the most interesting or compelling of his books.

This was worth reading, but I would read everything else by Sacks first.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Essential Scientific overview and philosophical topics naughts

Dr. Sacks is a scientific omnivore, historian, contributor and philosopher in the broadest sense. In this brief treatise, he shows the beauty of scientific history, the painful
Losses of information through social rejection and scientific ill-preparedness, laments the losses of carefully descriptive observations that have contribute meaningfully to present day science, even when exhumed centuries later.
Characteristically unemotional but always poetic, he describes his experience of recovery from radio pharmaceutical ablation of his melanoma metastatic to liver, his recovery after legs surgery in Switzerland and his experiences of migraines and how these informed his understanding of the experience and mechanism of disease.
He elucidates how, from seemingly humble beginnings, the understanding of the physiology of consciousness is emerging.
Most importantly, he shares a truly final observation that we all lose out when new ideas and evidence are eschewed by rigid minds and egos that perceive self destruction rather than curiosity and the potential for growth in the face of the unexpected.
Dr.Sacks’ death is a tragedy for us all, but we can rejoice that he left many of his thoughts on paper, to be enjoyed by all who are curious and open to new ways of understanding the world.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Rehash

Nothing new here. Brilliant mind, wonderful man, but here are old info and ideas rehashed.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enlightening book in many regards, from Darwin to

I enjoyed learning so much more about the mind and Darwin post Origin of Species and Freud pre-psychoanalical career

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Alissa
  • Massachusetts
  • 11-27-17

A book about other books

Just annoyed but the number of times other books were mentioned over and over again in The River of Consciousness. Overall it lacked the feeling of any original content. Was hoping for more. It was also a compilation/work created for Sacks because he had unfortunately passed before it was completed.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful