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Oliver Sacks was born in London and educated in London, Oxford, and California. He practices neurology in New York City, where he is also clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and adjunct professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. Author of such classic works as Awakenings and Uncle Tungsten, Oliver Sacks has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. He is a member of the American Fern Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
April 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Hilary Mantel... In The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, the famous neurologist Oliver Sacks opened his casebook to show the strangeness of the human condition. No invention could match these real-life cases for interest, and he marries the scientist’s precision to the intensely perceptive, intuitive qualities of a born artist.
Oliver Sacks died in August 2015 at his home in Greenwich Village, surrounded by his close friends and family. He was 82. He spent his final days doing what he loved: playing the piano, swimming, enjoying smoked salmon - and writing. As Dr Sacks looked back over his long, adventurous life his final thoughts were of gratitude. In a series of remarkable, beautifully written and uplifting meditations, in Gratitude Dr Sacks reflects on and gives thanks for a life well lived, and expresses his thoughts on growing old, facing terminal cancer and reaching the end. I cannot pretend I am without fear. But 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; I have read and travelled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. 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 war der beruhmteste Neurologe der Welt. Mit seinen Fallgeschichten hat er uns einen neuen Blick auf Krankheiten und Abweichungen gelehrt: Was bei einem Patienten auf den ersten Blick als Storung erscheint, ermoglicht oft besondere Fahigkeiten der Wahrnehmung. Mit diesem Buch hat Sacks eine von fesselnder Energie getriebene Autobiographie vorgelegt. Ehrlich und anrhrend beschreibt er die wichtigsten Stationen seines Lebens - das enge Grobritannien der Nachkriegszeit, das anarchische Kalifornien der frhen Sechziger, schlielich das ewig pulsierende New York. Ob er in der Forschung ttig ist oder in der klinischen Praxis, konstant bleiben die Begeisterung fr die Arbeit mit den Patienten und das Schreiben darber. Gerhmt fr seine feinsinnigen Fallgeschichten, analysiert Sacks hier seinen eigenen Fall: Er erzhlt von erfllter und unerfllter Liebe, der Beziehung zu seiner jdischen Medizinerfamilie, zeitweiliger Drogensucht und exzessivem Bodybuilding und von unbndigen Glcksgefhlen auf den Road Trips durch die Weiten Nordamerikas. Die Lebensbilanz eines auergewhnlichen Mediziners - und das Meisterwerk eines groartigen Erzhlers.
When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: ';Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.' It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life.With unbridled honesty and humor, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passionsweight lifting and swimmingalso drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientistsThom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crickwho influenced him. On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writerand of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.
With an introduction by Will Self. A classic work of psychology, this international bestseller provides a groundbreaking insight into the human mind. If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it. In this extraordinary book, Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities; who have been dismissed as autistic or retarded, yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales illuminate what it means to be human. A provocative exploration of the mysteries of the human mind, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a million-copy bestseller by the twentieth century's greatest neurologist.
Have you ever seen something that wasn't really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing? Hallucinations don't belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one's own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them. In Hallucinations, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Oliver Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture's folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.
Have you ever seen something that wasn't really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing? Hallucinations don't belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny, Lilliputian figures of animals and people. People with failing eyesight, paradoxically, may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world. Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep, when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres. Those who are bereaved may receive comforting ';visits' from the departed. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one's own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them. As a young doctor in California in the 1960s, Oliver Sacks had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics. These, along with his early migraine experiences, launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience. Here, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr. Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture's folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.Permissions AcknowledgmentsGrateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:American Academy of Neurology: Excerpt from ';Anton's Syndrome Accompanying Withdrawal Hallucinosis in a Blind Alcoholic' by Barbara E. Swartz and John C. M. Brust from Neurology 34 (1984). Reprinted by permission of the American Academy of Neurology as administered by Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research.American Psychiatric Publishing: Excerpt from ';Weir Mitchell's Visual Hallucinations as a Grief Reaction' by Jerome S. Schneck, M.D., from American Journal of Psychiatry (1989). Copyright 1989 by American Journal of Psychiatry. Reprinted by permission of American Psychiatric Publishing a division of American Psychiatric Association.BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.: Excerpt from ';Heautoscopy, Epilepsy and Suicide' by P. Brugger, R. Agosti, M. Regard, H. G. Wieser and T. Landis from Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, July 1, 1994. Reprinted by permission of BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. as administered by the Copyright Clearance Center.Cambridge University Press: Excerpts from Disturbances of the Mind by Douwe Draaisma, translated by Barbara Fasting. Copyright 2006 by Douwe Draaisma. Reprinted by permission of Cambridge University Press.Canadian Psychological Association: Excerpt from ';Effects of Decreased Variation of the Sensory Environment' by W. H. Bexton, W. Heron and T. H. Scott from Canadian Psychology (1954). Copyright 1954 by Canadian Psychological Association. Excerpt from ';Perceptual Changes after Prolonged Sensory Isolation (Darkness and Silence)' by John P. Zubek, Dolores Pushkar, Wilma Sansom and J. Gowing from Canadian Psychology (1961). Copyright 1961 by Canadian Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission of Canadian Psychological Association.Elsevier Limited: Excerpt from ';Migraine: From Cappadocia to Queen Square' in Background to Migraine, edited by Robert Smith (London: William Heinemann, 1967). Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Limited.The New York Times: Excerpts from ';Lifting, Lights, and Little People' by Siri Hustvedt from The New York Times Blog, February 17, 2008. Reprinted by permission of The New York Times as administered by PARS International Corp.Oxford University Press: Excerpt from ';Dostoiewski's Epilepsy' by T. Alajouanine from Brain, June 1, 1963. Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press as administered by Copyright Clearance Center.Royal College of Psychiatrists: Excerpt from ';Sudden Religious Conversion in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy' by Kenneth Dewhurst and A. W. Beard from British Journal of Psychiatry 117 (1970). Reprinted by permission of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.Scientific American: Excerpt from ';Abducted!' by Michael Shermer from Scientifi c American 292 (2005). Copyright 2005 by Scientifi c American, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Scientific American.Vintage Books: Excerpts from Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, copyright 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1967, copyright renewed 1994 by the Estate of Vladimir Nabokov. Used by permission of Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
`Light and fast-moving, unburdened by library research but filled with erudition' New Yorker Oliver Sacks, the bestselling author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is most famous for his studies of the human mind: insightful and beautifully characterized portraits of those experiencing complex neurological conditions. However, he has another scientific passion: the fern. Since childhood Oliver has been fascinated by the ability of these primitive plants to survive and adapt in many climates. Oaxaca Journal is the enthralling account of his trip, alongside a group of fellow fern enthusiasts, to the beautiful province of Oaxaca, Mexico. Bringing together Oliver's endless curiosity about natural history and the richness of human culture with his sharp eye for detail, this book is a captivating evocation of a place, its plants, its people, and its myriad wonders.
'The story of a disease that plunged its victims into a prison of viscous time, and the drug that catapulted them out of it' Guardian Hailed as a medical classic, and the subject of a major feature film as well as radio and stage plays and various TV documentaries, Awakenings by Oliver Sacks is the extraordinary account of a group of twenty patients. Rendered catatonic by the sleeping-sickness epidemic that swept the world just after the First World War, all twenty had spent forty years in hospital: motionless and speechless; aware of the world around them, but exhibiting no interest in it - until Dr Sacks administered the then-new drug, L-DOPA, which caused them, temporarily, to awake from their decades-long slumber.
'Seeing Voices is both a history of the deaf and an account of the development of an extraordinary and expressive language' Evening Standard Imaginative and insightful, Seeing Voices offers a way into a world that is, for many people, alien and unfamiliar - for to be profoundly deaf is not just to live in a world of silence, but also to live in a world where the visual is paramount. In this remarkable book, Oliver Sacks explores the consequences of this, including the different ways in which the deaf and the hearing impaired learn to categorize their respective worlds - and how they convey and communicate those experiences to others.
'An inexhaustible tourist at the farther reaches of the mind, Sacks presents, in sparse, unsentimental prose, the stories of seven of his patients. The result is as rich, vivid and compelling as any collection of short fictional stories' Independent on Sunday As with his previous bestseller, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in An Anthropologist on Mars Oliver Sacks uses case studies to illustrate the myriad ways in which neurological conditions can affect our sense of self, our experience of the world, and how we relate to those around us. Writing with his trademark blend of scientific rigour and human compassion, he describes patients such as the colour-blind painter or the surgeon with compulsive tics that disappear in the operating theatre; patients for whom disorientation and alienation - but also adaptation - are inescapable facts of life.
`Oliver Sacks is a perfect antidote to the anaesthetic of familiarity. His writing turns brains and minds transparent' Observer When Oliver Sacks, a physician by profession, injured his leg while climbing a mountain, he found himself in an unusual position - that of patient. The injury itself was severe, but straightforward to fix; the psychological effects, however, were far less easy to predict, explain, or resolve: Sacks experienced paralysis and an inability to perceive his leg as his own, instead seeing it as some kind of alien and inanimate object, over which he had no control. A Leg to Stand On is both an account of Sacks' ordeal and subsequent recovery, and an exploration of the ways in which mind and body are inextricably linked.
'Sacks is rightly renowned for his empathy . . . anyone with a taste for the exotic will find this beautifully written book highly engaging' Sunday Times Always fascinated by islands, Oliver Sacks is drawn to the Pacific by reports of the tiny atoll of Pingelap, with its isolated community of islanders born totally colour-blind; and to Guam, where he investigates a puzzling paralysis endemic there for a century. Along the way, he re-encounters the beautiful, primitive island cycad trees - and these become the starting point for a meditation on time and evolution, disease and adaptation, and islands both real and metaphorical in The Island of the Colour-Blind.
'A mine of treasures, a source of visions, a microcosm of human experience and suffering, the philosopher's stone: Migraine is a remarkable achievement' Sunday Telegraph Migraine is an age-old - the first recorded instances date back over two thousand years - and often debilitating condition, affecting a 'substantial minority' of the population across the globe. In Migraine, Oliver Sacks offers at once a medical account of its occurrence and management; an exploration of its physical, physiological, and psychological underpinnings and consequences; and a meditation on the nature and experience of health and illness.
`A humane discourse on the fragility of our minds, of the bodies that give rise to them, and of the world they create for us. This book is filled with wonders' Daily Telegraph Oliver Sacks' compassionate tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own minds. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians and everyday people - those struck by affliction, unusual talent and even, in one case, by lightning - to show not only that music occupies more areas of our brain than language does, but also that it can torment, calm, organize and heal. Always wise and compellingly readable, these stories alter our conception of who we are and how we function, and show us an essential part of what it is to be human.
`Oliver Sacks is a perfect antidote to the anaesthetic of familiarity. His writing turns brains and minds transparent' Observer How does the brain perceive and interpret information from the eye? And what happens when the process is disrupted? In The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities: the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight. For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically new way of being in the world - and The Mind's Eye is testament to the myriad ways that we, as humans, are capable of rising to this challenge.
`Oliver Sacks has become the world's best-known neurologist. His case studies of broken minds offer brilliant insight into the mysteries of consciousness' Guardian In his most extraordinary book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. These are case studies of people who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people or common objects; whose limbs have become alien; who are afflicted and yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. In Dr Sacks's splendid and sympathetic telling, each tale is a unique and deeply human study of life struggling against incredible adversity.