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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and…
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The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales (1985)

by Oliver Sacks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,791120433 (3.94)239
Recently added byRazinha, anglophile65, bness2, AntonioMorales, Kesterbird, Beth_Kirk, MichaelCO, private library, rajivaggy, dibs139
Legacy LibrariesSusan Sontag
  1. 122
    The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran (lorax)
  2. 20
    Toscanini's Fumble: And Other Tales of Clinical Neurology by Harold L. Klawans (joririchardson)
  3. 20
    Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain by Timothy Verstynen (Katya0133)
    Katya0133: A humorous and decidedly irreverent take on neuroscience which nonetheless manages to be incredibly informative.
  4. 20
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (hnau)
    hnau: Science fiction inspired by the works of Oliver Sacks (among others).
  5. 20
    The Man Who Forgot How to Read: A Memoir by Howard Engel (meggyweg)
  6. 10
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (chwiggy)
  7. 10
    Fractured Minds: A Case-Study Approach to Clinical Neuropsychology by Jenni A. Ogden (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: I read this for pleasure but have since learned it's used as a textbook. Quite probably it's not got so broad an appeal as Sacks' book but to me the Ogden not only seems more substantial but it's even more the page-turner.
  8. 10
    Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom (clairecc)
  9. 10
    Bomb in the Brain : A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival by Steve Fishman (meggyweg)
  10. 00
    The Burning House by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  11. 00
    On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (chwiggy)
  12. 00
    Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio (ShaneTierney)
  13. 00
    A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy (meggyweg)
  14. 00
    The Rationality of Emotion by Ronald De Sousa (ShaneTierney)
  15. 00
    The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  16. 14
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey may be paired with The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks or even Awakenings by the same author. All three books explore the idea that once a person becomes ill or is institutionalised, they lose their rights and privileges.… (more)
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» See also 239 mentions

English (105)  Italian (6)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All (120)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
Interesting collection of odd neuropathologies. I'm not sure why this made the New Scientist top 25 most influential popular science books (it didn't make the final cut of the top ten), but it is readable. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Gary wanted this book so I ordered via PBS for him - he read.
  anglophile65 | May 23, 2017 |
This is an interesting collection of stories from Sacks' practice as a neurologist, in which he encounters a variety of neurological conditions: deficits, excesses, savant tendencies, aphasia, and heartbreaking losses of memory. The language is more formal and heavy than your typical popular science book, and some of the medical terminology hasn't aged well (there is talk of "defectology" and referring to patients as "defectives"… and there are a few uses of the R-word). Nonetheless, it is an illuminating book: the chapter on the president's speech, in which Sacks presents us a State of the Nation address as viewed by patients with aphasia or agnosia, is of particular interest. It is also a compassionate book, as Sacks muses on whether it is wise to take autistic patients who have a talent for drawing or fantastic memory for numbers and "normalize" them, thereby removing their creativity or dulling their interest in numbers.

Recommended for those who like to ponder the mysteries of the brain. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 10, 2017 |
Thought I would enjoy this one more. There were some interesting tales, but it felt too clinical to me. ( )
  bookworm12 | Dec 22, 2016 |
Fascinating stories. I've read this book twice. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
In addition to possessing the technical skills of a 20th-century doctor, the London-born Dr. Sacks, a professor of clinical neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, sees the human condition like a philosopher-poet. The resultant mixture is insightful, compassionate, moving and, on occasion, simply infuriating. One could call these essays neurological case histories, and correctly so, although Dr. Sacks' own expression -''clinical tales'' - is far more apt. Dr. Sacks tells some two dozen stories about people who are also patients, and who manifest strange and striking peculiarities of perception, emotion, language, thought, memory or action. And he recounts these histories with the lucidity and power of a gifted short-story writer.
 
The book deserves to be widely read whether for its message, or as an easy introduction to neurological symptoms, or simply as a collection of moving tales. The reader should, however, bring to it a little scepticism, for outside Sack's clinic, things do not always fall out quite so pat.
added by jlelliott | editNature, Stuart Sutherland (pay site) (Dec 26, 1985)
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sacks, Oliverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassel, BooTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moll-Huber, P.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morena, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wensinck, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
To talk of diseases is a sort of Arabian Nights entertainment.

- William Osler
The physician is concerned (unlike the naturalist)... with a single organism, the human subject, striving to preserve its identity in adverse circumstances.

- Ivy McKenzie
Dedication
To Leonard Shengold, M.D.
First words
Neurology's favorite word is 'deficit', denoting an impairment or incapacity of neurological function: loss of speech, loss of language, loss of memory, loss of vision, loss of dexterity, loss of identity and myriad other lacks and losses of specific functions (or faculties).
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
To talk of diseases is a sort of Arabian Nights entertainement / Wiliam Osler
The physician is concerned (unlike the naturalist) ... with a single organism, the human subject, striving to preserve its identity in adverse circumstances. / Ivy McKenzie
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Author Oliver Sacks
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
A romantic rendering of the daily sufferings of people with relatively obscure neurological issues.
Haiku summary
Neurology doctor
Studies people as people
Not sacks for strange brains (Marissa_Baden)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684853949, Paperback)

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's 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's 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."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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's 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's 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."… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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