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Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver…
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Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (original 1985; edition 2011)

by Oliver W. Sacks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,035100514 (3.95)216
Member:Arten60
Title:Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Authors:Oliver W. Sacks
Info:Picador USA (2011), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

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

Recently added byInfoPickle, Lorem, private library, Danean, msrinivasan, hazard8726, testascia, kazikas, jmiserak
Legacy LibrariesSusan Sontag
  1. 112
    The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran (lorax)
  2. 20
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (hnau)
    hnau: Science fiction inspired by the works of Oliver Sacks (among others).
  3. 20
    Toscanini's Fumble: And Other Tales of Clinical Neurology by Harold L. Klawans (joririchardson)
  4. 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.
  5. 20
    The Man Who Forgot How to Read: A Memoir by Howard Engel (meggyweg)
  6. 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 Sack's (interesting and well-written) book but to me the Ogden not only seems more substantial but it's even more the page-turner.
  7. 10
    Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom (clairecc)
  8. 10
    Bomb in the Brain : A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival by Steve Fishman (meggyweg)
  9. 00
    The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  10. 00
    Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio (ShaneTierney)
  11. 00
    The Burning House by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  12. 00
    A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy (meggyweg)
  13. 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 216 mentions

English (86)  Italian (5)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
the human brain is really fascinating. this book just told stories of various patients of the author, who is a neurologist. i was really intrigued by the behaviors a lot of his patients exhibited. i didn't feel like trying to understand some of his neurological talk, but it was interesting enough just to hear stories of his patients, even if i can't begin to understand all the medical issues. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I reviewed this years ago for my library's annual book review publication. I would give it 6 stars if I could. I am generous with my reviews, especially with the books I love and that have affected me deeply. [b:The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales|63697|The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales|Oliver Sacks|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388194640s/63697.jpg|882844] is one such book. Oliver Sacks is a nonfiction writer with the eye of a novelist. His writing is so human and so humane. In [b:The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales|63697|The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales|Oliver Sacks|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388194640s/63697.jpg|882844], he writes about curious mental ailments he discovered in his practice, and he did so with such humor and warmth that hardly anyone reading the tales could not appreciate them.

I'm sick to hear about his dying of cancer. I believe his books will be remembered as classics of our age. He's undoubtedly an accomplished physician, and certainly the same quality which makes him an effective neurologist also makes him a great writer. He's a storyteller of the highest order, and like all great writers, his focus on the particulars of his subjects offers the reader a deeper understanding of the human condition.

[b:Awakenings|14456|Awakenings|Oliver Sacks|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388274053s/14456.jpg|2755549] was a fine movie and a fine book.

One of the most touching movies about a father/ son relations is "The Music Never Stopped" based on [a:Oliver Sacks|843200|Oliver Sacks|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1222681187p2/843200.jpg]'s case study "The Last Hippie." It's a movie set in the mid-80s. It features an estranged son who has a brain tumor, and whose surgery causes him to become catatonic. ...His father (the awesome JK Simmons) is a Vietnam vet who wants to reconnect with his son, so Simmons' character begins listening to the Grateful Dead and his son comes to life. It is only through music that they are able to reconnect. It's exactly the kind of story that Sacks has been so brilliant at telling.

I could write a novel about what Sacks has meant to me, but I won't do it here. I'll only say that if you haven't read his work, then you ought to (and you won't regret a minute of it).

Here's a good quote from the NYT piece published today, Feb 19, 2015, about his eminent death:

"...for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death." ( )
  HunterMurphy | Jun 26, 2015 |
West Wing
  Seleni | Jun 23, 2015 |
This best-selling book by the neurologist / writer Sacks was simply fascinating. This is neurology for the layman, split up into easily absorbed bite-sized case studies from Sack's patient files.

The first section centres on losses - some patients suffer from disorders which affect the memory, others have lost the ability to undertake normal motor functions, and some have phantom limbs where amputations have occurred. All of the cases are tragic and yet fascinating in equal measure.

The second part focuses on excesses, looking at specific cases of patients with Tourettes, a patient with sudden lack of inhibition brought on by syphilis contracted 70 years previously, and a man considered a riot to all around him, who confabulates in a hilarious manner yet sadly has no true understanding of self remaining.

In 'Transports', Sacks talks about fascinating cases such as the woman who suddenly starts hearing Irish music continuously for months on end, and has previously inaccessible childhood memories awakened by the music. Perhaps my favourite was the case of the man who, after taking mind-bending drugs, had a super heightened sense of smell for a year, to the point where he could sniff out people like a dog.

The final section, 'The World of the Simple', exemplifies just how amazingly complex the human brain is. In many of the cases cited, despite the patients being scientifically considered retarded with very low IQs, they had amazing cognitive abilities, such as the ability to learn 2,000 operas in their entirety, or to instantaneously perform complex mathematical computations. These heightened abilities of siloed intelligence are juxtaposed with their general neurological limitations, and Sacks explains how many such patients can be 'reached' by vehicles such as music, drama, nature and numbers.

With all of the cases Sacks addresses in this book, the brain injuries or conditions are never cut and dry tales of limitations; the immense power and mystery of the human brain (and strength of character) consistently prevails, totally absorbing you as a reader.

Captivating, bizarre and thought-provoking, this is a fabulous insight into the enigma of the human brain. Our health is our wealth - we have much to be thankful for. ( )
  AlisonY | Jun 8, 2015 |
A fascinating account of stories of his patients and their mental problems, good and bad. He treats them all with respect, looking for the real/spiritual/talented person. ( )
  GeoffSC | May 31, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (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 (6)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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