Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and…

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

by Oliver Sacks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,029151565 (3.94)263
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)
Title:The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
Authors:Oliver Sacks
Info:Summit Books (1985), Hardcover, 233 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non Fiction, Neurology

Work details

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

Recently added byjosepbp, rena75, pigsrule101, private library, jhodar, NancyEL, pantareios, AlanDotson
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, Susan Sontag
  1. 122
    The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V. S. Ramachandran (lorax)
  2. 30
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (hnau)
    hnau: Science fiction inspired by the works of Oliver Sacks (among others).
  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
    Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (chwiggy)
  5. 20
    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.
  6. 20
    Toscanini's Fumble: And Other Tales of Clinical Neurology by Harold L. Klawans (joririchardson)
  7. 20
    The Man Who Forgot How to Read: A Memoir by Howard Engel (meggyweg)
  8. 10
    A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy (meggyweg)
  9. 10
    Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom (clairecc)
  10. 10
    Bomb in the Brain : A Heroic Tale of Science, Surgery, and Survival by Steve Fishman (meggyweg)
  11. 00
    On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (chwiggy)
  12. 00
    The Burning House by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  13. 00
    The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science by Jay Ingram (geophile)
  14. 00
    Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio (ShaneTierney)
  15. 00
    The Rationality of Emotion by Ronald De Sousa (ShaneTierney)
  16. 15
    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)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 263 mentions

English (134)  Italian (6)  German (2)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Libro de Javier
  Crinyesto | Mar 30, 2020 |
The book provides really interesting and curious insights into how subliminal and crazy our brain ("mind") can be. The confounding cases recounted by Oliver Sacks take you through a journey where you see 'sanity' turn into 'madness' and vice versa. But by the end of the book, you won't even be sure what these terms actually mean.

What does it mean to be a 'normal' person? The line between sanity and insanity only gets blurry, yet after reading this book you come out with a clearer vision of the world than before. ( )
  raivivek | Mar 22, 2020 |
A few quick notes. I picked this up as an audiobook from Kindle Unlimited and although some of the medical terminology was beyond my normal understanding I found the book fascinating, but probably not in the way it was intended. Our senses take in all of the information we use and it is the brain that takes that information and puts it into, what we think is, normal perspective. There are common things like color blindness which leads me to wonder how that world would look. It is not devastating unless you work in electronics. Cases here are different. The title case is a man who no longer recognizes faces is also the man who mistakes his wife for his hat...or at least her head for his hat. We depend on our brains to take in information constantly and translate that information into something useful to us; something that reflects reality. The idea that this system can become flawed is terrifying. So much more than the results of the defects, but in that the person affected doesn't realize the problem. His brain tells him everything is right as he experiences it. Those around him tell him different. This is certainly the making of a living horror story. Your brain tells you one thing those around you say different. Even if you believe those around you, how can you go through life questioning everything you experience? Perhaps one of the most terrifying, but completely real, books I have read. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
descriptions of strange and interesting neurological cases. could have done with more stories and less philosophical rambling. not a fan of some of the language used (simpleton, moron, idiot, etc). ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Really interesting presentation of different neurological conditions, if quite unstructured at times. Some of the language felt fairly dated, but overall I loved the positivism of the author and would definitely like to read more from him. ( )
  Dreklogar | Jan 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (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 (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sacks, Oliverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassel, BooTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldberg, CarinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moll-Huber, P.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morena, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wensinck, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
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).
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (5)

No library descriptions found.

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)

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.94)
0.5 1
1 14
1.5 3
2 92
2.5 21
3 366
3.5 119
4 783
4.5 77
5 531

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 143,840,716 books! | Top bar: Always visible