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The book kept me thinking how easy it is to cross the fine line between what we consider to be sane and insane, normal and abnormal. We take so many things for granted (like walking, sitting, remembering) that we don't really pay attention to them. But when a disaster strikes, and your body/mind doesn't feel the same way it used to, how do you react? Give up, or fight to feel 'normal' and 'together' again?
It was eye-opening to listen to this fantastic book. I felt that the author had never held himself aloof from his patients. The book was written with such compassion and empathy that I was so absorbed I couldn't do anything else. It's a must-have for anyone interested in neuropsychiatry, neurology and psychology.
The book is made up of 4 parts:
1. Losses (with special emphasis on visual agnosia)
The man who mistook his wife for a hat;
The lost mariner;
The disembodied lady;
The man who fell out of bed;
On the level;
The President's speech.
2. Excesses (i.e. disorders or diseases like Tourette's syndrome, tabes dorsalis - a form of neurosyphilis, and the 'joking disease')
Witty Ticcy Ray;
A matter of identity;
3. Transports (on the 'power of imagery and memory', e.g. musical epilepsy, forced reminiscence and migrainous visions)
A passage to India;
The dog beneath the skin;
The visions of Hildegard.
4. The world of the simple (on the advantages of therapy centered on music and arts when working with the mentally retarded)
A walking grove;
The autist artist.
43 of 44 people found this review helpful
I love how Sacks, through his small clinical vignettes, exposes the complex, narrative powers of the brain. Written with a clinician's eye, but a poet's heart, I also love how he is able to show how these patients with all sorts of neurological deficits, disabilities, and divergences are able to adapt and even thrive despite their neurological damage. For the most part, they are able to find "a new health, a new freedom" through music, inner narratives, etc. They are able to achieve a "Great Health," a peace and a paradoxical wellness THROUGH their illness.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful
This is one of those books that I have meaning to read for half my life so I was glad to finally get round to it.
The cases are all fascinating, I enjoyed the level of technical detail, and Sacks comes across as warm and sympathetic to his patients. I enjoyed his intelligent, and often groundbreaking, analyses, which are frequently informed by his forays into philosophy.
I have read before that this is his best book but I am sure I will try some of the others now.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales again? Why?
I'll definitely revisit this book because it's full of fascinating observation, acutely noted, about strange tricks the mind plays due to small chemical imbalances... On first reading the major stories stick out. I'm hoping to revisit the book for detail
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?
The most memorable anecdote is probably about hyper osmia; the subject feels like a dog, led by his nose.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The reflections on what exactly makes us a person
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
I love reading medical case studies and found this book extremely interesting. Written in a style and language which makes it accessible to the average person with no medical background and well narrated making it very easy listening. Definitely recommend!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
So happy I now have a greater insight into these special people's minds. Thanks to the author for writing a piece that non medicos can understand. Beautifully read.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful