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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.
In his most extraordinary book, "one of the greatest clinical writers of the 20th century" (New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. It 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 recognise people and common objects; 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 splendid and sympathetic retelling, deeply human.
In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, neurologist Oliver Sacks looked at the cutting-edge work taking place in his field, and decided that much of it was not fit for purpose. Sacks found it hard to understand why most doctors adopted a mechanical and impersonal approach to their patients, and opened his mind to new ways to treat people with neurological disorders. He explored the question of deciding what such new ways might be by deploying his formidable creative thinking skills. Sacks felt the issues at the heart of patient care needed redefining, because the way they were being dealt with hurt not only patients, but practitioners too. They limited a physician's capacity to understand and then treat a patient's condition. To highlight the issue, Sacks wrote the stories of 24 patients and their neurological clinical conditions. In the process, he rebelled against traditional methodology by focusing on his patients' subjective experiences. Sacks did not only write about his patients in original ways - he attempt to come up with creative ways of treating them as well. At root, his method was to try to help each person individually, with the core aim of finding meaning and a sense of identity despite, or even thanks to, the patients' condition. Sacks thus redefined the issue of neurological work in a new way, and his ideas were so influential that they heralded the arrival of a broader movement - narrative medicine - that placed stronger emphasis on listening to and incorporating patients' experiences and insights into their care.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales Study Guide contains a comprehensive summary and analysis of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks. It includes a detailed Plot Summary, Chapter Summaries & Analysis, Character Descriptions, Objects/Places, Themes, Styles, Quotes, and Topics for Discussion on The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.
Awakenings — which inspired the major motion picture — is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world. From the Trade Paperback edition.
What goes on in human beings when they make or listen to music? What is it about music, what gives it such peculiar power over us, power delectable and beneficent for the most part, but also capable of uncontrollable and sometimes destructive force? Music has no concepts, it lacks images; it has no power of representation, it has no relation to the world. And yet it is evident in all of us–we tap our feet, we keep time, hum, sing, conduct music, mirror the melodic contours and feelings of what we hear in our movements and expressions. In this book, Oliver Sacks explores the power music wields over us–a power that sometimes we control and at other times don’t. He explores, in his inimitable fashion, how it can provide access to otherwise unreachable emotional states, how it can revivify neurological avenues that have been frozen, evoke memories of earlier, lost events or states or bring those with neurological disorders back to a time when the world was much richer. This is a book that explores, like no other, the myriad dimensions of our experience of and with music. From the Hardcover edition.
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.
Here are seven detailed and fascinating portraits of neurological patients, including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette's syndrome unless he is operating; an artist who loses all sense of color in a car accident, but finds a new sensibility and creative power in black and white; and an autistic professor who cannot decipher the simplest social exchange between humans, but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behavior. Sacks combines the well honed mind of an academician with the verve of a true storyteller, and manages to produce a book at once accessible and challenging. The capacity to observe the patient as a different form of human being, instead of as just an 'interesting case', is a true insight into what Medicine should be; furthermore, as the author insistently teaches, neurological diseases differ from other ailments in that they become a true portion of the persona, and ,in a sense, they belong to the patient, whereas most people consider disease to be something that 'happens' to them, an outside influence not to be confused with the true Self. It is a truly accessible and moving book, and teaches us all something about the diversity and depths of the human kind. From the Trade Paperback edition.