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To these seven narratives of neurological disorder Dr. Sacks brings the same humanity, poetic observation, and infectious sense of wonder that are apparent in his bestsellers Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. These men, women, and one extraordinary child emerge as brilliantly adaptive personalities, whose conditions have not so much debilitated them as ushered them into another reality.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Nov 14, 2012
ISBN: 9780345805881
List price: $11.99
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Very interesting. A pleasure to read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm not quite sure how to rate this book. A number of chapters were incredibly interesting, while others were quite dry. The chapter about complete color blindness is very interesting - it shows just how important color is in distinguishing objects from each other. The story of the hippie with a frontal lobe tumor that makes him blind and lose his sense self is sad, but I gave it a cursory read. The surgeon with tourettes is quite interesting, and I never realized that tourettes can have any number of different symptoms. The story of Virgil who has a chance to regain his site after loosing it in childhood is very intriguing, I think that the author is a bit condescending in his analysis of the patient. Pontito didn't hold my attention. Sack's take on prodigies, in this case autistic people with an amazing ability, is interesting, but he doesn't go into any sort of analysis as to what is happening in the brain as he did in previous chapters. The chapter with Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic child with an amazing gift for drawing, is quite amazing and the author spends a lot of time trying to understand it, but does not get very far. And I especially enjoy the chapter with Temple Grandin, as a high functioning autistic person, I think she represents completely just what kind of a world an autistic person lives in.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Sacks writes with intelligence and empathy. By profiling these 7 people of obvious disabilities, yet extrordinary or unusual abilities, he also helps us to understand those among us who we might have a tendency to overlook. One of the subject cases, (a woman diagnosed with autism),Temple Grandin, has special achievements that are relatively well known at this time; in part due to her own writings. Her life has become a model of hope within a different context than most of us hold. Though all of these cases and people are interesting, another story, that of the surgeon/ pilot with Tourette's, was of particular interest to me. It helped me understand how despite the defining tics and outbursts, someone can have extreme focus. The soccer star goalie, Tim Howard comes to mind as someone who also embodies this syndrome yet has used the particular traits of that syndrome to perform well above and beyond the usual. This book is an fascinating look at the human condition when the complex workings of the brain are disrupted.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A series of sketches on the remarkable and often terrifying complexity, plasticity, power, and vulnerability of the human brain. These cases are also interesting examples on the nature of identity, the social and personal construction of ability and disability, and the frightening but also freeing thought that vastly different and perhaps mutually incomprehensible modes of perceiving and being in the world and being a human can and do exist and even thrive in modern society.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Reviewed May 2008 Another great Oliver Sacks book. You know the stories are compelling when you find yourself telling people about them. I had to bite my lip many times while riding with the kids, to keep from dominating the conversation about these unique characters. As usual, Sacks is far more technical than needed (at least for me) but he tells very interesting stories about people with neurological problems. His focus in this book is telling the story from the perspective of how they function in the real world. What amazes me is how Sacks is all over the world with these people, he must have tons of frequent flier miles. 13-2008read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Focusing on fewer cases than The Man Who Mistook..., Sacks is able to go into greater depth in these seven essays. Further history of both the patients and the related fields (colour perception and vision in the case of a colour-blind man, etc.) adds to the reader's understanding.Personally, I did not find these cases as interesting as those in the previously mentioned compilation, with the exception of the surgeon with Tourette's. Many of them deal with art, which isn't really my cup of tea. Perhaps readers with a greater fluency and appreciation of art would find it more enjoyable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It was very interesting that the color blind artist adjusted in six weeks to paint in black and white. That he could see things we couldn't was fascinating. I don't understand How Temple Grandin can be so empathetic to animals but not people...aren't people animals? Funny that she could dispassionate create ways to humanely slaughter cattle...because isn't slaughter inherently cruel?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As with all of Oliver's books, they are so very interesting and educational. It blows my mind what the brain is capable of...read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Oliver Sacks provides a fascinating look at several cases of neurological damage or disorder in extremely interesting people. I found the discussion of how difficult it is for a person who has been blind from birth or for a significant length of time to suddenly be able to see to be quite eye-opening, so to speak. I always assumed that if one gains sight after being blind that one is able to actually "see" right from the get go, but this is not so. Sight, depth perception, visual recognition, motion vision, all these things are developed over time in a sighted person, and if sight is suddenly restoredread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Damn good book. Fast paced, interesting, touching. Raises lots of questions and poses answers for a few of them. This book has stuck in my mind for years and has earned a slot in my very small "keepers" shelf.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In "An Anthropologist On Mars," Oliver Sacks tells about some of his clinical tales including a painter that loses the ability to see colour, a young man with a brain tumour that leaves him stuck in the 60s, a surgeon with Tourette's Syndrome, a blind man who gains and then loses his sight, a painter who is stuck in the past, child prodigies, and patients with autism. Sacks has a wonderful style of writing that, even if you care little about neurology, you will care about his patients and marvel at the human brain and how it works.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
While this book is not an easy read, it is an interesting and very informative read. The author presents several stories of ways the mind can go wrong (from color blind to autism) and how exploring these ailments can teach us so much about how the brain works. He includes detailed histories of the origins of theories in neurology, which can be both interesting and a drag in the narrative.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One thing I always loved about Dr. Sacks's writings is that as fascinating as the science is, he won't forget the people and the humanity behind the illnesses. In describing his cases studies, he can be both funny (the scene with the four Tourettic surgeons trying to sit in the corner at the restaurant and their self-awareness about how absurd the scene looks) and poignant (Dr. Brennan giving Sacks a hug and trying to express her own soul despite her extreme difficulty connecting to humans due to her autism). By focusing on seven people instead of having a ton of case studies, Sacks can go far beyond the pathologies and show the people in all their flawed glory.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'd heard a great deal about this book, so when I had a chance to grab a copy, I jumped on it - and was already completely absorbed in it before I was halfway home.If there's a theme that connects these seven accounts of unusual minds, it's perception - how people percieve and interact with the world, and how our biology determines that. And he does an excellent job of making the reader imagine themselves into the worlds of these seven people, and the truly bizarre places a broken brain can lead us (A man who is blind and doesn't know he's blind? Who can't accept that he's blind even after he's been told?).I did think sometimes he was more interested in the different-ness of these people than the sameness (after all, who doesn't want a hug?) and in several cases, awfully complacent about caretakers who claimed they were doing what was best for someone, but in general, and excellent, deeply intriguing book and definitely recommended.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A collection of New Yorker articles that detail the more troubling patients of a well known neuroscientiest. Fascinating and memorable reading.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Very interesting. A pleasure to read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm not quite sure how to rate this book. A number of chapters were incredibly interesting, while others were quite dry. The chapter about complete color blindness is very interesting - it shows just how important color is in distinguishing objects from each other. The story of the hippie with a frontal lobe tumor that makes him blind and lose his sense self is sad, but I gave it a cursory read. The surgeon with tourettes is quite interesting, and I never realized that tourettes can have any number of different symptoms. The story of Virgil who has a chance to regain his site after loosing it in childhood is very intriguing, I think that the author is a bit condescending in his analysis of the patient. Pontito didn't hold my attention. Sack's take on prodigies, in this case autistic people with an amazing ability, is interesting, but he doesn't go into any sort of analysis as to what is happening in the brain as he did in previous chapters. The chapter with Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic child with an amazing gift for drawing, is quite amazing and the author spends a lot of time trying to understand it, but does not get very far. And I especially enjoy the chapter with Temple Grandin, as a high functioning autistic person, I think she represents completely just what kind of a world an autistic person lives in.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Sacks writes with intelligence and empathy. By profiling these 7 people of obvious disabilities, yet extrordinary or unusual abilities, he also helps us to understand those among us who we might have a tendency to overlook. One of the subject cases, (a woman diagnosed with autism),Temple Grandin, has special achievements that are relatively well known at this time; in part due to her own writings. Her life has become a model of hope within a different context than most of us hold. Though all of these cases and people are interesting, another story, that of the surgeon/ pilot with Tourette's, was of particular interest to me. It helped me understand how despite the defining tics and outbursts, someone can have extreme focus. The soccer star goalie, Tim Howard comes to mind as someone who also embodies this syndrome yet has used the particular traits of that syndrome to perform well above and beyond the usual. This book is an fascinating look at the human condition when the complex workings of the brain are disrupted.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A series of sketches on the remarkable and often terrifying complexity, plasticity, power, and vulnerability of the human brain. These cases are also interesting examples on the nature of identity, the social and personal construction of ability and disability, and the frightening but also freeing thought that vastly different and perhaps mutually incomprehensible modes of perceiving and being in the world and being a human can and do exist and even thrive in modern society.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Reviewed May 2008 Another great Oliver Sacks book. You know the stories are compelling when you find yourself telling people about them. I had to bite my lip many times while riding with the kids, to keep from dominating the conversation about these unique characters. As usual, Sacks is far more technical than needed (at least for me) but he tells very interesting stories about people with neurological problems. His focus in this book is telling the story from the perspective of how they function in the real world. What amazes me is how Sacks is all over the world with these people, he must have tons of frequent flier miles. 13-2008
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Focusing on fewer cases than The Man Who Mistook..., Sacks is able to go into greater depth in these seven essays. Further history of both the patients and the related fields (colour perception and vision in the case of a colour-blind man, etc.) adds to the reader's understanding.Personally, I did not find these cases as interesting as those in the previously mentioned compilation, with the exception of the surgeon with Tourette's. Many of them deal with art, which isn't really my cup of tea. Perhaps readers with a greater fluency and appreciation of art would find it more enjoyable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
It was very interesting that the color blind artist adjusted in six weeks to paint in black and white. That he could see things we couldn't was fascinating. I don't understand How Temple Grandin can be so empathetic to animals but not people...aren't people animals? Funny that she could dispassionate create ways to humanely slaughter cattle...because isn't slaughter inherently cruel?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As with all of Oliver's books, they are so very interesting and educational. It blows my mind what the brain is capable of...
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Oliver Sacks provides a fascinating look at several cases of neurological damage or disorder in extremely interesting people. I found the discussion of how difficult it is for a person who has been blind from birth or for a significant length of time to suddenly be able to see to be quite eye-opening, so to speak. I always assumed that if one gains sight after being blind that one is able to actually "see" right from the get go, but this is not so. Sight, depth perception, visual recognition, motion vision, all these things are developed over time in a sighted person, and if sight is suddenly restored
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Damn good book. Fast paced, interesting, touching. Raises lots of questions and poses answers for a few of them. This book has stuck in my mind for years and has earned a slot in my very small "keepers" shelf.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In "An Anthropologist On Mars," Oliver Sacks tells about some of his clinical tales including a painter that loses the ability to see colour, a young man with a brain tumour that leaves him stuck in the 60s, a surgeon with Tourette's Syndrome, a blind man who gains and then loses his sight, a painter who is stuck in the past, child prodigies, and patients with autism. Sacks has a wonderful style of writing that, even if you care little about neurology, you will care about his patients and marvel at the human brain and how it works.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
While this book is not an easy read, it is an interesting and very informative read. The author presents several stories of ways the mind can go wrong (from color blind to autism) and how exploring these ailments can teach us so much about how the brain works. He includes detailed histories of the origins of theories in neurology, which can be both interesting and a drag in the narrative.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
One thing I always loved about Dr. Sacks's writings is that as fascinating as the science is, he won't forget the people and the humanity behind the illnesses. In describing his cases studies, he can be both funny (the scene with the four Tourettic surgeons trying to sit in the corner at the restaurant and their self-awareness about how absurd the scene looks) and poignant (Dr. Brennan giving Sacks a hug and trying to express her own soul despite her extreme difficulty connecting to humans due to her autism). By focusing on seven people instead of having a ton of case studies, Sacks can go far beyond the pathologies and show the people in all their flawed glory.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'd heard a great deal about this book, so when I had a chance to grab a copy, I jumped on it - and was already completely absorbed in it before I was halfway home.If there's a theme that connects these seven accounts of unusual minds, it's perception - how people percieve and interact with the world, and how our biology determines that. And he does an excellent job of making the reader imagine themselves into the worlds of these seven people, and the truly bizarre places a broken brain can lead us (A man who is blind and doesn't know he's blind? Who can't accept that he's blind even after he's been told?).I did think sometimes he was more interested in the different-ness of these people than the sameness (after all, who doesn't want a hug?) and in several cases, awfully complacent about caretakers who claimed they were doing what was best for someone, but in general, and excellent, deeply intriguing book and definitely recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A collection of New Yorker articles that detail the more troubling patients of a well known neuroscientiest. Fascinating and memorable reading.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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