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

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

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. 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...

Details The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

TitleThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
Release DateApr 2nd, 1998
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Science, Health, Medicine

Reviews The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

  • Patrick
    It's rare that I read non-fiction. It's just not my bag.That said, this is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. I'm guessing I've brought it up hundreds of times in conversation.It's written by a neurologist who works with people who have stranger-than-usual brain issues. And not only are the cases interesting, but the way he writes about the people invovled is really lovely. It's not clinical at all. Not judgemental. It's very... lo...
  • Dru
    Dear Dr. Sacks, On page 112 of the paperback edition of your book, the second paragraph begins with the following sentence:"And with this, no feeling that he has lost feeling (for the feeling he has lost), no feeling that he has lost the depth, that unfathomable, mysterious, myriad-levelled depth which somehow defines identity or reality."I've read this sentence at least twelve times, and I still don't even have the slightest inkling of what the ...
  • Sheffy
    Despite so many people recommending this book, my high expectations were disappointed. Yes, it's perversely interesting to hear about neurological conundrums that afflict people in peculiar ways, but Sacks isn't a particularly good writer, nor does he have a good grasp on his audience. At times he obliquely refers to medical syndromes or footnotes other neurologists, as if he is writing for a technical physician audience, but on the whole his sto...
  • Supratim
    When I had come across the title of the book on Goodreads, I had mistakenly assumed to it to be a humour novel. But, when I finally found the book during one of my book hunts, I learnt that it is a non-fiction book where the author, a neurologist as well as a gifted writer, has presented some fascinating case studies about his patients with unique afflictions.The book has been divided into 4 parts wherein each section contains the case studies pe...
  • Mark Lawrence
    This is an utterly fascinating book, a collection of case studies by neurologist Oliver Sacks, presented in an eminently readable style. These studies deal with the most extraordinary mental conditions, often arising from damage to the brain, from the title case where a man in full charge of his faculties is unable to identify the purpose of any object (thus his mistaking his wife for a hat) to individuals who, again otherwise wholly reasonable, ...
  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    This is not only an informative work on neurological disorders, but a humbling meditation on the beauty of imperfection. Through entering the worlds of a number of "limited" individuals, Sacks reveals the brain's (and therefore the individual's) remarkable ability to overcompensate for cognitive deficiencies. As a result of these heightened states of perception, the often frightening and infinitely compelling worlds of each individual are manifes...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    10This is such a classic that I can’t possibly “review” it, so I’ll just share some stories. Oliver Sacks was the much-loved, highly regarded neurologist who opened up the world of the mind and brain not only to doctors but also to the public. The well-known movie, Awakenings, where he was played by Robin Williams, was based on his successful treatment of catatonic patients (including Leonard, played by Robert De Niro), “frozen” for d...
  • Tim
    I picked up this book because I am a fan of Oliver Sacks and his various speaking engagements (lectures, public radio interviews, etc)...but I have to say I was fairly nonplussed with it.While the case studies in and of themselves make for interesting reading, the tone of the writing is fairly "clinical" and...removed. Despite the review blurbs stating that these are "personal" and "touchingly human" looks at neurological disorders, I saw only a ...
  • Simon Clark
    I've read a lot of popular science books in my time, and in one way or another they have always felt cut from same cloth. Similar language used, similar structure, drawing on the same inspirations. After a while it almost feels like you are reading the same book over and over again, with only slight variations in content.So The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat came as a complete breath of fresh air. A blast, in fact. Oliver Sacks has written a ...
  • Mona
    I first heard about this book when my biology professor mentioned it in class in reference to right-brain and left-brain disorders. Just last year, I had the good fortune to see the author himself - Dr. Sacks - speak at the university in my hometown. He was a dynamic and entertaining speaker and from then on, I resolved to try out his books. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat matched its author. The book is a collection of case studies on Dr....
  • Barbara
    Dr. Oliver Sacks was a physician, author, and neurology professor who published several books about people with neurological problems. In this book Dr. Sacks discusses patients whose brain malfunctions cause a variety of 'maladies' including: a musician who lost the ability to see faces or recognize familiar objects; a former sailor who believed the year was permanently 1945; a man who thought his leg belonged to someone else; and other unusual a...
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Oliver SacksThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is a 1985 book by neurologist Oliver Sacks describing the case histories of some of his patients. Sacks chose the title of the book from the case study of one of his patients which he names "Dr. P" that has visual agnosia, a neurological condition that leaves him unable to recognize even familiar faces and o...
  • Sean Barrs The Ultra Vegan
    The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a book about people with neurological disorders centred on issues with perception and understanding the world. The brain receives so much information each second, information we will never be consciously aware of. But what happens when the pathways start to break down? Weird and wonderful things evidently. Sacks reminisces over some truly bizarre case studies he encountered over his career. And, like the ...
  • Greta
    I guess I'm just not smart enough to fully appreciate this book. But I do realize that an awful lot can go wrong with our brains, and when that should happen to me, I would be very lucky with such an empathetic and humane doctor. Yet, his writing is dry and clinical, which is a shame because there were really interesting cases. I enjoyed reading some parts of the book, but not enough to feel satisfied about reading this book. Especially the chapt...
  • Hamad
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “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.” I have been intrigued by this book’s title as soon as I first heard it. I thought it was a fiction book but then discovered that it is Non-fiction and I decided to read it this year as part ...
  • Muhammed Hebala
    [English / Arabic review]الريفيو العربي بعد الريفيو الإنجليزي " Is there any 'place' in the world for a man who is like an island, who cannot be accultured, made part of the main? Can 'the main' accommodate, make room for, the singular? " That was the main inquiry of this insightful, compassionate, moving and Remarkable book.. the lucidity and power of a gifted writer.A wonderful book … full of wonder, wonders an...
  • Glenn Sumi
    Review to come. This was a hard one to rate. Lots of 5 star sections but some needless academic jargon, particularly in the introductions to sections. I can see why this is considered a classic. Such fascinating case histories. The brain is truly a mysterious thing.
  • Laala Kashef Alghata
    This book isn't easy to review, because it's not a novel, or short story collection; it's not poetry, or essays. It's straight up non-fiction in the form of case studies and clinical analysis of different bizarre neurological cases that Oliver Sacks came across. There's everything from the titular character -- a man who really did mistake his wife for his hat -- to people with Tourette's, both severe and manageable; from excesses to people with I...
  • Deedee
    I read this book years ago and maybe Sacks was a more skilled doctor than writer but a lot will depend on why you're reading this book to begin with. I felt, still do, that Dr. Sacks humanised his patients and that's not necessarily easy given the subject. The brain has such layers of complexity that are not fully understood. Sacks attempts to issue clarity on the matter, no pun meant, it could happen to you or a loved one~ trauma, a stroke, last...
  • Bettie
    "the man who mistook his patients for a literary career"Oliver Sacks dies in New York aged 82
  • Steve
    Over the course of his long career as a neurologist, Sacks has had plenty of interesting cases. It makes you appreciate what a complex organ the brain is when you see all the different ways that impairments can manifest themselves. Sacks is at his best when he's describing the most unusual quirks. The first chapter -- the case that gives the book its title -- is a good lead-in to the weird behaviors that follow.At the time the book was written, t...
  • India Clamp
    To me sinful chocolatey wisdom is conveyed best in stories and “The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat” presents twenty-four such anecdotes (neurological histories) by Dr. Sacks (author of Awakenings and A Leg to Stand On). Within, words becoming “émettant de la lumière” serving as shining diagnostic gems for people in his care. London born Sacks is soft-spoken and spellbinding in his telling of stories---including his terminal one. Whe...
  • Collin
    Dry. Reading this book is like eating saltine crackers without anything to drink. He only briefly discusses the cases (these are, ahem, the interesting parts of the book) and then embarks on tedious philosophical discussions about neurology. He does seem very proud of himself and his education, though; I will give him that as a backhanded compliment.
  • Jill Hutchinson
    I was very taken with Dr. Saks' book Hallucinations, so I thought I would give this one a could you go wrong with that title???It is collection of case histories of the author's patients who were afflicted with brain trauma to the right hemisphere which caused rather unusual symptoms and behaviors.. Indeed one of the patients mistook his wife for his hat and also tried to shake hands with a grandfather clock. Although the majority of n...
  • Joseph Spuckler
    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 wonde...
  • daisy
    3 stars, but only just. Proper review to come at some point.Probably wouldn't recommend this if you're very new to neuroscience/psychology, though. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean is a much better place to start out imo.
  • Shaikha
    "He both was and wasn't aware of this deep, tragic loss in himself, loss of himself. 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." If you enjoy medical case histories that are sensitive yet lively, weird but informative, then Sacks' book is your ticket.A neurologist that will fascinate you with stories of patients like the ...
  • Bell
    Very interesting neurological case studies that begged me to reconsider intelligence and "normalcy" particularly in terms of visual perception and its relationship to reality. Also fascinating was the profound structure that the arts (he specifically mentions music, dance, story-telling and drawing) provide for those with the inability to form or develop conceptual frameworks. Indeed, it seems that the fine arts aren't just high-concepts of beaut...
  • mark monday
    “I think it is effective to constrict your anus 100 times, dent your navel 100 times in succession everyday. You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway without being noticed for you to do so. I have known 70 year old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle. He is full of vigor, happiness, and joy. He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circu...
  • Cecily
    I picked this up at a railway station, shortly after it was published, not quite knowing what to expect. Frankly, I think it was the extraordinary title (and my lack of time) that made me grab it.All these years later, I remember it well. It was my first introduction to all sorts of bizarre psychological, psychiatric, and neurological conditions that are now more widely known to the general public, and left me amazed at the power and quirks of th...