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Neurology at Its Finest: Oliver Sacks Chosen As Our April Read

Sit back, grab a warm cup of tea, and let's bundle up to Oliver Sacks' 1985 book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales in our April book summary & review.

With poetic and carefully articulated language, Oliver Sacks, a renowned neurologist, recounts many patient experiences, bringing their unique backgrounds and struggles in life before our very eyes. His best-known book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is an entertaining and brilliant collection of cases that undoubtedly deserves a spotlight as Human Body Digest's Book of the Month. Before you grab your keys to race to the nearest book store, read our quick biography on Oliver Sacks, book preview, and final thoughts found below.

“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.” - Chapter 2

About Oliver Sacks

Oliver Wolf Sacks was a British neurologist and writer, born on July 9th, 1933. He began his medical studies at The Queen's College, Oxford for medical school in 1960. Here, Sacks explored a multitude of science classes, including courses in neurology, surgery, infectious diseases, dermatology, and psychiatry. Though he hadn't gained his medical license yet, Sacks spent his years as a student assisting with the home delivery of many babies.

After finishing medical school, Sacks moved to the United States to complete his neurological residency at the University of California, Los Angeles. Now a practicing neurologist, Sacks sought out and collaborated on a project at Beth Abraham Hospital's chronic-care facility in the Bronx to treat patients with encephalitis lethargica, a disease that causes headaches, double vision, fevers, lethargy, and made it difficult for them to move independently for decades. Sacks' experience in this area inspired his 1973 book called Awakenings, which later became an Academy Award-nominated film.

Throughout his lifetime, Sacks engaged in a multitude of neurological studies, research, and literary projects. Sadly, he began to develop melanoma (a serious form of skin cancer that begins in cells known as melanocytes) in his eye that eventually reached his liver. On August 30th, 2015 at age 82, Sacks passed away in his Manhattan home.

A Preview of this Fascinating Read

Whether you're a renowned neurosurgeon or simply a book-lover casually interested in the human body, this book is for you. Within The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Dr. Sacks passionately and respectfully reflects on some of his most memorable and mysterious neurological patients, from those who lost their memories to others who mistake people for objects, to some who cannot recognize their own limbs.

The layout of this book is quite simple. Each chapter focuses on a different patient with a unique and engrossing case, beginning with a story of the individual's behaviors and symptoms, and eventually ending with a personal explanation from Sacks himself on the disorder at hand.

Our Lingering Thoughts

This book is absolutely addicting and a staple for anyone working in healthcare, or simply for those with a curiosity about the human brain. Although his tales are undeniably unusual, Dr. Sacks takes a careful and sympathetic story-telling approach that allows the reader to step into the shoes of a practicing neurologist. we recommend this book? In summary, YES!


1. Academy of Achievement. (2022, March 3). Oliver Sacks, M.D. Academy of Achievement. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

2. Blatty, D. (2022, May 25). Oliver Sacks. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

3. Cowles, G. (2015, August 30). Oliver Sacks, neurologist who wrote about the brain's quirks, dies at 82. The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2022, from

4. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2022, August 26). Oliver Sacks. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from

5. Oliver Sacks Author: Biography, life and books by neurologist. Oliver Sacks | Official Website of Author, Neurologist & Foundation. (2022, September 30). Retrieved June 1, 2022, from

6. Sacks, O. (2021). The Man Who Mistook his wife for a hat and other Clinical Tales. Vintage Books.


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