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

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  84,077 Ratings  ·  3,130 Reviews
In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century" (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aber ...more
Paperback, First Touchstone Edition, 243 pages
Published April 2nd 1998 by Touchstone (first published 1985)
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Wynne Lee Best way to find out "how he did it" is to read Sacks' last book, his autobiography "On the Move", which was published (April 2015) a few months…moreBest way to find out "how he did it" is to read Sacks' last book, his autobiography "On the Move", which was published (April 2015) a few months before his death in August 2015. His own story is every bit as amazing as those of his many patients & other phenomena (e.g. cycads) in the world he loved so much. Bet you'll be surprised by his unique, gutsy, sometimes very challenging life that was full of gusto, anguish, false starts, triumphs, hardships & many keen friendships. A great man IMO. (less)
Wynne Lee Sacks was a master of painting accurate, detailed & humane word portraits of his patients. No photos needed. You won't be disappointed by the…moreSacks was a master of painting accurate, detailed & humane word portraits of his patients. No photos needed. You won't be disappointed by the e-book, I think.(less)
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Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
26th out of 3,776 books — 5,596 voters
Stiff by Mary RoachThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver SacksOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Medicine and Literature
3rd out of 1,114 books — 1,393 voters

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Mar 09, 2008 Dru rated it liked it
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 hell it means. What is the subject? What is the ve
Sep 15, 2008 Sheffy rated it it was ok
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 stories are too simplistic to engage such an audience ...more
Huda Yahya
Oct 09, 2015 Huda Yahya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كيف يمكن لإنسانٍ أن يخسر هويته ولا يدري خسارته
كيف يتحول معنى الهوية بروحه إلى لا معنى،،إلى لاشئ؟

في هذا الكتاب تتعلم من جديد إحترام الإنسانية
فجنون أدب العبث ولامنطقيته يتجسد هنا في نماذج حقيقة لبشرٍ يفتشون عن بقاياهم المتناثرة في الكون العابث بهم والمنتظر لردود أفعالهم التي تأتي مذهلة وغير متوقعة

هنا نتعلم معانٍ جديدة لكلمتي
مأســـاة و نضـــال

هنا يتجلى الوجع الإنساني وغرائبه وضياعه الفلسفي المتجسد في أمراضٍ عصبية عجيبة ومثيرة للدهشة

كلنا هذا الكائن المسكين الضائع في الكون الضخم والباحث عن هويته
Paquita Maria Sanchez
May 04, 2010 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it
Shelves: truthiness
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 manifested in the means with which they organize and enga ...more
Apr 16, 2007 Mona rated it it was amazing
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. Sacks's patients with neurological disorders. Sac ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Lona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
وعندما همَّ السيد "بي" بالمغادرة ، ودَّع الطبيب و مدَّ يده ليتناول قبعته وأمسك بدلاً منها برأس زوجته ........ ومن هنا جاءت تسمية الكتاب (الرجل الذي حسب زوجته قبعة) ، ولمعرفة السبب والتفاصيل أدعوكم لقراءة الكتاب

الكتاب يتناول مجموعة من الاضطرابات العصبية الغريبة و النادرة، مشروحة بطريقة مبسطة سهلت الفهم ... ولأنني أملك خلفية/اهتمامات طبية لم أجد الكتاب معقداً وكان أشبه بالمراجعة، وأعتقد أن الكتاب في متناول الجميع بكافة المستويات

الكتاب مُقسَّم لأربعة أقسام، كل قسم يتناول مجموعة من الحالات المرضية م
May 12, 2008 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 few glimpses of this warmth (an example that sprin
Oct 25, 2007 Steve rated it really liked it
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, these disorders must have seemed even more unusual.
Laala Alghata
Aug 17, 2010 Laala Alghata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 IQs of 60 but who possess amazing talents.

There is
aljouharah altheeyb
Apr 21, 2012 aljouharah altheeyb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
هذا الكتاب المُذهل الرائع يقدم لك فرضية مُخيفة ومرعبة بمضمونها، لكنها - وللأسف - تحدث كثيراً ..
المرعب في الأمر أنه لا أحد يعلم بحدوثها حتى تحصل إنتكاسة أو ميلان غير طبيعي في التصرفات.

تخيل معي لبرهة شكل الدماغ الإنساني، هو يتكون من فصين ( أيمن وأيسر )، من المعروف أن الفص الأيسر يتحكم بالعمليات التخطيطية والتفكير الإستراتيجي والعمل ..
لكن الفص الأيمن، المتكفل بالخيال والربط “ العقلاني” ..
ماذا سيحدث إن فشل جزء من، أو قُطع عمل عدة خلايا من أحد هذين الفصين ؟!
في الفص الأيسر سيُلاحظ الخلل على الفور
Jan 09, 2008 Bell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
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 beauty and art, but healing mechanisms crucial to many ...more
ياسمين ثابت

حقا الذي وصف هذا الكتاب بانه الف ليلة وليله في الامراض وفي الحياة صدق

هذا الكتاب دون شك من اعجب واغرب واجمل ما قرأت

ليس فقط لان كل فصل كان يتناول مرض عصبي او ادراكي من اغرب مايكون
ولكن لان الطبيب او الكاتب ساكس كان بيتكلم عن كل شخصية بانسانية جدا بيوصف ادق حاجة في كل مريض تحس انه ماكنش بيشوفهم كطبيب كان بيشوفهم كانسان وبيحاول يعالجهم لهذا السبب مش لانها مهنته

الكتاب ده حيخليك مع كل حرف حتقول سبحان الله ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله

حيخليك تحمد ربنا على ابسط فكرة عقلك بيشتغل عشان يكونها...حيخليك تفهم ان
Muhammed Hebala
Jan 17, 2014 Muhammed Hebala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
[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 and wondering. Sacks brings to these often unhappy people understanding, sympathy, and
Christopher Klein
Jul 19, 2015 Christopher Klein rated it really liked it
This book is what it says it is: the clinical tales of a neurologist. And well-written tales they are. Sacks divides this book into four sections: Losses, Excesses, Transports, and The World of the Simple.

The sections follow their descriptors. In Losses, Sacks describes some patients who present with somewhat bizarre neurological deficits. In Excesses, his "clients" suffer from other neurological disorders that appear to be a superabundance of function.

The third section, Transports, is the mos
A very well-written discussion of fascinating and, in some instances, very rare neurological syndromes. Recommended for those who are interested in the varied and often devastating effects of brain pathology on the human experience and quality of life. Dr. Sacks’ abiding concern for the welfare of his patients, and the long-term emotional trauma that many of them suffer, comes through very clearly in his prose. The depth of his insights into the patients’ mental states is also quite remarkable. ...more
Dania Shrbaji
اول مرة اقرأ هذا النوع من الكتب، كانت تجربة جميلة ومفيدة.
يتحدث الكتاب عن الامراض العصبية الفريدة بأسلوب قصصي مركّزا على الناحية الشخصية للمريض فهو لايتناول المرض بشكل مستقل عن المريض كما تعودنا سابقا.
كما يلجأ لعلاج كل منهم بما يتوافق مع شخصيته واحتياجاته في الحياة، ويسعى لتعزيز الجوانب السليمة عند المريض فيفسح المجال لظهور ابداعات في الموسيقا او المسرح او الرسم او الحساب وهذا ماظهر جليا في الصفحات الاخيرة حين تحدث عن النوابغ البله.

اكثر مازعجني في الكتاب هو كثرة التفاصيل والاسلوب الجامد قليلا
Jul 12, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm.. what to say, what to say...
I did enjoy reading Sacks' observations and perceptions of his patients ('clients') with their various - and quite bizarre - ailments and conditions, but only on the level of intellectual curiosity.
On another (visceral?) level my reactions were much more complex and I'm not entirely sure I can communicate effectively how reading this book made me feel.
Trying to analyse these feelings, I had an enormous empathy for the souls concerned and was greatly moved by the
[Name Redacted]
A gorgeously-written and accessible introduction to the world which straddles the line between neurology and psychology. Sacks is a literate, artistically-minded man (who had a fondness for drugs himself, though he doesn't explicitly discuss that in this book) and helped revolutionize the psychological case study by focusing on his patients' abilities and adaptations rather than their disabilities and stagnations. It's an artefact of its time, so some of the information is no longer current and ...more
Abdulrahman Alhussain
This book is a collection of fascinating neurological tales. Tales told in Oliver Sacks’ wonderful, poetic, and deeply sympathetic writing. Through them, you will enter the different worlds of the neurologically impaired, you will be able to imagine what it feels like to live and feel, as some of them do.

Not only is The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat engrossing, it’s enlightening and challenging, as well. It demonstrates beautifully how the brain is still deeply mysterious, particularly in h
I picked this up at a railway station, shortly after it was published, not quite knowing what to expect.

All these years later, I remember it well. It was my first introduction to all sorts of conditions that are now more widely known to the general public, and left me amazed at the power and quirks of the human brain.

Funny, tragic, but never sentimental, Sacks writes with engaging charm.

That said, one can't help feeling a twinge of guilt, perhaps like a spectator at a Victorian freak show, even
Jan 16, 2015 Giovanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La prima bella sorpresa del mio anno libresco. Comprato più che altro perchè il titolo mi attirava, si è rivelato decisamente bizzarro e interessante. Soprattutto, mi ha offerto molti spunti di riflessione.

Ammetto la mia ignoranza e di non aver mai sentito parlare di Sacks, prima di vederlo qui su goodreads. E quando goodreads ti fa incontrare autori come questo non puoi non essere contento.
Non so quanto sia possibile descrivere questo libro. È bizzarro, particolare, tecnico e divertente, profon
Sep 13, 2014 Saman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, science
This book was a fascinating read. One of the best books I've read in a very long time. I would recommend this book to whomever is interested in neurology, psychology and the human mind.
I read this book little by little in a fairly long period of time. Mainly because I needed time to thing about what I read, sometimes because I needed to work a little bit to understand the more technical parts of the book and lately, in these last few days, because I was very busy.
The book is about people with
May 15, 2008 J.C. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2008 Collin rated it did not like it
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.
Jun 08, 2011 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could have read like a tabloid or some sort of neurological freak show. A man literally thinks his wife is his hat; a set of twins appears retarded in every other way but can calculate six-digit prime numbers; temporal lobe seizures manifest as individuals hearing music from their past that no one is playing. Sacks, though, is far more sensitive and profound than that. He always views his subjects as human, not as clinical case material. He uses their experiences to entertain deep ques ...more
Miquel Reina
Nov 25, 2015 Miquel Reina rated it liked it
Shelves: learning, thinking
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is a compendium of case studies that Oliver Sacks joined during his career as a neurologist. The truth is that I came across this book by chance while I was working on a project about synesthesia. It's a reading that will leave you a mixture of surprise and concern about the number of rare diseases and disorders that the brain can suffer.

Spanish version:
El Hombre que Confundió a su Mujer con un Sombrero de Copa es un compendio de c
Jan 19, 2016 Aya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مجال جديد تماما لم اقرأ فيه من قبل
مع أني كنت أعرف أنه يحوي قصصا لمرضى عصبيين
إلا أني لم أتوقع أن أجد هذا الكم من الدهشة والغرابة فيها , لقد غير هذا الكتاب فهمي لكلمة مرض نفسي او عصبي تماما
فيه وجدت تلك المواد الدوائية التي اقرأ عنها في محاضراتي تتحول إلى أدوات مذهلة ممكن أن تعيد للإنسان ذكرياته العميقة المدفونة أو تغيره كشخص تماما
لأول مرة فهمت المرض العصبي من وجهة نظر المرضى بفضل أسلوب الكاتب الإنساني المرهف .
وحمدت ربي ألف مرة على نعمة العافية من أمراض واضطرابات أعرفها أو تعرفت عليها هنا ^^

Hunter Murphy
Feb 19, 2015 Hunter Murphy rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this years ago for my library's annual book review publication. I would give it 6 stars if I could. I am generous with my reviews, especially with the books I love and that have affected me deeply. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is one such book. Oliver Sacks is a nonfiction writer with the eye of a novelist. His writing is so human and so humane. In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, he writes about curious mental ailment ...more
Iso Cambia
“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all… Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing… (I can only wait for the final amnesia, the one that can erase an entire life, as it did my mother’s…)”
— Luis Buñuel


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 - himsel
Saber Jan
كتاب يعرض حالات مرضية غريبة ومميزة , أعجبني الكتاب كثيرا
وأعجبني أسلوب المؤلف التحليلي الذي يقوم بتحليل دقائق الأمور في حياة هذه المرضى وخلافا لأسلوب الأطباء الشائع وهو سماع شكوى المريض ثم تحليلها , يقوم الدكتور ساكس بالدخول إلى النفس البشرية ويلامس روح المريض ويفكر من داخل المريض , كيف ينظر هذا المريض للمرض ؟ كيف يتفاعل معه ؟ ماهو شعوره الداخلي تجاه مرضه ؟

النفس البشرية ليست آلة عطبت وجاء الطبيب ليكتشف أين هي القطعة المعطوبة ويقوم بإصلاحها أو استبداها بل إنها أعمق من ذلك بكثير وهذا ما نراه مع ال
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Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, was a British neurologist residing in the United States, who has written popular books about his patients, the most famous of which is Awakenings, which was adapted into a film of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

Sacks was the youngest of four children born to a prosperous North London Jewish couple: Sam, a physician, and Elsie, a surgeon. When he wa
More about Oliver Sacks...

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“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.” 167 likes
“If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story--his real, inmost story?'--for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us--through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives--we are each of us unique.” 101 likes
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