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On the Move: A Life

(Oliver Sacks' memoirs #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  13,153 Ratings  ·  1,390 Reviews
When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.” It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologi ...more
Hardcover, 397 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Knopf (first published April 2015)
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Gordon Macdonald I'd read some of his other books first or this might not mean as much :Awakeinings , The Man who mistook his wife for a Hat e.t.c. Uncle Tugsten is a…moreI'd read some of his other books first or this might not mean as much :Awakeinings , The Man who mistook his wife for a Hat e.t.c. Uncle Tugsten is a very entertaining biography of his childhood. On the Move though a must read though afeter reading some of his neuroscience books.(less)

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Petra X
Oliver Sacks died today, 30th August 2015..

Back in the 50s/60s in California he was Dr. Sacks, a neurologist all week, but a gay, leatherclad biker called Wolf at weekends. That is when he wasn't on Muscle Beach going in for weightlifting competitions!

Oliver Sacks great accomplishment to me was to show us the people of the cases he describes as quite separate from their disorders. Not schizophrenics, but people with schizophrenia, not autistics or even autistic people, but people with autism a
...more
Petra X
The print book, this one On the Move got 5* and a more extensive review. This review is for the BBC book and only gets 2*. Update But I have rerated it 5 star as for some reason, only this review shows. It is the worst abridgement of a book I have ever read. However I did enjoy reading it so much I bought the full book. The abridgement shows Sacks as this young man who liked motorbikes and drugs and grew up to become a genial doctor and best-selling author. A man who suppressed his homosexuality ...more
Glenn Sumi
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Neurologist. Doctor. Author. Pianist. Motorcycle enthusiast. Amateur weightlifter.

Oliver Sacks packed a lot of life into his 82 years (he died in August). And this incredible volume, the second part of his memoirs (the first is 2001’s Uncle Tungsten), chronicles his busy, fascinating adult life: Oxford, navigating his way through research and clinical studies (a trip to an Israeli kibbutz helped him focus on his career), his move to the U.S., his travels (“On The Move” indeed), discovering his p
...more
William2
An essential endnote for the indefatigable Sacks reader. Recommended with brio. However, those just starting on the Sacks oeuvre are probably best off with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, The Island of the Colorblind or An Anthropologist on Mars. Read and be reborn.
Nicole~
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a storyteller, for better and for worse. I suspect that a feeling for stories, for narrative, is a universal human disposition, going with our powers of language, consciousness of self, and autobiographical memory. (On The Move: A Life - Oliver Sacks)

Oliver Sacks was the youngest of four boys born in England to a family in which a medical career seemed to be a hereditary trait: his father, mother, older brother, uncle and three first cousins were all doctors. At age 6, he and his brother we
...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Inspired by 'Gratitude' and the feeling that I had ignored Oliver for far too long, I delved into 'On the Move' with enthusiasm and the feeling like I had remembered an old friend.

'Uncle Tungsten' takes care of his early life (it's been years since I have read that one too), and 'On the Move' picks up with an adult, recently graduated Dr. Sacks. Most of the book concentrates on his early career, through 'Awakenings' and into his further books, but it compresses his later life. It is a biography
...more
Jane
May 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love Oliver Sacks, so I was incredibly disappointed to realize more than halfway through that I couldn't stand this book. It made me sad as well, for these are the last words of a dying man whose accomplishments and writings have made this world a more enlightened and decent place. This memoir is rambling and tedious. It has some good moments, such as when he describes coming to terms with his brother's mental illness and his own homosexuality. But then he cuts off the discussion and moves on ...more
Wanda
This was a GoodReads first reads giveaway, which I won in April. The publisher provided an uncopy-edited proof.

I will admit that I have heard of Oliver Sacks, but have never read any of his other books and I entered this giveaway on a whim. (I did, however, see the Robin Williams film Awakenings based on Sacks’ work with postencephalitic patients.) So I have no points of comparison, to be able to judge Sacks’ writing in this book vs. his other works.

I was surprised at how little self-analysis w
...more
Chris
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Note: I wrote this review in May, 2015, then let it sit until today when I heard that Oliver Sacks just passed away. I have not re-edited the text to reflect that sad fact.

This is a book that I could not put down until I finished it, save for six hours of sleep overnight.

For Dr. Oliver Sack's most personal and poignant work, which I believe is his best, I will provide a different perspective to what others on Goodreads and most respected newspaper reviewers have already said. The differences are
...more
Jafar
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
After writing many books, with great compassion and understanding, about his patients, Oliver Sacks reflects on his own life with humility and appreciation. What a wonderful human being, and what a fruitful life! He won't be with us for too long. Here is his recent article in The New York Times on learning that he has terminal cancer.

I would never have guessed that this gentle soul was a biker and a body builder.
Will
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a surprising, intriguing, brilliant, compassionate and thoughtful man! I thought I knew Oliver Sacks fairly well through his fascinating books drawn from his neurological practice, through Awakenings and his earlier autobiography Uncle Tungsten. How wrong I was.

This was a physician whose compassion and humanity separated him from the usual run of doctors, and he certainly had run-ins and violent disagreements on principle with many of them, in particular his superiors. He writes with disarm
...more
Laurie Anderson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hank Stuever
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Maybe 2.5 stars.

I had mixed emotions about this book, especially the last half of it, which devolved from an interesting narrative of young manhood into a lot of tedious name-checking and humblebragging. It's worth mentioning up front that, while I've been a faithful reader of Oliver Sacks's fascinating articles over the years (mostly in the New Yorker), I've not read any of his other books. I don't think I've even seen the Robin Williams movie version of "Awakenings" all the way through. Yet I
...more
Jessie
I was very fortunate to have received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from GoodReads First Reads contest, not least because I am a massive fan of Dr. Sacks.

Among his many gifts and abilities, two are displayed beautifully in this memoir: Sacks' intellectual prowess and the ability to translate his amazing experiences into beautiful prose.

Having read much of Dr. Sacks' work, I had always known that he continues to lead an incredible life, though I did not know how incredible until I was abl
...more
Cathy
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am heart-broken on hearing that Oliver Sacks died. I have read and enjoyed his books for more than 30 years. I even had a pleasant conversation with him once at a book awards ceremony, completely unaware of his identity. This last book is the most personal, revealing and an immensely satisfying work. I am struck again by prejudice, irrational laws and homophobia that has ruined so many lives. He had a ferocious intellect and imagination and he could see connections where others could not. I am ...more
Don
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My initial reaction was that this book needed better editing, that it tended to jump from subject to subject with no clear direction. But I've decided that I'm simply claiming that Sacks's life itself needed better "editing."

And I'm not sure that would have been a good thing.

The first half of the book is Sacks's almost embarrassingly candid discussion of the ups and downs of his early life. He appears to have compensated for extreme shyness by exposing himself to every physical challenge and dan
...more
Matthew Quann
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Memoir-fans, neuroscience
Recommended to Matthew by: Josh Bragg
[3.5 Stars]

I read Oliver Sacks' memoir as I was studying neurology.

It may seem at first an insignificant fact, but the combination of unraveling the clinical complexities of the human nervous system with Sacks' account of his life as a neurologist helped to personally enrich both endeavours. This isn't to say that a sophisticated or even rudimentary understanding of neurology is required to enjoy this book; on the contrary, going in blind is the experience I believe Sacks had in mind for his a
...more
Rambling Reader
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
a great read about a brilliant man and his deep and varied interests.
Kasia
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you for your brilliance Oliver Sacks. I want to know what you knew and travel where you traveled.
Bruno
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Sacks era un gran figo! Chi l'avrebbe mai detto guardando quel signore ormai ottantenne dall'aspetto tanto compito? Invece ha girato per gli Stati Uniti e il Canada in sella a una moto, dormendo dove capitava e facendo ampio uso di droghe - un Kerouac neurologo in motocicletta. Per non parlare del fatto che questo nonnetto da giovane raggiunse un record nello squat frontale sollevando un bilanciere di appena 260 chilogrammi!

In Movimento è l'autobiografia che Sacks pubblica dopo aver rive
...more
Isabel
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: da-bmtv, 2016
Alimentando o desejo de me debruçar sobre a leitura das obras de Oliver Sacks, decidi começar pela sua autobiografia.
Neurologista aclamado, Sacks partilha connosco neste livro, não só alguns episódios mais íntimos, quotidianos, pessoais, bem como o relato do seu trabalho, estudos de caso com os seus pacientes, muitos deles deram origem aos seus livros, teorias suas e de outros colegas, amizades com escritores.
Um livro fascinante...

P. 319- "(...) regra geral, raramente abro os diários que mantive
...more
Ludmilla
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İyi başlasa da gittikçe dağılan bir kitap. Bunu Sacks'in son zamanlarına gelmiş olmasına ve dolayısıyla anlatılacak bir çok şeyi kısıtlı bir zaman dilimine sıkıştırmış olmasına bağlıyorum. Sacks hakkında çok şey öğrendim, yazma süreçleri hakkında bilgi aldım, bir çok kuram hakkında ufak tefek bilgiler kaptım. En ilginç kısımları - bana göre- Uyanışlar'ın çekim sürecine değindiği ve genç yetişkinlik yıllarını anlattığı yerlerdi. Okunur mu, Sacks'i seviyorsanız evet; yaşamöykülerinin bilimsel bilg ...more
Dov Zeller
Yesterday a friend sent me a Radiolab podcast "Alpha Gal" about a person who, well into adulthood, suddenly develops an intense allergy to red meat.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/alpha-gal/

In fact, she's not alone in this, but doctors, rather than being curious, tell her, and a significant number of other people with similar complaints, that they're "making it up in their heads."

Not only is her allergy real, but it's profoundly dangerous--yet another under-appreciated tick-born medical condition
...more
Gearóid
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really fascinating book to read.
Oliver Sacks was obviously a very intelligent man and an expert in his field.
His book was very easy to read even though there are a lot of neurological terms
and complex descriptions of different conditions and how he analysed things.
But his writing is so good that it wasn't difficult to read at all.
It was so interesting to learn about this brilliant man who had a real human touch
as well a a great intellectual capacity.
His love of motorbikes and weightlifting sho
...more
Jeff
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Dr Sacks since I first read 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat...' in an undergrad Neuroscience class almost 20 years ago. In the years since I've read all his major works, eagerly anticipating each new publication, though none so much as this. It did not disappoint. His own life has been as fascinating, complicated and beautiful as the human mind he so adeptly studies and describes. Oliver Sacks has long been an intellectual inspiration for me, now he's my role model.
Aleksej Nilič Kirillov
Se il titolo fosse stato "La fantastica vita di Oliver Sacks" non avrebbe commesso un torto verso il contenuto.
Heidi The Hippie Reader
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. FTC guidelines: check!

I knew nothing about Dr. Sacks before I read this book other than the fact that he was a prolific writer. Now I know much, much more.

I loved that Dr. Sacks didn't hesitate to jump into the nitty gritty details of his life. One line that really stuck out to me: "It was just as well that I had no foreknowledge of the future for after that sweet birthday fling I was to have no sex for the next thirty-five years
...more
Laura
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
1/5: In the first episode of his vivid and honest memoir Oliver Sacks recounts his passion for motorbikes and his bond with his schizophrenic brother.

2/5: In his candid memoir, the physician and best-selling author, Oliver Sacks recalls the start of his work as a clinician. First of all he turns to his days as a power lifter and reflects on a personal struggle.

3/5: In his vivid and honest memoir, the neurologist and writer, Oliver Sacks reflects on love and lo
...more
Barbara
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A passionate swimmer who suffers from face-blindness, Oliver Sacks loves bicycles and motorcycles and is a cousin of the cartoonist Al Capp and of Abba Eban, onetime deputy prime minister of Israel. Fascinated by jellyfish and chemistry, he spent the lonely years of his life eating cereal or sardines, standing up for both menu items. Often scorned by colleagues, and beloved by patients, he has written over a thousand personal journals. The son of two revered physicians and the brother of two, he ...more
Jesus (Ego)
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Me ha encantado. Divertida a ratos, interesante casi siempre, tierna al final, llena del mejor Oliver Sacks, que habla sobre sí mismo, sus pacientes, sus trabajos, su familia, sus ídolos, su despertar sexual, sus aficiones, sus viajes, sus enfermedades... y todo lo que ha conseguido casi sin apenas darse cuenta: ser querido, admirado y premiado por medio mundo. En mí tiene un fan absoluto. Ahora a esperar a que se atrevan a hacer una película con su apasionante vida. Me froto las manos.
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5,430 followers
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

Other books in the series

Oliver Sacks' memoirs (2 books)
  • Uncle Tungsten
“When I was twelve, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report, “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far,” and this was often the case.” 16 likes
“I have to remember, too, that sex is one of those areas—like religion and politics—where otherwise decent and rational people may have intense, irrational feelings.” 13 likes
More quotes…