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The River of Consciousness

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,118 ratings  ·  277 reviews
From the best-selling author of Gratitude, On the Move, and Musicophilia, a collection of essays that displays Oliver Sacks's passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience.

Oliver Sacks, a scientist and a storyteller, is beloved by readers for the extraordinary neurolog
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Magdelene Namaste, Brigita.

"The River of Consciousness" contains Dr. Sack's thoughts on many topics, ranging from Charles Darwin to the neurological aspects of…more
Namaste, Brigita.

"The River of Consciousness" contains Dr. Sack's thoughts on many topics, ranging from Charles Darwin to the neurological aspects of time, creativity and memory. For those unfamiliar with these subjects, he describes them in a conversational way with relatable antidotes while revealing facts that aren't common knowledge. Charles Darwin, for example, is told through the lens of his botany work rather than "The Origins of Species." You come to understand complex neurological disorders such as Parkinson's through time perception instead of diagnosis. He also speaks about Sigmund Freud as a career neurologist outside of perimeters of psychology. It's rather like walking in a garden with a grandfather and listening to him tell marvelous stories.(less)

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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,118 ratings  ·  277 reviews


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David
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, audiobook
Oliver Sacks was a neurologist and a great author. He wrote a number of memorable books about psychology, psychiatry and neurology. He is most famous for his books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales and An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales. These books try to use very unusual minds and psychological conditions to understand better how the brain works. But it is not fair to focus on just these books; he was a Renaissance man, and he wrote a wide ...more
Mason Neil
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have found that as I've read books written later in Sacks' life, his tone shifts from a focus on specific details to a more abstract and comprehensive overview that delves more into the meanings of his life's observations. The River of Consciousness was, for me, an excellent culmination of that change in tone and focus. Sacks writes about all areas of science with such grace and art that you can't help but be completely consumed. There were moments in The River of Consciousness, especially tow ...more
Paul Ataua
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it

A fairly mixed bag of variable quality. Essays on Darwin, Time, Freud, and more. All were beautifully written and superficially interesting, but never really inspiring and rarely thought provoking. I read an essay, stopped momentarily, and then moved onto the next one. Yes, I did enjoy reading it, but I also sensed a lack of depth or coherence I didn’t associate with Sacks.
Melissa
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short collection of previously published essays that make us feel the loss of a person like Oliver Sacks very keenly. He loved science and scientific advances in all fields, not just his chosen profession of neuroscience. The collection is a bit too eclectic to be was wonderful as something like The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat. The essays on Darwin aren’t that interesting but for the essays that focus more particularly on neuroscience and the brain, especially “Scotoma: Forgetting and N ...more
Jeff
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Not his most cohesive or engaging book, but still worth the read.
GONZA
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: posseduto
Some of the most famous scientists explained by one of them. Darwin,Freud, James and Poincaré told by Sacks and some other informations about Edelmann and consciousness in the chapter that gives the title to the book. Prof. Sacks you are deeply missed.

Alcuni degli scienziati piú famosi e delle loro scoperte, raccontati da uno di loro. Darwin, Freud, James e Poincaré piú alcune ulteriori informazioni su Edelmann e la coscienza nel capitolo che da il titolo al libro. Prof. Sacks quanto ci manchi!

T
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Diletta
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coscienza a largo raggio.
Tracey
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This man has such a wonderful way of describing the ways of the Mind and body.
Lisa
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly interesting, multifaceted essay collection. Sacks's magpie mind is well-represented here, a series of essays that discuss more than their subject matter without ever getting too arcane. Fascinating to read about Freud's evolution from neurology to psychotherapy, or the nature of visual consciousness, or to consider what Sacks calls "Scotoma"—dark spots in the field of vision—in scientific knowledge. And underneath all of those explorations, a deep joy in the possibilities of creation, e ...more
Paul
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Sacks is the most approachable genius one could encounter while studying the human brain and its behaviors. This book is sublime.
Marcus Hobson
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is yet another marvellous book to add the the shelf of other titles from the late Dr Oliver Sachs.
The Forward tells of a television documentary called "A Glorious Accident" which gathered together a biologist, a physicist, a palaeontologist, a historian of science, a philosopher and Dr Sachs. What shone through was Sachs' ability to move fluidly between all of the disciplines represented. That is where this book sits, moving easily between sciences and the traits of the human brain. We cons
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Devi
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wissenschaftshistorische Essays zum Thema Bewusstsein, Neurologie, Biologie, Psychologie ... von Oliver Sacks vorzüglichst aufbereitet. Leider wird es wohl kaum noch ein weiteres posthum veröffentlichtes Buch von ihm geben.
Feisty Harriet
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A collection of essays that are loosely related to Sacks' work, but cover a wide variety of topics. I'm glad I had a solid background in (armchair) neuroscience, evolution, and psychology because it really helped deepen my understanding of what Sacks discusses in this book. 3.5 stars.
Jackie
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another fascinating study of human consciousness. Sacks describes sentience in lower order animals and in plants. He studies illnesses such as Tourettes and Parkinsons. He leads the reader on a journey of the history of scientific ideas and educates us through story telling.
Helga Cohen
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the final book written by Oliver Sacks and it was published after his August 2015 death by cancer. It was written as a catalyst from a documentary he was in which included 6 scientists in 1993. The issues investigated were the origin of life, the meaning of evolution and the nature of consciousness. All disciplines from all sciences were investigated. This book explored all sciences including Darwin and evolution, botany and psychology. Sacks had a familiarity with literature, medicine s ...more
David
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Oliver Sacks makes me glad to be alive. Sometimes I look at the title and know I am going to love whatever he's writing about, and of course I do. But I'll look at some essay and think, 'oh dear, this one is bound to be dull,' only to find that it is exactly the opposite -- it opens worlds of thought than I had no idea existed before. Sad to think this was his last book, but I've not read many of his earlier ones, so there's still plenty to look forward to!
ÔnÎÿ Fâÿ
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
استهلت عام 2018.بكتاب جميل للرائع اوليفر ساكس.
الكتاب مجموعة عن مقالات متفرقةللكاتب. بعضها قديم و البعض الأخر جديد.
حقيقة اسلوب ساكس في الكتابة فريد من نوعه. شغفه و فضوله اللامتناهي...قدرته على الربط و تبسيط المواضيع الفلسفية و العلمية مدهش . عند تقليب صفحات الكتاب شعرت انني . استمع لموسيقى باخ...احسست أني أتأمل لوحة لكلود مونيه.
كتاب جدير بالقراءة لكل فضولي و محب للكتب العلمية الخفيفة.
Emanuela
Riflessioni sulla Scienza, sulle idee che nascono, che si sviluppano, che a volte non sono pronte all'accettazione dalla comunità scientifica.
Visioni che si fanno strada in percorsi complessi e dinamici contro dogmi consolidati, a volte con la fortunata casualità che aiuta nelle dimostrazioni, altre dove le teorie vengono relegate nel dimenticatoio, ma che riemergono in tempi successivi.

I temi trattati in questo saggio sono diversi, quasi sempre a carattere neurologico (fisiologia e patologia),
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Colleen Edwards
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind bending!!
Steve
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely, marvelous science writing by one of the very best. Beautiful essays, most about consciousness-related things, but not a single-topic book by any means. What a great writer.
Miguel
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O livro que reúne os últimos ensaios escritos por Oliver Sacks e que, entre muitas outras coisas, nos ensina que a ciência não precisa de deus para se espantar com a essência e o mistério da aventura humana.
Robert
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oliver Sacks remains, even post-mortem, one of the most brilliant essayists and thinkers writing in English. The River of Consciousness is a volume of pieces published in the New York Review of Books and selected by Sacks for inclusion here only a few days before his death. His editorial team and designees have done a wonderful job arranging these meditations on speed, consciousness, the intricacies of the brain, Darwin, and the sentience of plants.

Each piece has a thematic unity that is enriche
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Patrick Martel
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: essai
Bouquin recommandé par une amie, et je l’en remercie. Je connaissais Oliver Sacks, je savais qui il était (AWAKENINGS), mais je ne l’avais jamais lu. Pas nécessairement mon champ d’intérêt premier. Mais encore! Ce qu’il a à dire concerne tellement de phénomènes abordés et discutés dans tous les médiums, qu’il est difficile de ne pas se sentir interpellé et, du fait même, intéressé par ce que le neurologue-botaniste-théoricien-professeur-auteur-et-j’en-passe a à dire.

Paru deux après la mort de S
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• Frannie •
Ripartiamo da qui: una raccolta di scritti rimasta sulla scrivania di Oliver Sacks fino a pochi giorni prima della sua morte, un ideale testamento che spazia tra gli argomenti che più lo hanno affascinato e un’ultima prova letteraria, finalmente tradotta e pubblicata da Adelphi nel 2018.

Oliver Sacks: medico, docente di neurologia e psichiatria, chimico e scrittore, tristemente venuto a mancare pochi anni fa. Una mente brillante, curiosa e inevitabilmente attratta dalla vita e dai meccanismi che
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Nicole
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I first saw this book on the new releases table at the book store, I was skeptical. Is the estate of Oliver Sacks simply trying to milk all they can from a great mind now departed, I wondered. How can a book published from scraps be any good? I decided against getting it as a Christmas present for someone because of this, but when I saw it at the library, available thanks to a program here in Seattle to keep new releases in stock, I couldn't help but to check it out. I'm glad I did.

From th
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João
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Um conjunto de ensaios muitíssimo interessantes, esclarecedores e, por vezes, surpreendentes, sobre a perceção, a consciência, o tempo e a memória , que nos obrigam a repensar muitas das certezas que temos. Destaco:
"Velocidade": sobre a perceção que temos da velocidade e da escala temporal, onde Sacks inclui o exemplo de pacientes neurológicos para os quais o tempo passa em câmara lenta, como no filme "Matrix", quando o herói se desvia das balas, ou o exemplo das pessoas sujeitas a perigo de mo
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Bob
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Katherine, Paul and everyone else
Shelves: 5-star-books
Magnificent and magical. Sacks' ability to convey medical and scientific information to lay people was always among the best, and this series of essays is a source of both enlightenment and intrigue. I recommend his piece on the fallibility of memory to everyone, young and old - for me, it explains why I have such vivid memories of events from my childhood that my sister and our old friends assure me did not occur (as well as verifying my understanding of the fallibility of eyewitness identifica ...more
Mukul
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In The River of Consciousness, Dr Sacks takes on evolution, botany, chemistry, medicine, neuroscience, and the arts, and calls upon his great scientific and creative heroes - above all, Darwin, Freud l, and William James. For Sacks, these thinkers were constant companions from an early age; the questions they explored - the meaning of evolution, the roots of creativity, and the nature of consciousness - lie at the heart of science and of this books.
Shannon
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm really glad I read this, though I'd say the essays were uneven. What floored me the most were perhaps the discussions of time disorders and how good, ground-breaking science gets lost or ignored. I also enjoyed the sections on plagiarism and creativity and the fine line between - though that felt more familiar, less novel. I'm definitely interested in reading Sachs' other books.
Jason
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another, and sadly the last, addition to Dr. Sack's completely unique and beguiling library of brilliance. These essays examine, every area of life, consciousness and humanness with Sack's engaging style and unquenchable curiosity. This man was truly extraordinary, and the lose of his voice and perspective will be felt for a long time to come.
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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
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“Why is it that of every hundred gifted young musicians who study at Juilliard or every hundred brilliant young scientists who go to work in major labs under illustrious mentors, only a handful will write memorable musical compositions or make scientific discoveries of major importance? Are the majority, despite their gifts, lacking in some further creative spark? Are they missing characteristics other than creativity that may be essential for creative achievement—such as boldness, confidence, independence of mind? It takes a special energy, over and above one’s creative potential, a special audacity or subversiveness, to strike out in a new direction once one is settled. It is a gamble as all creative projects must be, for the new direction may not turn out to be productive at all. Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well. This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own. In Wagner’s overture to Rienzi, one can almost trace this emergence. There are echoes, imitations, paraphrases, pastiches of Rossini, Meyerbeer, Schumann, and others—all the musical influences of his apprenticeship. And then, suddenly, astoundingly, one hears Wagner’s own voice: powerful, extraordinary (though, to my mind, horrible), a voice of genius, without precedent or antecedent. The essential element in these realms of retaining and appropriating versus assimilating and incorporating is one of depth, of meaning, of active and personal involvement.” 1 likes
“While some of these near-death experiences are marked by a sense of helplessness and passivity, even dissociation, in others there is an intense sense of immediacy and reality, and a dramatic acceleration of thought and perception and reaction, which allow one to negotiate danger successfully. Noyes and Kletti describe a jet pilot who faced almost certain death when his plane was improperly launched from its carrier: “I vividly recalled, in a matter of about three seconds, over a dozen actions necessary to successful recovery of flight attitude. The procedures I needed were readily available. I had almost total recall and felt in complete control.” 1 likes
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