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The Mind's Eye

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  9,925 ratings  ·  791 reviews
In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks explored music and the brain; now, in The Mind's Eye, he writes about the myriad ways in which we experience the visual world: how we see in three dimensions; how we recognize individual faces or places; how we use language to communicate verbally; how we translate marks on paper into words and paragraphs; and, even how we represent the world ...more
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Picador USA (first published October 20th 2010)
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Aida It is about extraordinary cases of patients with brain diseases, damages, etc, and their experience of life by undoubtedly great narrator Dr. Oliver…moreIt is about extraordinary cases of patients with brain diseases, damages, etc, and their experience of life by undoubtedly great narrator Dr. Oliver Sacks.
I am listening to its Audiobook, and enjoying it. Very descriptive if you are interested in scientific Brain stuff. (less)
Sherry Hinman In a way, it's about both. In each chapter, Sacks talks about one or more patients (and sometimes it's about people who contact him after they read…moreIn a way, it's about both. In each chapter, Sacks talks about one or more patients (and sometimes it's about people who contact him after they read about his patients in previous books). He describes their experiences and explains them the best he can, by relating them to what we know about the brain.

The theme of the book is disturbances related to vision. So a chapter might be about loss of depth of vision, blindness, loss of central vision, and so on. There is also a chapter on his own experience with a tumour on the back of his eye, including how a detailed description of how it changed how he saw the world and also how he coped with it emotionally.

His descriptions are so clear, personal, and compassionate, that you really feel you are getting to know the people and what they go through.(less)

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3.90  · 
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 ·  9,925 ratings  ·  791 reviews


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Pouting Always
This one covers people who loses their senses and still find different ways of communicating or navigating the world. It was actually pretty cool to see the ingenuity and problem solving that can take place when people have to compensate for loss of various brain functions. I really liked Lilian's story and I was pretty interested in the dementia symptoms she showed but the rest of the book I could've done without. I didn't really get anything new out of the rest of it perspective wise and thoug ...more
Barbara
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it

Dr. Oliver Sacks was a practicing neurologist and professor who wrote a number of popular books about people afflicted with neurological disorders and/or brain damage. In this book Sacks relates stories about patients who developed problems with their eyes or the 'vision' areas of the brain, including loss of the ability to read, inability to recognize everday objects, and impairment of stereoscopic and/or peripheral vision. Sacks also tells a very personal story about his own eye tumor.

Sacks st
...more
Trevor
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, science
I listened to this one as a talking book. There were many, many times when I nearly stopped listening to it. The problem was that Sacks himself didn’t read very much of the book – his eye troubles have made reading difficult for him. By far the best parts of this talking book were when he was doing the reading. You would nearly think that the producers of this audio book picked the person to read the other bits of the book as a way to convince Sacks he should just do the whole damn thing himself ...more
Petra CigareX
I like all Sacks' books about the neurological problems and adjustments of the people whose stories he tells. However, when he comes to relating his own problems, that's another matter. He goes into far too much detail as though he had confused his audience - most of us are neither personal fans of Oliver Sacks himself (rather than his work) nor are we neurologists ourselves. We just got sucked into neurology-as-a-popular-science by the brilliant Awakenings, or the film of that book starring Rob ...more
Megan
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I just wrote a blog post about my school memories and how deafness affected my school experience, and one paragraph seemed particularly relevant to this book, so I'll repost it here:

My favorite part of these school trips was the ride [to the audiologist]. The car we rode in was large, at least to my mind, and the back seat faced backwards. Even as a kid I enjoyed other perspectives; I would hang upside down off the jungle gym to see what everything looked like upside down, and purposefully choos
...more
Ellie
Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, The Mind's Eye is a collection of case studies by neurologist Oliver Sacks (who is perhaps best known for his bringing Temple Grandin, an extremely successful woman with autism to the attention of the public and for the film with Robin Williams based on his book Awakenings).

Sacks is both a gifted writer and a gifted clinician who brings a warmth, compassion and genuine interest to people who have various disabilities as the r
...more
Michelle
When I first saw the cover of this book, I thought it was called "O, Liver Sacks". It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to figure out it was called "The Mind's Eye". I loved the case studies in this book, and most of all how the people were portrayed as humans, not patients. My favorite chapter was probably the one on Lillian. The chapter on Oliver Sacks's eye cancer was really depressing, but it was still good. I definitely want to read more of this author.

Favorite parts:
"Lillian c
...more
Zanna
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These latest fascinatingly annotated case histories from Sacks are as ever made wonderful by the rich and tenderly observed personal context of each patient. Most poignantly, he writes of his own experiences of lifelong prosopagnosia (poor facial recognition and sense of direction) and the distressing loss of his stereoscopy due to cancer.

Moving and at times painful, this book is as compulsively readable as Sacks' first publication, illustrating how endlessly wonderful and strange is the half-my
...more
Kirsti
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
I'm always impressed by the author's compassion for his patients. One of them has perfect vision but also has a brain disorder that means she can no longer recognize specific objects. She can see an apple, but she isn't sure if it's an apple or a tomato or a pepper. She can see a toy elephant, but it might be a toy dog or a toy giraffe. But she claims to do well in and around her neighborhood. To test this, Sacks takes her grocery shopping . . . and to make sure she doesn't get confused about wh ...more
India Clamp
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a review by “The Guardian” it alludes “we are all close to being someone else.” The 3 lb. mass---aka the brain---is explored fully with Dr. Sacks and thus the opaque is made pellucid. Even now posthumous author Sacks humble words and melodic British accent resonates in my ear (via audible) and "The Mind’s Eye” embodied ichor.

My pre-med studies in anatomy and physiology at Oxford had not prepared me in the least for real medicine. Seeing patients, listening to them...questions about the quali
...more
Cindy
Mind's Eye is classic Sacks. It's a collection of essays with a focus on case studies. This time they were loosely based around the theme of the Mind's Eye - or how our perceptions of the world translate to imagery in the mind. As usual, he looks at people who have some sort of injury, illness or deficit to tell us about the normal functioning processes.

Sacks has never shied away from including his own illnesses and problems in his books. (To wit: A Leg to Stand On and Migraine.) This time felt
...more
Mo
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
3.2 stars.

After reading The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, I was hungry for more of Oliver Sacks' stories. Liked this book in general. Unlike the other book I mentioned it has a theme ; vision and the loss (visual agnosia) or gain of it. It is really interesting to read about how someone's brain can affect this persons vision and the other way around. The power of the book is the detailed description of thoughts and vision. But because of the theme it got a bit boring in the end and some p
...more
Serdar
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bu kitabı kabaca ikiye ayırabiliriz. Kitabın ilk bölümünde Oliver Sacks, duyu kaybı veya bozukluğu yaşayan hastalarından bahsediyor. Yazar, agnozi gibi sıradan insanın hayal edemeyeceği ilginç rahatsızlıkları başarıyla analiz ediyor.

İkinci bölümde ise Oliver Sacks, kendi görüşünü kısmen kaybetmesiyle başlayan olayları, tedavi sürecini ve bu süreçte yaşadıklarını bütün ayrıntısıyla anlatıyor. Devamında ise beynin görme kaybına verdiği tepkilerin, algının duyu kaybı halinde ne şekilde değişiyor o
...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I read this after reading Trevor McCandless's review. I was fascinated from page one onwards.

Since then I have bored nearly everybody I know by talking about it, lent it to my daughter (who found it just as interesting) and ordered another copy for my mother.

It is not just about eye-brain connections, though it is about that. It is about how different people respond in richly unique ways to sensory perception and sensory deprivation. But it is beautifully written, as simple as can be. Sacks is
...more
Barb
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oliver Sacks passed away this week and it is a sad loss to those of us who have enjoyed his books as well as to his friends and family. The Mind's Eye, like several other of his popular books, relates stories of his patients with ingenious adaptations to unusual neurological impairments, such as the lack of depth perception, or face blindness (inability to recognize faces). The second half of the book tells his own story in minute detail, of the melanoma tumor discovered behind his eye in 2005 a ...more
Gada
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-re-read
كتب دكتور أوليفر ببساطه تخلي الإنسان يقدر كل خليه في دماغه.. كل حركه الواحد بيعملها.. كل رمشه عين
Ensiform
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Another brilliant book by Oliver Sacks, this one on the eye and how vision, perception, thoughts, and identity are so strongly linked. As with his other books, in reading his accounts there is a sense of watching the scene of a gruesome car wreck: everyone is just a bump or a blood clot away from having their entire world irrevocably changed. In this case, by becoming blind, or losing the ability to read (but not, bizarrely, fascinatingly, to write), or losing color vision, or any other bizarre ...more
Courtney Johnston
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, own
I have this little mental game I play with myself to pass the time - when I'm walking or driving by myself, usually. If it had a name, it would probably be called something lame, like 'Choices'. In it, two or three options for a particular choice are available, and I have to justify to myself why I pick the option I do. It's like debating with myself, I gues, and it goes something like this:

Palmerston North, Wanganui, or Hamilton? (Hamilton)
Taller or thinner? (Taller)
Live to 70 or live to 80? (8
...more
Nick
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have the Dutch version of this book it still reads pleasantly. Only a few translation errors or one weird sentence but they are not that distracting.

This is a great book which gives fascinating insights into the brain, its adaptability and human resilience to life changing events that are quite subtle but have huge implications. Such as not being able to recognize faces or recognize written language but still be able to write letters or text. It contains an array of fascination storie
...more
Cheryl
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Dr. Sacks for all your work and all your personal sacrifices. I wish there were a heaven or a Valhalla, because you deserve to be there.

"Apes, which are able to "ape," or imitate, have little power to create conscious and deliberate mimetic representations.... In Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition, the psychologist Merlin Donald suggests that a "mimetic culture" may have been a crucial intermediate stage in human evolution, between the "e
...more
cat
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 100-in-2011
2011 Book 46/100

I have read many (if not most) of Oliver Sacks' books about the medical mysteries of neurology. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat was one of my favorites, and this new endeavor ranks near that 1985 hit for me. I was relieved, because his last book, Musicophilia, bored me to tears - an unwelcome and totally unexpected reaction to one of my favorite science authors. With this book, which explores "the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with ot
...more
Tony
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Sacks, Oliver. THE MIND’S EYE. (2010). ****. This latest in Sacks’ casebook studies concentrates on vision, primarily as it is controlled and/or interpreted by the brain. He examines in detail how people who are vision deprived, in some way, are able to navigate the world and communicate with others in spite of losing what most of us consider to be an indispensible sense. This work includes studies of a variety of his patients, including Lilian, a concert pianist who becomes unable to read music ...more
Charlene
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Reading this book in my mid-50s, I realize that I'm bringing much of my own life experiences to it and re-acting to the stories instead of considering them from a more scientifc or detached perspective. The new ideas about the plasticity of the brain fascinate me. Case studies though are hard -- those are stories of real people, greatly affected by brain accidents or diseases. The second chapter, Recalled to Life, was about a woman with severe aphasia after a stroke which is what my own mother h ...more
Jafar
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Oliver Sacks writes great books about people with rare and strange neurological disorders. He then uses these case studies to understand the inner workings of the human brain. This is well-known by now. What I didn’t know about Sacks is that he himself suffers from one such rare and strange neurological disorder: prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is the inability to recognize faces. Sacks can’t recognize anyone, not even close friends and associates with whom he has worked for many years - not even h ...more
David
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, audiobook
In six fascinating vignettes, Oliver Sacks explores fascinating case histories of his patients. In most of these cases, the problems arise within the patients' brains. Several of the patients lose the ability to interpret what they see, although their eyesight is not the problem. They may lose the ability to recognize faces or to read, or to negotiate walking in public spaces. I thought the last chapter to be most interesting, about how most (but not all) sighted people form visual images in the ...more
Debby
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a book of case histories of people who are visually disabled and the ways in whch their brains have compensated to give them "sight".
I personally am visually disabled and experience visual hallucinatins, so I was hoping to find some explanation for why this occurred and what, if anything, can be done to stop the unwanted hallucinations.
The case histories were fascinating and I discovered a few ways my brain has compensated for the loss of sight. I felt a sense of "Oh, I do that" as I r
...more
notgettingenough
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
Maybe I'm being star-miserly again, but much as I enjoyed this, it didn't contain for me the great revelations I sometimes received from some of his other books. If you are especially interested in eyes, this will be the one for you.
ERIN SCHMIDT
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I've been quite a fan of the late neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks ever since I was an undergraduate student in psychology. He explored some of the issues related to how the mind processes visual imagery in his previous book Hallucinations, but this book deals entirely with vision. Topics such as colorblindness are explored, but I think my favorite chapter addressed stereo vision. It's one of those senses that we don't think much about until something takes it away, as Dr. Sacks learned personally w ...more
Kotryna
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My heart sank more than once while reading Sacks' accounts of his patients' medical stories, and, in this case, even one of his own. The Mind's Eye presents biographical tales of people who experienced a decline in different parts of their mind's eye (ability to recognise faces, things, text, space) or fully lost their sight. A case study after a case study, the book proves how flexible and adaptive the human brain (and spirit) is in finding ways to navigate the world and live a meaningful life ...more
John Campbell
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. I loved The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat when I read it, so I thought I would enjoy another book by Sacks about perceptual/neurological deficits just as much, or at least nearly as much. I think for me, part of the charm of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was that the types of deficits it discussed were so broad ranging. Reading about problems with vision over and over again wasn't as engaging for me. The section I enjoyed the mos ...more
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2017 Reading Chal...: The Mind's Eye 1 17 Jan 05, 2015 02:48AM  
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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
“IT IS WITH OUR FACES that we face the world, from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Our age and our sex are printed on our faces. Our emotions, the open and instinctive emotions which Darwin wrote about, as well as the hidden or repressed ones which Freud wrote about, are displayed on our faces, along with our thoughts and intentions. Though we may admire arms and legs, breasts and buttocks, it is the face, first and last, which is judged “beautiful” in an aesthetic sense, “fine” or “distinguished” in a moral or intellectual sense. And, crucially, it is by our faces that we can be recognized as individuals. Our faces bear the stamp of our experiences and character; at forty, it is said, a man has the face he deserves. At” 6 likes
“To what extent are we the authors, the creators of our own experiences? How much are these predetermined by the brains or senses we are born with, and to what extent do we shape our brains through experience? The effects of a profound perceptual deprivation such as blindness may cast an unexpected light on these questions. Going blind, especially later in life, presents one with a huge, potentially overwhelming challenge: to find a new way of living, of ordering one's world, when the old has been destroyed.” 2 likes
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