On the Move: A Life

  • by Oliver Sacks
  • Narrated by Dan Woren
  • 12 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Oliver Sacks was 12 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 reflection 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 neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks' earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels - sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents.
With unbridled honesty and humour, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions - bodybuilding, weightlifting, and swimming - also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual, his guilt over leaving his family to come to America, his bond with his schizophrenic brother, and the writers and scientists - Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick - who influenced him.
On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer - and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.

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What the Critics Say

"His truly has been a life lived to the full - and beyond . . . it is the adventure of ideas he has undertaken that has bestowed on his life its remarkable originality." (Will Self, The Guardian)
"A compelling, surprising and sometimes astounding story of a richly lived life . . . fabulously surprising photos." (James McConnachie, The Sunday Times)
"[A] beautifully constructed and moving memoir . . . It is sad to think that Oliver Sacks's voice will soon be stilled, but his life and work are a gift to many and we can be grateful that he leaves such a legacy." (Andrew Scull, TLS)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book, shame about the voice choice

Would you listen to On the Move: A Life again? Why?

I would not listen again but I would read the book again. The choice of voice artist is quite bizarre and the production very poor.


What didn’t you like about Dan Woren’s performance?

The voice artist would be fine for an American character or novel. But he is so far removed from Oliver Sacks's London origins and English pronunciation that whilst at first it is unintentionally funny it is ultimately annoying. His mispronunciation of well known places is an especially silly mistake. The voice artist may not have realised that he was mispronouncing but the producers should not have hired him without giving him the support to correct pronunciation. Because Sacks died just before the recording was released I don't suppose he heard it. He would have pointed out the numerous faux pas but alas this undermines a brilliant book.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are many shocking and hilarious moments and it is full of profound insight into the human condition.


Any additional comments?

Please producers of audio book, do your research and respect the pronunciations of things, people and places, for without this the books ring false and the meaning inferred or intended by the author is completely undermined.

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- study never stops

Engaging insight into a stimulating mind

Oliver Sacks and his "Man who mistook his wife for a hat" are well known for their informative insights into the mysteries and wonder of the human brain. Sacks is a consummate story-teller engaging the reader with fascinating insights derived from his clinical career and personal challenges and triumphs.

In this autobiographical journey he reveals much about himself, his formative influences of family and colleagues, and his brushes with 'conservatism' (my word here... to reflect those who oppose new ideas or new thinking) in various forms. He exposes and shares his shyness, his sexuality and relationships, experimentation with drugs, and ethical dilemmas.

He reveals to us his multidimensional and varied interests, his arrogance and overconfidence (perhaps self-confidence is more accurate...) alongside his insecurities and desire to be loved, appreciated and respected.

I especially enjoyed his concluding comments on the purpose and importance of writing, a suitable book-end to this engaging and at times intimate public reflection.
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- Anthony "Prof of Global Health & Development - wide interests, fiction & non-, politics, justice & rights, culture & food, travel, art & creativity"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2015
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.