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

  • by Oliver Sacks
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks - introduction
  • 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century" (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.
If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks' splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject".
PLEASE NOTE: Some changes have been made to the original manuscript with the permission of Oliver Sacks.

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What the Critics Say

"Dr. Sacks's best book.... One sees a wise, compassionate and very literate mind at work in these 20 stories, nearly all remarkable, and many the kind that restore one's faith in humanity." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Dr. Sacks's most absorbing book.... His tales are so compelling that many of them serve as eerie metaphors not only for the condition of modern medicine but of modern man." (New York magazine)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Neurology can be fun!

Would you listen to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales again? Why?

I'll definitely revisit this book because it's full of fascinating observation, acutely noted, about strange tricks the mind plays due to small chemical imbalances... On first reading the major stories stick out. I'm hoping to revisit the book for detail


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales?

The most memorable anecdote is probably about hyper osmia; the subject feels like a dog, led by his nose.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

The reflections on what exactly makes us a person


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Just about


Any additional comments?

Definitely accessible

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- Amazon Customer

Intriguing clinical cases

This is one of those books that I have meaning to read for half my life so I was glad to finally get round to it.

The cases are all fascinating, I enjoyed the level of technical detail, and Sacks comes across as warm and sympathetic to his patients. I enjoyed his intelligent, and often groundbreaking, analyses, which are frequently informed by his forays into philosophy.

I have read before that this is his best book but I am sure I will try some of the others now.
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- Dr Nik Jewell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-06-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios