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The Mind's Eye. by Oliver Sacks

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ISBN13: 9780330508896
ISBN10: 033050889x
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cecilia.r.fox, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by cecilia.r.fox)
The title reminds me of Wordsworth--In his poem, Daffodils, he speaks of
"that inner eye, which is the bliss of solitude." Oliver Sacks' books resonate for me,
because of his remarkable skills as a storyteller. My childhood and his have certain
parallels in time and place, but it is in particular his sensibilities to music, literature, and
to what it is to be an individual, touch me. A physician, he is a neurologist and psychiatrist,
and those insights are at the foundation of his writing. I have read several of his books,and
this one I find remarkable. As we age, each of us deals with health and other challenges,
and he illuminates those topics in general, and shares his own challenges and foibles with us.
His work is cheerful, yet deals with the vagaries in life that we all must deal with.
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Elaine, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Elaine)
This is another one of neurologist Oliver Sacks' fascinating books, this time focusing on strange or interesting conditions relating to vision, or more properly, what people perceive when they look at things. One of the conditions he particularly focuses on is prosopagnosia which is the inability to recognize faces, a condition that Dr Sacks suffers from. This was of particular interest to me as a brilliant colleague, and close collaborator of mine, suffered from it. He would walk down the street never noticing that he was walking right past a close friend or colleague. It was not a vision problem as he had no trouble reading or seeing things; he just could not process faces. People would often be offended that he was apparently snubbing them. Often when we were together I would warn him that we were about to encounter someone named X who he should know. The interesting thing is that although my colleague was a very well-respected scientist, he was totally unaware that this was a known neurological condition - he just thought he was bad at recognizing people.

A second condition that was also fascinating was alexia sin agraphia: the ability to write but not read. This was typically caused by a brain injury or stroke, and while the person could write perfectly well, they were completely unable to recognize what they had just written. In some cases, they could not even recognize that they were letters in an alphabet they knew.

Every single case study Dr Sacks presents is fascinating. I found this an excellent read that provides a glimpse into the complexity of the human brain.
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9780330508896
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Picador USA

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Related Subjects


Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Essays
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology

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