Synopses & Reviews
“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been
loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return.
Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this
beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and
No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks.
the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he
movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to
terms with his own death.
“It is the fate of every human being,”
Sacks writes, “to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live
his own life, to die his own death.”
Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.
“The volume is tiny—short enough to read easily in one sitting—but it’s
huge in heart. Oliver Sack’s just-published book Gratitude, consists
of four essays the famous neurologist and chronicler of human quirks
wrote in the months before his death of cancer this summer at 82. It is,
in effect, a mini-memoir, a beautiful meditation on what it means to
live a good life.” Sydney Trent, Washington Post
“Elegant….a lovely slim volume.” Melissa Dahl, New York Magazine
“A series of heart-rending yet ultimately uplifting essays….A lasting
gift to readers….unlike other writers who have reported from the front
lines of mortality, Sacks did not focus on his illness, his medical
ordeal or spirituality, but on “what is meant by living a good and
worthwhile life—achieving a sense of peace within oneself....His tender book leaves readers with a similar sense of tranquility and, indeed, gratitude.” Heller McAlpin, Washington Post
“Oliver Sacks was like no other clinician,
or writer. He was drawn to the homes of the sick, the institutions of
the most frail and disabled, the company of the unusual and the
‘abnormal.’ He wanted to see humanity in its many variants and to do so
in his own, almost anachronistic way — face to face, over time, away from
our burgeoning apparatus of computers and algorithms. And, through his
writing, he showed us what he saw.” Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
About the Author
Oliver Sacks was a physician, writer, and professor of neurology. Born
in London in 1933, he moved to New York City in 1965, where he launched
his medical career and began writing case studies of his patients.
Called the “poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times, Sacks is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Awakenings,
which inspired an Oscar-nominated film and a play by Harold Pinter. He
was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, and was made a
Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for services to medicine. He
died in 2015.