Review: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks

Happy Friday everyone! I hope summer has been treating you well.

As I kind of expected, I haven’t had a ton of time to read yet this summer due to my study schedule and work, but I’ve been getting through some smaller books. One that I recently finished was “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Dr. Oliver Sacks. I actually heard about this book while in a physiology class, and I couldn’t wait to read it.

This book is all about interesting cases that Dr. Sacks, a practicing neurologist, encountered throughout his career. This ranges from people with increases in mental functions, such as hallucinations, decreases, such as amnesia, or neurological diseases like Autism, Parkinson’s, and more. He describes each patient first as a human, and then goes on to describe their disease.

What I loved about this book was that it took diseases that most of the general public are aware of and used terms that are less steeped in academic jargon to explain them. And it presented them in lovely ways. For example, there was a section dedicated to autistic patients, and nowhere did Sacks use language that could be perceived as a degradation of the subjects of the stories. You could tell that he had immense respect for all of the men and women that he had worked with, and he really tried to describe these autistic people in a way that we could understand. He talks about how they are not less intelligent than us, just that they see and understand the world in a different way, and that that by no means should allow us to think any less of them.


In saying that, I do think that a lot of his speech was very science-y, and perhaps if you don’t have a background in science, it could be a little confusing to read. Even for me, some of the concepts that he was referencing were complicated and I had a hard time following along. So that would be one of my warnings. Another issue I had with this book was that sometimes I felt like his explanations of diseases dragged on. Like, for a couple pages. This really was paired with the language that he used, and also the amount that he references other researchers and professors. Ultimately, I would get bored, and give up reading that book for that day and move on. So – sometimes confusing and sometimes boring. The two downsides.

If you have any interest in neurology, or neurological diseases, this is really the book for you. Even if you just have an interest in reading books about medical practices, and can handle the language.

Overall, I would give this book a 3.5/5 stars!

That’s all for now ducks. I’m hoping to finish another book this weekend (if studying doesn’t bog me down too much!). Also my friend from out of town is in, so I can’t wait to show him around!

Enjoy the weekend!

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