Since Awakenings first stormed the bestseller lists (and the silver screen), Oliver Sacks has become an unlikely household name, single-handedly inventing the genre of neurological anthropology.

Why you should listen

Oliver Sacks is a ground-breaking neurologist -- and a gifted storyteller, who has enriched our knowledge of the infinite variations of human psychology. After his pioneering work with “sleepy sickness” patients (who were in fact survivors of an early-20th-century pandemic), Sacks went on to study the connections between music and the brain, as well as disorders such as Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and many other little-understood disorders that often count Sacks as one of their first chroniclers.

Sacks is well known as a writer of such best-selling case histories as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars, and his memoir of his early work, Awakenings, all of which have breathed new life into the dusty 19th-century tradition of the clinical anecdote. Sacks' writing, compassion, and wide-ranging knowledge catapults the genre into the 21st century and brings the far frontiers of neurological experience into the view of millions of readers worldwide. He maintains a small practice in New York City.

What others say

“Sacks's writerly form is now its own literary genre. It's easy to take his originality for granted, to forget how unlikely it is that a book about neurological disorders would become a bestseller, or that a bearded neurologist would become a cultural icon.” — Jonah Lehrer, seedmagazine.com

Oliver Sacks’ TED talks

Oliver Sacks on the TED Blog
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What hallucination reveals about our minds: Oliver Sacks on TED.com

September 17, 2009

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnett syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon. (Recorded at TED2009, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 18:48) Twitter URL: http://on.ted.com/39 Watch Oliver Sacks’ […]

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Quotes from Oliver Sacks

About 10 percent of the hearing impaired get musical hallucinations, and about 10 percent of the visually impaired get visual hallucinations.
Oliver Sacks
TED2009 • 2.5M views Sep 2009
Fascinating, Informative
Psychotic hallucinations, whether they are visual or vocal, they address you. They accuse you. They seduce you. They humiliate you. They jeer at you. You interact with them.
Oliver Sacks
TED2009 • 2.5M views Sep 2009
Fascinating, Informative