Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks died on Sunday, August 30, at age 82. He’d announced in February that he was in the final stages of terminal cancer, and wrote a beautiful essay in the New York Times about what that meant to him: Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Oliver Sacks was a ground-breaking neurologist -- and a gifted storyteller who 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 was well known as a writer of such best-selling case histories as Hallucinations, 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. Sacks died at age 82 in August 2015.
Read TED's long, wonderful Q&A with Oliver Sacks >>
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 talk
More news and ideas from Oliver Sacks
TED News in Brief: Bill Nye joins the cast of “Dancing with the Stars,” Isaac Mizrahi moves on from fashion
Bill Nye the Science Guy (watch his TED-Ed lesson) will be joining the cast of “Dancing with the Stars.” New York Magazine says of Nye’s inclusion in the lineup — alongside Snooki, Valerie Harper and Jack Osbourne — that he is “the big get.” How long do we think it will be before he and […]Continue reading
Today, neurologist Oliver Sacks — who gave the classic talk, “What hallucinations reveal about our minds,” at TED2009 — revealed in The New York Times that he has terminal cancer. In a beautiful essay, he writes, “It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in […]Continue reading