We are sad to learn of your illness and feeling of “disorder,” and of course wish you the best. We also wanted to thank you for many years of inspiration and information about the mind/brain. Your explorations of the Varieties of Human Experience are part of a great tradition. My own encounter with a bacterial meningitis was made more understandable by your writings. I still hope to stage Pinter’s “A Kind of Alaska” in tribute to both of you.
With admiration for your courage as you swim toward the Light, my wife, daughter and I send sincere regards. Shalom.
Philip, Barbara and Marian Bock
Dear Dr. Sacks,
Through your work, I became fascinated with the mysteries of the human mind and inspired by your compassion towards the patients you encountered. I followed in your footsteps and became a neurologist and feel blessed everyday to be able to do what I do. I am so grateful for your life's work,
I first read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat in college. From that moment, I decided that I wanted to understand why things went right and things went wrong in the human brain. No single book, other than Listening with the Third Ear, effected my life choices so completely. Thank you, Dr. Sacks, for leading me to a rewarding and challenging career. I never spent one minute of it bored. People afre the most fascinating things in the universe!
Dr. Sacks has made the world a better place, and I can't imagine a world without him. I own all his books and look forward to reading "On the Move," which I've pre-ordered. I was heartbroken when I read his article in the New York Times.
His account of concert pianist Lilian Kallir's story in "The Mind's Eye" led me to understand what was behind the puzzling symptoms exhibited by a close friend. Although my friend's diagnosis saddened me, it was tremendously comforting to finally understand the problem.
I know that Dr. Sacks is an amateur pianist, as I am, and I have a request: if he has any videos of his playing, would he be willing to post one on his web site? My guess is that he's probably a pretty good pianist, and I'd love to hear him play.
In your recent New York Times article, you mentioned the gratitude you experienced in light of both the experience of your life and the news about your impending death. The world returns that gratitute to and for you, many, many fold. You are, have been, will be a blessing for all. Thank you for a well-lived, compassionate life. You will continue to live in your friends, your patients, and the innumerable persons you have encountered and helped through your life and work. Thank you again.
Dearest Dr. Sacks,
I discovered your written work at the beginning of my adult life, and looking back on the intervening 20 years, I have come to value you as one of my most potent influences. I value your compassionate portraits among my literary treasures, have looked to your work as life-affirming proof of the equal powers of brain and soul, and feel your influence in my work as an elementary school teacher. My worldview of human development as a process of unlocking unique, individual potentials owes much to your writing. On a very personal note, I have also been a pianist and composer since age 4, and have been deeply affected by your portraits of patients whose musicianship (or other creative abilities) have shaped and sustained them even through neurological disorder. My own brain once kicked up a terrifying musical event, when a repeating harp melody looped in my mind throughout an entire day, until I began shouting to hear myself above it. Though I tried playing other pieces in my mind, I couldn't banish the strange "musical seizure" until I got home to my piano, displacing the tune by physically making music. Without access to your books (especially "Musicophilia"), this event would have disturbed and haunted me, undermining my confidence in my health and sanity. Instead, because of your writing, I chalked it up to a fascinating moment of exploration of my own brain. I wonder how many countless, everyday people you have supported and enriched by sharing your science, in ways and in language accessible to all. You are a gift to us. Cheers, many thanks, and much love to you!
When I was a seriously misguided young man in college, I first took LSD, and discovered that my feelings and mental outlooks were greatly enhanced, and understood myself much better. I have been advocating for its use in Mental Health ever since, but only as someone who needed help after being in the infantry in Vietnam. (I am an engineer). A friend gave me the book Hallucinations, and it is a wonderful explanation of the need for and use of these drugs in medicine.
I want to thank Dr. sacks for this book particularly (I have given a dozen or so copies to psychologists and psychiatrists whom I know). And also for all the other books and his work. He has touched a lot of people. I read the recent article in the NYT, and although I am sorry to lose him, I am glad he can face it so well.
With love and thanks,
Dear Dr Sacks,
I address you with love and gratitude. I 'met' you whilst I was searching for answers to understand my bizarre neurological symptoms. My search led me to the wonderful stories of your expertice and into the lives of your fascinating patients. 'Knowing' you gave me the strength to stand up to medical practitioners who tried to discredit me and the effects of my 'bizarre' symptoms - labelled 'bizarre' by doctors, not me. Through your wealth of knowledge and understanding of the human psyche, and your enthusiasm and compassion for humanity, I have been inspired to develop alongside the symptoms that at times make life difficult.
You are truly an inspiration, a beautiful person, and whilst I would not be unique in your world - you are unique in mine.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for you being you, and wish you continued strength to fight your own personal health issues.
Cheers! and God bless.
Thank you for your generous and compassionate comments regarding the ecstatic experiences of those with temporal lobe epilepsy. You honour meaning and experience, and this is usually forgotten by psychiatrists and neurologists alike. I read you at the beginning of my career, and I am still getting much from your work 25 years later.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat opened my eyes and fuelled my interest in autism after reading about Temple Grandin. I now work in the field and have a nephew on the spectrum whose dad is a founder of our local support group.
You are an inspiration Dr.Sacks!
Love and wishes x
Dear Dr. Sacks,
Since I discovered you more than twenty years ago, you have informed my thinking on all matters, serious & frivolous. You have offered an example of how to live in the fullest senses. I am hoping that I am welcome to write again in your guestbook. This entry is really simply to say I wish you many happy days free of pain and fear. Many thanks for your example!
With great respect & fondness,
Dear Mr. Sacks, greetings from Armenia. My name is Lusine, 27 years old. I am an economist. I loved reading your book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat'' (the Russian copy). It is one of the best books I have ever read. The care and understanding your patients get from you is so great. And I am writing this short note to you to express my admiration to you and to the job you are doing.
I am a high school psychology teacher, and without Dr. Sacks, his books and documentaries, my students would be bored to tears : ) I am able to quote him about the beauty and mystery of the brain so my teenagers can understand it. The best reaction has come from his work on music and the brain.
Dr. Sacks not only changed my way of teaching psychology but has also enriched my life by his beautiful observations of the human brain. Some of my students have pursued music therapy after seeing the documentary "Musical Minds" and then reading Musicophilia. In our American Sign Language classes, our teachers use his work on deaf culture to help students grasp the new language and culture they are learning.
Dr. Sacks, you have touched so many lives, and the world is a better place because of you.
Thank you and God Bless,
I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr Sacks at the Bath Literature festival in March 2005, where he gladly signed two of his books which I had bought. As a psychology graduate and a postgraduate masters student, Dr Sacks's work formed a staple part of my reading. I have read all of his books many times over and am looking forward to the release of his autobiography at the end of April. I would like to pass on my good wishes for his current battle with cancer and hope that he can continue to write for many more years.
I was submerged 24-7 in Dr Sacks's world of letters for the past months, and then one day I came across the New York times article. I am so moved. I am a person with prosopagnosia and topographical agnosia, and after reading his essay on face blindness, I felt lighthearted and easy. The Mind's Eye is my beloved book and I wrote a poem (in my mother tongue) to Dr. Sacks last week; it is getting published next week in a leading literary magazine here in the southern corner of India. I could not hold back my deep feelings for such a wonderful person. I am waiting to get On the Move, from amazon.in. We love you, Dr. Oliver, take care, write for us again!
I will never cease to be in awe of Dr. Sacks! His insights and research into the workings of the human mind have influenced millions of people, including me. His ability to have compassion while still being a scientist and author is incredible. I own all of his books, 2 of them signed by the great doctor, and have attended his lectures at the American Museum of Natural History and World Science Festival. I never seem to get bored of what Dr. Sacks has to say! He can explain complex workings of the brain in a way that is both understandable and interesting to an ordinary person like myself who has no medical training. Even his own life is fascinating--Uncle Tungsten was one of my all time favorites. I will never be able to contemplate what makes us human without referencing something I learned from Dr. Sacks. I have a signed poster of Dr. Sacks (that I obtained at the World Science Festival) hanging in my home and looking at it reminds me that amazing things await us if we just keep an open mind and a sense of humor. Thank you, Dr. Sacks, for revealing and illuminating the many ways of being human and the fluid nature of our perceptions.
Your fan always,
Your compassion, melded with thorough description, honesty, thoughtful investigation and accessibility, couldn't help but bring me to multiple worlds and understanding I would not have otherwise ever known.
Thank you for the inspiration and education.
Sending love and appreciation, and wishes for peace and comfort.
Dear Dr. Sacks,
I discovered your work during the first year of my undergrad degree in Psychology. I think, in the same week, I held a human brain in my hands and read Te Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat--and what a game changer it was for me! At this point in time, I had no clear direction. I'm a lover of many things and have a range of skills, but I never knew where to really focus my energies. I immediately changed my specialty to Neuropsychology and have spent the last 5 years completely captivated with your work and all things brain and mind. Every time I read your books, I get this rush of adrenaline. I am so captured by what you have done, and you are the biggest part in me trying to go to medical school (and what keeps me trying again and again when they say no!) Essentially, my ultimate life goal is to be the female you!
For me, it was terrifying to not have my purpose. I've always needed a metaphorical path to skip my merry way down, and I really couldn't find it for some time (also known as "the lost years" to my parents). I could never really put into words how truly grateful I am for your inspiration. You were, still are, and always will be my little signpost, forever inspiring me when I just want to sit down and say... *insert bad word*.
When I learned of your illness, I sat and really really wept. My family thought I was a bit mad for being so upset, but it wasn't until then that I realised how truly pivotal you have been in my life and, well, you're my actual hero.
You will always have pride of place on my bookshelf, my future children will have read the whole lot by the time they are 5 (or else), and in your absence I will endeavour to try and be at least a little bit as incredible as you.
All there is left to say is, I owe you.
Kindest Regards, Caela
Thank you, Dr. Sacks, for awakening in me a curiosity and love for all things neuro!
I have immensely enjoyed all of your books, Dr. Sacks, and am looking forward to the next. All are are well-written and informative, to be sure, but they are also full of unmistakable mischief, joy and compassion. Such fun reads! And I've learned so much. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Sending best regards and healing thoughts.