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.
Your writing has informed, educated, and entertained me for years. I wish you peace and comfort.
Dear Dr. Sacks,
Your words bring so much comfort and have me looking at all that surrounds us with much humbleness. Your dignity and poetry in explaining life and its meaning and purpose have been a joy, but mixed with so much sadness. Hard that those two can exist together in seeming symmetry, but are really poles opposites. Or are they?
Miracles do happen, and I'm looking forward to many more words of inspiring and dignified thought from a truly remarkable man.
Wishing you all the best. Tracey
I look forward to reading this new memoir from one of the most intelligent and kind human beings in the public eye. Dr. Sacks' books helped to set me on the path to become a neurological physical therapist (finally graduating this year!). His influence makes me a more compassionate clinician and a more curious and joyful inhabitant of this earth.
Dr. Sacks, since I 'met' you while reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, I have been touched by your warmth, your love and respect for everyone you meet. I have been honoured to see people through your eyes, people that under normal circumstances I would never have known, but who have become real through you. I have listened many times to A Leg to Stand On, and share the gratitude the young man on the floor felt, because he was heard. You are a kindhearted gentleman, one of the best. ;-)
I have adored Dr. Sacks's writing since his very first book and have subsequently read all that followed. He is an inspiration! As a writer, I enjoy and admire his many gifts both as a scientist and as an author. And when those two world collide, SHAZAM... magic on the page! Thank you, Dr. Oliver Sacks, for showing that science and compelling writing are not worlds apart. You have given me a love and curiosity about science and neurology that will never diminish. I suspect you have done this same deed for thousands of others. Be well. Stay strong. And know that you're in our hearts and minds. Looking forward to the new memoir!
Your wit, your intelligence, your sheer joy for life and the seeking of knowledge are an inspiration to so many people, including myself. And, now, as I, too, am going through cancer treatment, you are again an inspiration for walking the road with grace. This journey may not be the highlight of my life, but it is part of my life, and an experience to treasure and learn from, as I have all the other experiences of my life. You seem to do that without any effort. Thank you for the example.
I remember when I first heard of Oliver Sacks. It was my first year at Sarah Lawrence, and I picked up a stray piece of paper on the walk back to my dorm. It happened to be a flyer for Oliver Sacks' reading from Musicophilia at the Museum of Natural History. My dad took me, and I got my book signed by Dr. Sacks. I was slightly starstruck after the reading, so I didn't say much of anything to him, but he was very kind. I read Musicophilia, then I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings (I also watched the film version with Robin Williams). I was inspired to study psychology at school -- I ended up studying literature and writing instead, because that seemed to be my path, but I'm still very interested in psychology and neuroscience because of Dr. Sacks. I am heartbroken to hear of his cancer diagnosis, and I wish him happiness and contentment in the rest of his life.
I have felt connected to Dr. Sacks and his perspective on the range of human possibility since my son suggested I read The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat". I remember feeling awe at his objectivity, and being warmed by his kindness and appreciation for the brain's flukes and potentialities. Dr. Sacks is capable of great compassion, but I've especially marveled at the wonder he openly feels and expresses, the curiosity that guides his study into the complexity of how our brains regulate and direct our lives. More than anyone I have ever known or read, Dr. Sacks takes us on a journey into the mind, using perfectly chosen words to help us experience and understand conditions. More importantly, he always "finds" the person and is able to extrapolate the human from the medical condition. For a scientist, a neurologist, to never lose sight of the human in spite of great compromise to that human's wellness, is genius and represents the best of humanity! I feel certain Dr. Sacks has never spent a boring day in his life, and will never....... and a part of my own brain has lived with excitement, always anticipating Dr. Sacks next article, book.......... act!
Your work has inspired me so much, more than words can express. I worked doing aba therapy with kids with ASD for most of my adult life, all thanks to your work and writing.
When I first read "Awakenings" many years ago, I was impressed with your writing style, your tremendous care for patients and relationships with your patients, and how you can express this in writing beautifully and at a level a non-neurologist can comprehend.
It was your work which inspired me to work in autism/special needs to start with, and I followed your example of staying with my clients/students and following them through life. It has been a rewarding experience, seeing the light come on in the eyes of a small child when he/she 'gets it' and begins to communicate, then speak, and often times graduate, have friends and dates..........
Your compassion with which you write about your patients it so touching and makes me wish I was one of them :)
For many, many years of knowledge, awe, joy and surprise that your writings have given me and will continue to give me until my time arrives.
You will be missed, Sir, very much.
Karen Kalpin Autism Consultant/Therapist
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
As an avid reader of any of Dr. Sacks's books, I thank him for his influence on my life and work. Working through music to teach children with intellectual disabilities has become my specialty, thanks to an understanding born through Dr Sacks's writing that the brain and in fact, our humanness, is more than just our intellect.
I wish him well in his journey.
I'm fascinated by ferns, much in the same way Dr. Sacks is. So I got a few fiddleheads tattooed on my arm in homage to him. Not sure how many people have a Dr. Sacks tattoo, so I thought I'd share.
Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting you in person, I feel compelled to tell you that I greatly admire your work. Years back, I became interested in your books and I decided to read The Island of the Colorblind (fabulous!). After I finished it, I proceeded to read every book that you had written. Thank you for sharing these insights and case studies. You have opened a door to a world inside that I quite possibly never would have known existed. I wish every happiness for you, and that your days may be filled with love.
Dear Dr. Sacks, I am the translator of your beautiful book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. I translated it into Turkish in 1996 and it changed my way of understanding who we are as human beings. Today I received few copies of 15th reprint and a newsletter from your office. I am very grateful to you for sharing generously your fascinating experiences of lots of different adventures in life. I wish you all the best and I would really like you to know that I love you so much.
Being a musician and physician, I delighted when Musicophilia was published. I had read all of Dr. Sack's books, but this one required two times through. There are very few people in the world whom I have never met, that the parting of death will bring much sorrow. Perhaps I will linger a bit before reading the final book. Dr. Sacks, thank you for your work and all you have done for me personally. We will likely never meet, but I will continue to strive to remain curious, diligent and humane with my patients, as I have learned from your books.
I first saw the book Awakenings in a second-hand book shop, read the cover and was hooked from that day. I now have all your books, and now that I am a pensioner, I rely on my family to buy them for me. You have been an inspiration in my life, and I am so glad I picked up that first book.