The Man That Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sacks

This is one of those books that allured me into Neuroscience. It’s very rare you get a great scientist, doctor, and engaging writer all in one. The book is informative, incredibly fascinating and captivating. Oliver Sacks is probably my top 10 favourite science authors, and may be the best to start with in brain science.

Only after I read this book did I now realise that one of his other books was adapted to the great movie Awakenings with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams (RIP), who portrayed him in the movie.

Most of his work is on the field as a doctor dealing with patients who have brain damage, due to accidents, strokes, and other incidents. How important the brain is to who we are can not be underestimated. In this book he encounters many neurological disorders and aphasia.

How can a man who can see is not aware that he can, while one who can’t is convinced he can. How an old lady got brain damage that made her feel better than ever before in her life, and like a young woman. These and many other cases in the book showed me just how little we know about the most important organ in the body.

The author is unique, because he deals with these people everyday, and not just study their neurological condition. His empathy is clearly displayed, while his inquisitive mind suggesting how the brain may work, without crossing the border of non-scientific speculation makes this a truly unique read.

Apart from understanding what aphasia means, there are hardly any technical terms I usually grapple with when reading other science books such as physics, molecular biology etc, while I’m sure the brain is more complicated than all those subjects.

I would highly recommend this book if you want to get into reading science books, and earnestly understand how little we understand the brain, what makes a personality, and how the self can change when the brain is damaged.

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