In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks tells 24 short-stories (all true) of his clinical patients. The title of the book comes from the first chapter, where a man with visual agnosia (face-blindness) literally mistakes his wife for a hat.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is split into four sections: each section dealing with a particular aspect of brain function such as deficits, excesses, and altered perceptions.
Who is Oliver Sacks?
Oliver Wolf Sacks (1933 – 2015) was a British neurologist and author who spent his professional life in the United States. He felt that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe” and therefore important to study.
Sacks became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about his patients’ disorders, with some of his books adapted for film and stage. He was the author of numerous best-selling books, mostly collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders.
Awakenings (1973), an autobiographical account of his efforts to help people with encephalitis lethargica regain proper neurological function, was adapted into the Academy Award-nominated film in 1990, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.
Oliver Sacks on the Radiolab Podcast
Most of my knowledge of Oliver Sacks come his amazing contributions to the RadioLab podcast. I encourage you to learn more!
Links to Radiolab episodes featuring Oliver Sacks:
In this Episode:
- “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”
- Readings from Oliver Sack’s, “My Own Life“
- Book chat with Nathaniel Daw (Professor of Neuroscience at Princeton University)
- Time of the Season, The Zombies
- Verdi: Alzira
- Schubert Medley
- Taylor Bense’s Knife + Joanna Newsom Remix
Title: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
Author: Oliver Sacks
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Touchstone (April 2, 1998)