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The Mind's Eye by [Sacks, Oliver]
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The Mind's Eye Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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"An absorbing attempt to unravel the complexities of the human mind." -"Kirkus"
"A master storyteller with a very engaging style...as a professional who is also a patient, [Sacks] has a unique ability to explain to people what the basic problem is and what the physical effects are...he allows all of us to share this and perhaps take some understanding away with us." -gulfnews.com
"Sacks has a seemingly inexhaustible talent for eloquently and humanely explaining our brains' most arcane and bizarre neurological dysfunctions." -"Time Magazine"
"Riveting." -"Booklist"
"Sacks has taken the patient history--the most basic tool of medicine--and turned it into art...Sacks is a literary, medical, narrative showman...It is a neat trick when the point of a book is made not by saying and not by showing, but by being." -The New York Review of Books
"A new book by Oliver Sacks is always cause for rejoicing." -"Christianity Today"
"Sacks knows how to go f

"""Remarkably graceful . . . Sacks would seem to be the ideal doctor: observant but accepting, thorough but tender, training his full attention on one patient at a time. "The New York Times Book Review"
Elaborate and gorgeously detailed. . . . Again and again, Sacks invites readers to imagine their way into minds unlike their own, encouraging a radical form of empathy. "Los Angeles Times"
Sacks has taken the patient history the most basic tool of medicine and turned it into art. "The New York Review of Books"
Once again, Sacks explores our shared condition through a series of vivid characters. . . . "The Mind's Eye" is a collection of essays [with] a remarkably graceful coherence of theme, tone and approach. "The New York Times Book Review"
Frank and moving. . . . His books resonate because they reveal as much about the force of character as they do about neurology. "Nature"
Rich with the sort of observation and insight that makes Sacks s writing satisfying. . . . Sacks shows us knowledge, discipline, and imagination confronting the terrors of illness and loss. . . . Readers may never take the view of a sunrise or of their child s smile the same way again. "Boston Globe"
From first phrase to final sentence, Dr. Sacks will draw you into a fascinating mental landscape that will leave you in awe of its strange, often spiritual and exquisite pathways. "Bookpage"
Another masterpiece of phenomenological description by our most gifted and humane chronicler of neurological disorders. . . . Sacks effortlessly blends his teaching of neurology with the most sensitive descriptions of the ways in which our individual brains yield the most extraordinary variety of human experience. "New Scientist"
"Sacks the doctor once again dramatises the most strange and thrilling scientific and cultural issue of our time the nature of the human mind through the simple act of telling stories. And he does so with avuncular good nature, even in the midst of his own agonies. Read him for endless consolation" --" Literary Review"
Extraordinary. . . . An elegant mixture of case history and street-level observations of the struggles of those afflicted with visual disorders. "San Francisco Chronicle"
Brilliantly described cases. . . . The reader comes away with numinous feelings of wonder, mysticism, and gratitude. What more can one want from any book? "Science"
Is there anyone who s done more to elucidate the ability in disability than Oliver Sacks?. . . . In Sacks world, even with great loss there are fascinating compensations. "People"
Unfailingly wise, humane and edifying. . . . "The Mind s Eye" is a welcome addition to the rich repository of Sacks collected works. "The Oregonian"
Inspiring. . . . [Sacks is] as cogent and elegant as ever. . . . Sacks raises a number of fascinating questions about vision, thinking, reading and writing. . . . Erudite yet lucid. "Minneapolis Star Tribune"
Stellar. . . . Dazzling. . . . Sacks writes with a dexterous clarity that illuminates the incredibly complex neurological conditions he studies, and lends wit, humor, understanding and compassion. "Dallas Morning News"
Sacks can open windows on subjects that, prior to his arrival, left people in the dark. . . . The possibility of another Oliver Sacks book is reason enough to get out of bed in the morning. "The Hartford Advocate""

Book Description

The bestselling author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat describes how we experience the visual world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 837 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (16 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00569FPF0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a collection of essays which illustrate how the human mind perceives and interprets information from the visual world. Like most of Oliver Sacks' other publications it is aimed at an audience who are familiar with (or can tolerate) a reasonable amount of medical and scientific data which is interwoven in a skillful fashion alongside the individual case studies.
The result is a publication that's brimming with insights about how the mind recognises faces, words, pictures and such and translates them into concepts which we can then act upon. But these are quite long and detailed chapters -- there are seven in a book of 200 pages -- written fluidly but in an old-fashioned style, with plenty of footnotes and references. So 'The Mind's Eye' isn't the kind of modern popular science book which you can dip into, or flick through. It's also a little hard-going to read at one sitting, especially as some of the information is repeated in different essays and the footnotes can be cumbersome (they disrupt the flow of reading for me).
Reading each chapter and then pausing to digest it meant that I got an enormous amount from this book, both in terms of understanding specific neurological conditions (such as the inability to recognise faces, or words) and across a broader scope. There's a fascinating review of how we take 3D, stereo vision for granted, and all kinds of odd tangental deviations from the core subject which illuminate peripheral scientific subjects. For instance, Sacks explains a useful theory about how writing developed in a brain which has no evolutionary need for it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In this volume Sacks use studies from his own case file, including his own experiences with prosopagnosia (face-blindness) and his treatment for retinal melanoma, to show how we experience and interpret the visual world.

The case histories include a concert pianist who found that she could no longer music, a novelist who lost the ability to read, a woman who had spent most of her life with no stereo vision (an issue that Sacks himself would encounter during his treatment)and a woman left unable to speak or comprehend language (aphasia) after a stroke. Although all these cases have had major consequences for their sufferers what is remarkable about them is how they have managed to adapt to them and re-build their lives around their conditions.

Sacks writes with his usual erudition and humanity and it is particularly touching to read the frankness with which he describes his own visual frailties and his struggle to come to terms with them. Why only 3 stars? Well, while I am normally a fan of Sacks' work, I really struggled to get into this book. I'm not really sure why this should be - it just lacks a certain je ne sais quoi and never really drew me in.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book, especially the chapter 'Recalled to Life' because of its insights into how stoke victims could lose certain faculties but learn to compensate for them by developing tactics in other areas, to cope. It also disclosed how strokes could lead to an inability to either translate sensory data into verbal terms or interpret input, to make sense of the world around them. Some people suffered word blindness - others lost facial recognition as an ability. Some were able to talk in an intelligible manner but when asked analyse what they'd said or done, they couldn't make sense of their thoughts or actions. It affected verbal and visual memory as well as passive (receptive) or active (transmittive) states of mind - in other words input or output. It was like they never reached a perception point of realizing what they were seeing or a recognition point because their memories of what they were seeing weren't there anymore or available to them.

Some of these difficulties involved abstract knowledge as opposed to objective reality (written or spoken language as 'representational' data): Could lack of a sense of direction be down to the same magnetic sense in migrating birds, being lost or damaged?

In The Beth Abraham Hospital for Incurables, residents / patients found ways round their disabilities through mimicry - that is using other sensory input to kick start memory in lost areas or to communicate in new ways (visual or verbal mostly as for instance, tracing the shape of letters in mid-air or forming words with their tongues; 'Only connect...' CS Forester): Children's books teach the alphabet by simulcra that resemble the abstract forms of letters e.g's a post for 1, a sail for 4, a catapult for Y etc.

Phil Beadle, the teaching trouble-shooter, says that there are three ways of sensory learning input - visual, sonic and tactile. This reflects the areas of difficulties for stroke victims as they try to relearn communication skills.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a distinct memory of an article by Sacks that I read in the New Yorker a few years ago - one from his Musicophelia collection. I was impressed by the very lucid and yet evocative tone of his writing. My overwhelming impression, which is confirmed on reading The Mind's Eye, was that Sacks's main preoccupation was in trying to effectively communicate the experience of living in a world which is consistently mediated and distorted by a wayward mind. The science comes second; what is most interesting here is the attempt to hammer home the subjectivity of our everyday realities and the very frailness of our sensual understanding of the universe.

The Mind's Eye is best read as a series of discrete articles on a theme; anyone looking for a specific unifying arc for these case studies will be disappointed. Insights gained in one case rarely directly inform another, but on the other hand each story passed through here shows another way in which a life can be fundamentally altered by a chance impairment. Most curious for me is the musician who loses, first, her ability to sight read, and then gradually the capacity distinguish visually between concrete objects, to the extent that she can't tell a window from a wall - and beyond even that. She can distinguish between fruits by squeezing them, but when presented with them has no idea what she is looking at - even though her eyes themselves are functioning perfectly well. More and more is lost, more and more astonishingly.
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