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On the Move

A Life

By Oliver Sacks
18-minute read
Audio available
On the Move : A Life by Oliver Sacks

On the Move (2015) is the captivating autobiography of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks. In heartwarming detail, Sacks recounts his deep restlessness toward life and career that pushed him to seek more humanity and compassion within the scientific world. Sacks never wavered in his quest to understand what makes the human mind such a fascinating thing.

  • Doctors or students interested in neurology
  • People who enjoy reading inspirational biographies
  • Anyone interested in art or science

Neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks was once called the “poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008. His other books include Musicophilia and Awakenings.

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On the Move

A Life

By Oliver Sacks
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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On the Move : A Life by Oliver Sacks
Synopsis

On the Move (2015) is the captivating autobiography of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks. In heartwarming detail, Sacks recounts his deep restlessness toward life and career that pushed him to seek more humanity and compassion within the scientific world. Sacks never wavered in his quest to understand what makes the human mind such a fascinating thing.

Key idea 1 of 11

An early interest in science led Sacks to study medicine and develop a keen sense for patient needs.

Oliver Sacks was born into a family of doctors. His father was a general practitioner who continued making house calls well into his 90s; his mother was one of the first female surgeons in England.

Oliver knew from an early age that he was to follow in his parent’s footsteps and become a doctor.

So it was fortunate that he grew up with a love of science. As a child, Oliver would spend many hours in his room playing with chemistry sets. He also loved marine biology, zoology and botany.

But as a teenager, he would often ask himself: Which kind of doctor am I supposed to be?

As it turned out, what interested Oliver the most was the human brain.

As a teen he began having migraine headaches, painful episodes that would make him see fascinating flashes of color and distort his vision. These altered perceptions intrigued him, and he realized he wanted to know more about how the brain worked.

When he received a scholarship to Oxford University, he enrolled in pre-med studies.

As Oliver’s medical career began in earnest, he quickly learned valuable lessons about both the psychological and medical needs of patients.

Oliver worked as an obstetrician as he continued his studies. Since many women in England still gave birth at home at this time, Oliver would make house calls with a midwife, helping new mothers deliver. It was dramatic and exciting work, and Oliver found that he had a natural touch in helping patients in stressful situations.

On December 13, 1958, Oliver became a qualified doctor. He continued his training at Middlesex Hospital where he spent a year working in the medical and neurological units.

He saw from the start that a delicate balance of medical and psychological treatments was required to give patients the best care possible. This native awareness would eventually make him one of the world’s top neurologists.

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