Oliver Sacks

This neurologist is famed for his writing about all of the unusual cases that he studied. Many different people walked into his office over the years and he wrote about their conditions. He got to see the most unusual things as they were always unexpected. He found that we learnt more about the brain from when things went wrong then when things were working well.

He wrote many books documenting his findings such as “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”. This is a fascinating insight into the brain as are all of his books like Musiophilia which examines auditory issues in the brain. Rivers of consciousness is more of an overview of his life as it was one of the last to be published before his death a couple years back.

His books are so well written which is astounding considering the technical insight that is also provided. I found that whenever I came across a specific term; I didn’t need to look it up in the dictionary as it was explained for me shortly after it was mentioned. It therefore didn’t interrupt my reading flow and I didn’t need to stop to think now what does this mean and what is he talking about now?

Usually books like this are written in technical language and are so difficult to wade through it’s like being stuck in a quagmire. Stephen Pinker is definitely one that falls into this category with his Language Instinct and Blank Slate amongst many others he has authored.

For someone who studies languages you would think Stephen Pinker would be able to write much better than he manages to do so. He has a lot of knowledge to impart to you but its so dense as to be impenetrable if your not working in the field he is. I have studied language and linguistics intensely but this was still too much work for me to handle.

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