From the beloved late neurologist and author, a collection of essays that displays Sacks's passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience.
Reading a book published after its author’s death, especially if he is as prodigiously alive on every page as Oliver Sacks, as curious, avid and thrillingly fluent, brings both the joy of hearing from him again, and the regret of knowing it will likely be the last time ... However youthful, that combination of wonder, passion and gratitude never seemed to flag in Sacks’s life; everything he wrote was lit with it. But it was his openness to new ideas and experiences, and his vision of change as the most human of biological processes, that synthesized all of his work ... To fill oneself with the consciousness of others, and then to forget deeply enough, and long enough, that the collective world can be welded to what is unique and original to oneself — this is as precise and moving a definition of creativity as I have come across. On page after page in this collection, drawing on the rich history of ideas he absorbed over a lifetime, Sacks illustrates how it is done.
The River of Consciousness reveals Sacks as a gleeful polymath and an inveterate seeker of meaning in the mold of Darwin and his other scientific heroes Sigmund Freud and William James ... Storytelling, Sacks tells us in the essay The Creative Self, is one of our 'primary human activities.' As this volume reminds us, in losing Sacks we lost a gifted and generous storyteller.
... the reader is in thrall to Sacks’ ability to braid wide reading, research and experience with his neurology patients to reach original and subtle conclusions ... We are gently shepherded through Darwin’s obsession with the deeper meaning of plant lives (Darwin and Sacks, with their expansive abilities to look deeply into small matters and uncover, with evident delight, large truths, seem like brothers separated by a mere century) ... Sacks himself is the expression of just this mental agility, a mind at play in the world, capable of profound insights into the pain of his patients.