The Mind's Eye

Version: Unabridged
Author: Oliver W. Sacks
Narrator: Richard M. Davidson , Oliver W. Sacks
Genres: Non-Fiction, Health & Fitness, Psychology
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: October 2010
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
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In The Mind’s Eye, Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities: the power of speech, the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight. For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically new way of being in the world.

There is Lilian, a concert pianist who becomes unable to read music and is eventually unable even to recognize everyday objects, and Sue, a neurobiologist who has never seen in three dimensions, until she suddenly acquires stereoscopic vision in her fifties.

There is Pat, who reinvents herself as a loving grandmother and active member of her community, despite the fact that she has aphasia and cannot utter a sentence, and Howard, a prolific novelist who must find a way to continue his life as a writer even after a stroke destroys his ability to read.

And there is Dr. Sacks himself, who tells the story of his own eye cancer and the bizarre and disconcerting effects of losing vision to one side.

Sacks explores some very strange paradoxes—people who can see perfectly well but cannot recognize their own children, and blind people who become hyper-visual or who navigate by “tongue vision.” He also considers more fundamental questions: How do we see? How do we think? How important is internal imagery—or vision, for that matter? Why is it that, although writing is only five thousand years old, humans have a universal, seemingly innate, potential for reading?

The Mind’s Eye is a testament to the complexity of vision and the brain and to the power of creativity and adaptation. And it provides a whole new perspective on the power of language and communication, as we try to imagine what it is to see with another person’s eyes, or another person’s mind.

Reviews (1)


Written by mel on January 10th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

What an awesome book. I usually shy away from male narrators with the exception of a few guys who write/read... they just don't have the inflection or variation to keep my attention. But this was great. I learned so much, and found myself scribbling down phonetic spellings of various conditions to look up and read about. If I could shake this guy's hand in appreciation I would. What a thought provoking book. The average person probably doesn't think about the fact that they see in 3D and have depth perception. Or that some people don't see an image which they can identify and name, but their brain can process a sense of an image of something to pick-up or walk around. My dog just had one eye removed, and while their eyes are different, it really made me start to think... especially because she can't tell me what she sees, or doesn't see.

Author Details

Author Details

Sacks, Oliver W.

Oliver Sacks is the author of "Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and lives in New York City, where he is a practicing neurologist.

Sacks, Oliver

Dr. Oliver Sacks was born in London in 1933 and was educated in London, Oxford, California, and New York. His concern has always been with individuals, as they cope with extraordinary neurological difficulties, and lately this concern has widened to embrace communities, such as the deaf, and their collective and creative adaptations to biological predicaments. Dr. Sacks lives in New York, where he is Professor of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.