A review of


Oliver SacksKnopf • 2013

Seeing Things

by David Meyer

Neurologist and bestseller Oliver Sacks explores visual and auditory hallucinations with his usual insight, compassion and boundless curiosity.

Oliver Sacks, MD (1933–2015) – British neurologist, medical professor, and author of Awakenings, among many bestsellers – notes that hallucinations can manifest due to illness, drug use, spiritual practices, exhaustion, sensory deprivation and a host of other causes. Sacks finds them ubiquitous to human experience, yet unique to the people hallucinating. In this compassionate and accessible study, Sacks suggests underlying physiological reasons for common hallucinations, which, with his usual poetic outlook, he regards as testaments to human creativity.

The New York Times said Sacks “illuminate[s] the complexities of the human brain and the mysteries of the human mind.” The New York Times Book Review wrote, “One of the pleasures of reading Hallucinations is understanding how complex human reality often trumps attempts to categorize it.” And the Minneapolis Star Tribune found the book “humane, compassionate…These tales are at turns delightful, entertaining, bizarre and sometimes downright terrifying.”

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