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Dr. Oliver Sacks on Music and the Mind

Narrated by: Robert Krulwich
Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Editor reviews

One of the great medical writers of our time, British neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks has been called the "poet laureate of medicine" by The New York Times. Speaking with Radiolab's Robert Krulwich, Dr. Sacks expands on the connection between music and the mind, the subject of his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. Dr. Sacks has an elegant voice that contrasts appealingly with Krulwich's dry tones, and he demonstrates his unique ability to describe and explain medical and psychological topics in a graceful and accessible way.

Summary

Dubbed "the poet laureate of medicine" by The New York Times, Dr. Oliver Sacks is one of the great medical writers and storytellers of our time. He has transformed our understanding of the human mind and restored narrative to a central place in the practice of medicine. His best-selling books, including Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, and An Anthropologist on Mars, entertain, enlighten, and inspire his many fans around the world.
©2009 92nd Street Y (P)2009 92nd Street Y

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Revelatory

Yes indeed Dr Sachs live with not so discrete partner who could not give the humanity to the medical confidentiality to the process. very American I feel.

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  • Patty
  • 30-04-15

fascinating stories and connections

this was just great- music has such connection to facets of our lives that we are only just beginning to inderstand

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna
  • 01-01-14

Very Helpful for Parkinson's Disease Patient

If you could sum up Dr. Oliver Sacks on Music and the Mind in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant, Enlightening, and Encouraging!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dr. Oliver Sacks on Music and the Mind?

I also listened to Sacks' Musicophelia, so I don't recall which; described Oliver Sacks breaking his leg in a mountain climb and having to haul himself backward down the mountain using only his arms and that he sang a little "chant" which gave him momentum like that of rowing a boat and allowed him to focus. He said that little ditty saved his life.

What about Robert Krulwich’s performance did you like?

Oh! You mean that wasn't Oliver Sacks? I didn't know that until I heard Dr. Oliver Sacks interviewed on Fresh Air (also available on Audible) and realized that Robert Krulwich was only the reader's voice. Fantastic!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was blown away by Sacks' research. I have since read all of his other books of which The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was my favorite. My husband sometimes introduces me to people we already know saying "and this is my...hat..." because it starts a fascinating conversation!

Any additional comments?

Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lancie
  • 08-02-11

A good read

I very much enjoyed the ideas expressed in this book. I would urge anyone interested in music to give the book a read.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ana
  • 30-01-14

Slightly dissapointed

Any additional comments?

Before getting this audio book, I was aware that this was an interview, but I was not aware that Dr. Oliver Sacks is not terribly good when being interviewed. Mr. Robert Krulwich who interviewed him and he was very dynamic speaker and he makes jokes, managing to engage me in the interview, but when Dr. Sacks comes on, even though his stories themselves are interesting, he makes them boring and he stutters slightly. It's not his accent that's not the problem, it's the little importance he seems to place in making us excited about the patients, who sound like they are a blast do be around, but when he talks he does not convey that feeling. It is only because I am fascinated by the subject, that I found some enjoyment, but I would not recommend it to a friend.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gustavo
  • 30-01-12

How a terrible reader can spoil an audiobook.

What did you like best about Dr. Oliver Sacks on Music and the Mind? What did you like least?

I was listening to his Musicophilia, 25 times longer and better, because in this little book I cannot pay attention to his voice, so monotonal and lifeless it is. Actually, his reading made it unbearable to listen to anything he said, be it good or bad.

What was most disappointing about Oliver Sacks’s story?

I could not say becuase of his voice is so bad that one cannot pay attention to what is being read.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Robert Krulwich?

I thought the voice was from the author. I guess it is difficult to find anyone worse than him. I've read several commentaries complaining about the quality of the narrator. In all of them I gave them a fair try, by listening to them in their free sample, and ended up by saying that it wasn`t that bad. This is the first one I cannot tolerate hearing to it. I should have gone to the free trial first. It was my bad. I guess that in this particular case I was enjoying so much the narrator (John Lee) of Musicophilia that, when I found out this other one reading the text, I could not bear such dramatic change for the worse.

Did Dr. Oliver Sacks on Music and the Mind inspire you to do anything?


To listen first the free sample before buying any audiobook from now. It is an important lesson. It could save both money and a lot of unnecessary anger.

Any additional comments?

ALWAYS LISTEN THE FREE SAMPLE FIRST TO JUDGE BY YOURSELF WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN STAND THE READING, BEFORE BUYING IT.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 22-02-20

Difficult to grasp when interviewer shows a film!

This could have been so much better. Did NOT realize it was a recording of a conversation between Dr. Sacks and Robert Krulwich at the 92nd Street Y when I purchased. This should be a free podcast, not for sale on Audible. Fairly surprised to hear Dr. Sacks say that music soothing wounded soldiers was created in WWI. Think we all know the story of how David played his harp to soothe Saul.

Also extremely surprised to hear Dr. Sacks asked about how singing helps people get over stuttering and he had nothing of value to say in response. We already know many famous singers who stuttered: Carly Simon, Elvis Presley, Robert Merrill, Mel Tillis, among others.

But the most astounding part of this Audible offering is that Krulwich shows a movie clip - and the listener has NO IDEA what is happening, other than a chorus is singing at an excruciating volume while Sacks and Krulwich try to talk over the noise. It's only $1.95 but save your coins.


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  • KK
  • 22-04-17

Annoying interviewer

Dr. Sachs is a wonderfully odd and brilliant man with so many fascinating insights on a myriad of topics. Unfortunately, the interviewer seemed to think the audience was there for HIS "brilliant" banter. He started the talk with blather that can be fast forwarded through; then he interupted, answered and often asked questions before Sachs could finish.

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  • E. J. Potchen
  • 29-09-15

Musical rhythm and brain dysfunction.

This is a speech given by Oliver Sachs briefly discussing the relationship of musical rhythm and various brain pathologies. It a descriptive report of interesting observations with little pedagogical utility.

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  • NaNa
  • 17-07-15

Great man, good interviewer

Dr Sachs is not a naturally comfortable interviewee, but RK did an excellent job of filling in blanks and keeping things moving.