← Back to book notes

Book cover for On the Move: A Life

On the Move: A Life

Author: Oliver Sacks

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Autobiography

Themes: Medicine, Memoirs

Format: Audio book

Finished: May 18, 2017

Purchase link

I first heard about Oliver Sacks a few years ago on the Radiolab podcast. He seemed fascinating, so I bought his autobiography on Audible, On the Move: A Life. I finally got around to listening to it.

While this book is filled with fascinating stories of his life, travels, hilarious anecdotes about his patients, it jumps around a lot through time without much indication until afterward. You’ll be in the middle of the 60s, then Sacks jumps to something that happened in 1983 (which he tells you after the story), and goes back to the 60s. It was very confusing at times. Pretty disjointed.

What I love about this book is how Oliver Sacks breaks typical stereotypes. He was a terrible student, vagrant motorcyclist, professional body builder, and drug addict who did groundbreaking medical research, held down a practice, and published books regularly. He quit drugs cold turkey.

His one soft spot is that he was a gay man when it was very dangerous to be so, so he couldn’t be with the man he loved and ended up being emotionally detached for the rest of his life.