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September 02, 2015Posted in: News & Information, Programs & Resources Tagged: ,

Tourette Canada’s tribute to “the poet laureate of medicine”, Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks was many things. He was an author, a doctor, a teacher, a role model. Today, as we look back on his remarkable career, we reflect on the impact he had on us. Here are some of his acomplishments, quotes, life details, as well as some suggested reading about this famed doctor. We cannot do his lifetime of achievements justice in this brief blog, but we can tell you, our readers, a little bit about why he was so special.


By the numbers:

82 years old

13 Books

12 Honorary Degrees


4 Universities worked at

1 Academy-award nominated Film

1 Daily Show with Jon Stewart Appearance

1 Minor Planet Named in His Honor

Countless People Helped



“Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. It can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person’s eyes.”

“To be ourselves we must have ourselves – possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must “recollect” ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self.”
― Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

“…when the brain is released from the constraints of reality, it can generate any sound, image, or smell in its repertoire, sometimes in complex and “impossible” combinations”.”

“judgment is the most important faculty we have. An animal, or a man, may get on very well without ‘abstract attitude’ but will speedily perish if deprived of judgment. Judgment must be the first faculty of higher life or mind—yet it is ignored, or misinterpreted, by classical (computational) neurology
Patients with various other types of movement disorders may also be able to pick up the rhythmic movement or kinetic melody of an animal, so, for example, equestrian therapy may have startling effectiveness for people with parkinsonism, Tourette’s syndrome, chorea, or dystonia.”
― Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

“I have to remember, too, that sex is one of those areas—like religion and politics—where otherwise decent and rational people may have intense, irrational feelings.”
― Oliver Sacks, On the Move: A Life

“Neurology’s favourite word is ‘deficit’, denoting an impairment or incapacity of neurological function: loss of speech, loss of language, loss of memory, loss of vision, loss of dexterity, loss of identity and myriad other lacks and losses of specific functions (or faculties).”
― Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales


Aritcles & News Coverage:

Remembering 7 of Oliver Sacks’s Most Facintating Case Studies, New York Magazine

Temple Grandin on How Oliver Sacks Changed her Life, Wired

A Rare, Personal Look at Oliver Sacks’s Early Career

Oliver Sacks, Neurologist Who Wrote About the Brain’s Quirks Dies at 82



Oliver Sacks, thank you for your contributions to medicine, to literature, and to the Tourette community.

You will be remembered.


4 Universities Worked At

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