On the Move, A Life, by Oliver Sacks

Everyone generally enjoyed On the Move. It was good to read a biography of someone who lived life to the full, with an added fascination that the stories were all true. Some comments:

  • Sacks was a one-off — an important man in his field.
  • Admiration for range of his interests and experiences: made me think ‘what have I done with my life!’
  • Driven by compulsions, and this was overwhelming. He was obsessive about many things: e.g. body building and drugs
  • Amazing that he met so many famous people: that was kick-started by his time at Cambridge, and he has a good head start in life from his impressive parents.
  • Good to read a book about a positive experience of a man coming out in the ’50s, and he was brave to do that — meeting his first partner from an ad in a phone box.
  • He’s somewhere on the Asperger’s scale – he found it hard to empathise with people unless he was in his white doctors’ uniform.
  • Also,  disinhibited about introducing himself to people and maximising any opportunity.
  • Struck by his recall and the amount of detail in the novel. Was that from memory or his compulsive note taking?
  • Sacks didn’t discuss informed consent. He used video  of his patients which would not be allowed today.
  • He was more of a describer than an analyst in his medical career, which may be a reason why he was rejected by the establishment
  • He had lots of brushes with death, but kept on escaping with his life.
  • Didn’t talk down to the reader
  • Is it physically possible to drink 70 cups of coffee in 30 hours?
  • It was a pity he introduced Billy in only a few pages at the end of the book

GM