“I did not see my life in a flash, but many, many memories unreeled. They were nearly all good memories, grateful memories, memories of summer afternoon, memories of having been in loved, memories of having been given things, and gratitude that I had also given something back” ーOliver Sacks, A Life
The best book I’ve read this year and one of the best book I’ve read in my lifetime.
There’s so much I want to say about how much I love this book. It is so vast and so passionately moving. Oliver Sacks picked pieces of me back together when I was exhausted and distraught. Bit by bit I connected to life again through Sacks’ memoir and his life story. He never ran out of kindness and empathy in his heart. Truly grateful for this kindest human being.
This book is a whole life account of a man who lived his life to the fullest, simple and profound. Dr. Sacks was a spontaneous traveller, a sweet gay guy, a devoted doctor, a curious observer, a thoughtful reader and a faithful writer. Every page allowed me to examine the life I’d lived. I bonded so deeply with his travelling life in his early 20s, always was on the move. Like Sacks, I hitchhiked, took a rough path just for the sake of exploring. No fear. No money. Free spirit and courage were what we only had. He continued to travel for the rest of his life and I can see myself doing the same. I love when he talked about his exes. The sweet memories he had with them. At some point in life, he was a drug addict and wrote about those experiences so thoughtfully. I was intensely touched reading about his life as a doctor. He wrote so passionately about his work and I’d learned so much about brain conditions and disease. He dedicated so much for all of his patients. Working all day all night because he cared so much for them. Even when he got bullied from the higher men in doctors business, he mended himself and focused on what matters most, the patients. His account of professional life reminded me of my early career when I quit my first job, when I walked away from my first startup that I co-founded, countless numbers of career failures. I looked back as Sacks looked back in life and it was all fine. What an epic ride. Like Sacks, I wouldn’t call it a life if I lived the same year for my entire life.
Oliver Sack will always be a reminder for me to live. Awakening, Migraine, and An Anthropologist on Mars will be my next readings.