Start reading Musicophilia on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

Musicophilia [Kindle Edition]

Oliver Sacks
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $10.02
You Save: $6.93 (41%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Speak Now by Kenji Yoshino
Speak Now by Kenji Yoshino
A nuanced and authoritative account of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality. Learn more | See similar books

Book Description

Revised and Expanded

With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece.




From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, December 2007: Legendary R&B icon Ray Charles claimed that he was "born with music inside me," and neurologist Oliver Sacks believes Ray may have been right. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain examines the extreme effects of music on the human brain and how lives can be utterly transformed by the simplest of harmonies. With clinical studies covering the tragic (individuals afflicted by an inability to connect with any melody) and triumphant (Alzheimer's patients who find order and comfort through music), Sacks provides an erudite look at the notion that humans are truly a "musical species." --Dave Callanan

From Publishers Weekly

Sacks is an unparalleled chronicler of modern medicine, and fans of his work will find much to enjoy when he turns his prodigious talent for observation to music and its relationship to the brain. The subtitle aptly frames the book as a series of medical case studies-some in-depth, some abruptly short. The tales themselves range from the relatively mundane (a song that gets stuck on a continuing loop in one's mind) through the uncommon (Tourette's or Parkinson's patients whose symptoms are calmed by particular kinds of music) to the outright startling (a man struck by lightning subsequently developed a newfound passion and talent for the concert piano). In this latest collection, Sacks introduces new and fascinating characters, while also touching on the role of music in some of his classic cases (the man who mistook his wife for a hat makes a brief appearance). Though at times the narrative meanders, drawing connections through juxtaposition while leaving broader theories to be inferred by the reader, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This book leaves one a little more attuned to the remarkable complexity of human beings, and a bit more conscious of the role of music in our lives. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(267)
4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
221 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary! October 26, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Musicophilia is an absolutely phenomenal book, and will be of interest to anyone fascinated by music, mysteries of the mind, and the human condition. Sacks covers 29 different topics, ranging from synesthesia, to musical hallucinations, to savants, and beyond. In each chapter, he introduces the topic through cases (his own and famous ones in the literature--neurological and classic fictional literature, that is!), always maintaining a deep engagement with the humanity of the subjects: what is it like for these individuals? how do they describe their talent or illness or condition? Sacks also speculates on the possible neurological bases for these fascinating scenarios. This is a real page-turner, beautifully and clearly written, and it will give readers a new respect for the special place of music in our psychology, as well as a deeper understanding of the range of what it is to be human. 20 stars!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
181 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music and Science were never so interesting November 5, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Oliver Sacks is a British neurologist with a love of music and science. This book blends music and science together like no book I've ever read. There are some amazing stories here. I love the story of surgeon Tony Cicoria who developed a passion for listening and playing music after he was struck by lightning. The story of British conductor Clive Wearing is amazing too. He developed amnesia after his brain became inflammed. He has the the memory and ability to conduct and sing music, but he can't remember anything else. I also loved the story the research chemist named Salimah. Her shy personality was changed after she suffered a seizure. She suddenly had the desire to listen to music all the time. I also touched by the story of Woody Geist. He suffers from Alzheimers disease, but he still performs in an a cappella singing group. Leon Fleisher is a classical piano player who performed with one hand for many years because of a condition called dystonia which affected his right hand. I learned about a genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome in this book. Kids with Williams Syndrome have difficulty paying attention, but they often possess a love for music. I was entertained and informed by this book so much.
Was this review helpful to you?
148 of 159 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing November 25, 2008
Format:Hardcover
My wife thoughtfully purchased this book for me. I had read about it and was very excited to dive right in. Unfortunately I ended up really having to convince myself to finish it, as it became redundant fairly quickly. Sacks presents (too) many case studies regarding music and the brain, but the presentation feels random and somewhat unfocused. Had his editor suggested grouping the studies by themes or urged Sacks to provide more neurological background information it perhaps would have better kept my attention. It felt as if the reader had to do a lot of work to pull together some of the concepts.

As for the perceived redundancy, I kept waiting for the conclusion or wrap-up that would provide the overarching theme to all the seemingly disconnected patient stories, but to no avail. It almost felt as if the stories were starting to repeat themselves but with different patient names. The length too felt far too long, almost as if everything presented in the first half were just recycled for the second. Additionally, the writing style is very informal and easy to digest, which is not necessarily a positive. The book begins to feel as if the author were afraid to intelligently, academically, and thoroughly dissect the subject matter for fear of alienating too many readers. The result is a glossy feeling, like you're reading the U.S.A. Today version of something that could have really offered some insightful perspectives.

Promising topic, but presented without much organization, background information, or conclusion. I'm surprised that an editor would allow such breadth to be published without any true depth.
Was this review helpful to you?
213 of 233 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music and its role in our lives October 24, 2007
By L. Nery
Format:Hardcover
It is refreshing to see how a specialist still retains the ability to be marveled by the cases he sees in his office. Too often scientists get so blasé over their practice that they miss the finer human aspects of every case. Sacks leads the reader gently by hand, even while using neurological jargon, into amazing stories of patients who live through situation we would not have imagined. And they all involve music and how humans experience it.

I believe this book is a must for musicians, who will probably acquire new understandings regarding the dimensions of their music in relation to their own brains.
Was this review helpful to you?
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! November 15, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In his latest book, Oliver Sacks continues to tell us stories that draw us in, engaging our minds and emotions. In each chapter he introduces different people, some sorely affected by neurological disease, who have strange and profound relationships with music. This is not a dry scientific treatise. Sacks describes these people in a highly personal way, so that we see and feel the human aspect of science. At the same time he teaches us about the science of the brain, and the wonderful ways that music and the mind are intertwined. The subject is inherently fascinating, and the author does not disappoint. Drawing upon case histories from his own practice, and some from literature, he delves into the mysteries of the human brain, how it produces music, and how it is profoundly affected by it.

Sacks writes in a clear and straightforward manner. It is wonderful to find medical writing that is so accessible. There is some material here from his prior books, but it does not detract from this work. This is a highly engaging and informative book. I took great pleasure in reading it. If you are interested in music or science, you will enjoy this new offering from Oliver Sacks.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I like the information
I like the information. Oliver Sacks is a teacher at heart. I am a willing student who enjoys all his work. I learned so much about how music effects our mind and body. Read more
Published 9 days ago by l. gabriella
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book
Fantastic book. It's the best Sacks book I've read. I found it so fascinating, I ordered three more copies (used but in great condition) to give to friends.
Published 25 days ago by K. Rockow
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that showed to me a whole new meaning ...
A book that showed to me a whole new meaning to music. What it is inside your brain and why it also lives inside your heart.
Published 1 month ago by David Fernandes
5.0 out of 5 stars get more
Love Mr Sacks' writings. He writes so we normies can understand the complexities of human beings, especially those who are SPECIAL.
Published 1 month ago by V1x4_3o9
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting concepts
Published 1 month ago by DAN HICKS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It is a wonderful book and it came in pristine condition.
Published 1 month ago by Margaret Patten
3.0 out of 5 stars This book isn't for everyone
If you're educated in music and medicine this book may be interesting to you. Otherwise it's filled with anecdotal experiences of many practitioners that may or may not aid in the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by martha j short
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
A little too detailed for me.
Published 2 months ago by G. E. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insight into the mysteries of the mind
Amazing insight into the mysteries of the mind. Particularly interesting to me as a pianist is the impact that music has on people with thinking disorders (e,g. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Brock
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Oliver Sacks is a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and the author of many books, including Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Musicophilia. The New York Times has referred to him as "the poet laureate of medicine."

His work has inspired many adaptations, including the Oscar-nominated film of Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, a play by Harold Pinter, and several works by Peter Brook.

His autobiography, On the Move, will be published April 28, 2015.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Topic From this Discussion
Why isn't this available as a downloadable audiobook?
hi Daniel- It is an audiobook on itunes-- I actually discovered it there, and I wanted the hard copy edition--
take care
Oct 23, 2007 by dbusi |  See all 4 posts
performance Be the first to reply
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks... Be the first to reply
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 



Look for Similar Items by Category