Sacks is a neuropsychologist who through his career has seen a number of interesting cases. Sacks started in his field when there was so much unknown about the brain. While there is still so much for us to learn, case studies, like those found in this book, have increased our understanding. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is a classic of psychology literature. It is a collection of case studies that have inspired research and even featured films. Nearly every introductory psychology textbook will include information on the man who actually did mistake his wife for a hat. Although, I found most of that reading more interesting than the actual story in this book. The case studies themselves are pretty succinct. They do not give you a whole sense of the person behind them. Each patient could have an entire book written about them. Many times I was left wishing that I knew more about the individuals.
No one cares about crazy people - unless they are your family or friends. Then you care a lot. Then you care not only about crazy people, but about how society is letting them down, and has let them down since the beginning of history. As hard as racial and gender reform is, reform for mental health is harder - because no one cares about crazy people, even other marginalized groups.
There are a lot of books being released about autism, and even some about bipolar and other mood disorders. Yet, talking about Schizophrenia is still too scary for most people. So, thank you Ron Powers for writing the book that need to be written and for doing it in a way that captured the reality of schizophrenia without overwhelming readers who do not live with this disorder everyday. Thank you for showing the history of the treatment of people with mental health issues, and the current problem that our families face in trying to treat this disorder. Thank you also for showing the positive side of schizophrenia, the dynamic people and their creative genius.
I have never known my daughter pre-illness. She was diagnosed when she was just three years old. It has been, and continues to be, a long journey. As a parent there are many fears, and one such fear is that this illness will take my daughter's life. This is a fear that Ron has had to live through. Thank you for taking this and telling others, helping others to understand.
This book is powerful, it is one of only a few books that really go into depth about schizophrenia. It was also evident that Powers is a journalist and not a neuropsychologist. There are a few conclusions that he made that I do not specifically agree with. Specifically, I am not sure if his assessment that schizoaffective disorder is worse then schizophrenia. Research shows that individuals with schizoaffective are able to more integrate into society, although there is not really good resources for this to happen and many end up in jail. You also have the mood disorder symptoms on top of the psychotic symptoms. I am not sure that there is a better illness to have, but I also would not say that schizoaffective is worse than schizophrenia.
As a mother of a 16 year old daughter, thank you for speaking out. Thank you for telling your story, parts of my story, and the story of how we as a society continue to fail people who have mental health issues. It is neurologically impossible to have genius without having deviance from societal norm. It is time that everyone starts to care about crazy people.
I love neuropsychology. I studied it both in my undergraduate and my master's degree. While I never went on to pursue it for a career it has remained an interest of mine. For fun, I enjoy reading neuropsychology books that take the research and combine it into a more narrative format. Some authors do not have adequate background in the science, and while the work is excellent journalism it does not go deep enough. Other authors are used to more academic writing and do not quite capture the narrative style in an engaging manner.
Then there is how to present the depth of knowledge. Some books are very introductory and I am left feeling board and unsatisfied. Yet, the book also has to be able to explain complex neurological tasks, that even the most researched neuropsychologist does not have answers to. It is tough to reach such a broad audience.
Writing a good pop psychology book is hard. David Eagleman is one of the best I have read. I was blown away by how he explained complex brain functions in easy to understand terms that did not leave me board. Even better was his applied usage of neuropsychology to change the entire dynamics of our society.
I tore through this book in audio, and plan on buying it in paper as well. I had long discussions with my children on the different ideas that Eagleman presented. The concepts of incarceration, punishment, and free will were fascinating. I can not wait to read his other books.
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