Book Summary: On the Move by Oliver Sacks

On the Move by Oliver Sacks Book Cover

On the Move: A Life is a memoir written by renowned neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. In this book, Sacks reflects on his life, from his childhood in London to his current residence in New York City. The book is divided into three parts, each focusing on a different aspect of Sacks’ life: his childhood, his professional career, and his personal life. Throughout the book, Sacks shares his thoughts on various topics, including science, music, literature, and his own experiences with drug use and sexuality.

In the first part of the book, Sacks discusses his childhood in London. He describes his relationship with his parents, particularly his mother, who was a musician and a strong influence on his own love for music. Sacks also talks about his early experiences with chemistry and science, which would eventually lead him to pursue a career in medicine.

Part II: Professional Career

The second part of the book focuses on Sacks’ professional career as a neurologist. He discusses his work with patients, many of whom have rare and unusual neurological conditions. Sacks also talks about his own experiences with drugs, including his use of hallucinogens like LSD and mescaline, which he believes helped him to better understand the nature of the human mind.

Part III: Personal Life

In the final part of the book, Sacks reflects on his personal life, including his relationships with friends and lovers. He also talks about his experiences with cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2008. Despite his illness, Sacks continued to work and write, producing some of his most well-known works in the years leading up to his death in 2015.


Overall, On the Move: A Life is a fascinating look at the life of a brilliant and complex individual. Throughout the book, Sacks shares his thoughts on a wide range of topics, from science and medicine to music and literature. His reflections on his own experiences with drugs and sexuality are particularly enlightening, providing readers with a glimpse into the mind of a man who was not afraid to challenge societal norms. Despite the challenges he faced in his personal and professional life, Sacks remained committed to his work and his passions, inspiring others to do the same. Whether you are a fan of Sacks’ writing or simply interested in the life of a remarkable individual, On the Move: A Life is a must-read.

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