An Anthropologist on Mars – Oliver Sacks – audiobook review

Title: An Anthropologist on Mars
Author: Oliver Sacks
Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Year: 1995
Tags; non-fiction; clinical; neurology;

Overall impressions

This book is in the same spirit as Dr. Sack’s earlier enjoyable book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Of the two, while I preferred his earlier work, this book, An Anthropologist on Mars, is still definitely worth a read/listen. If you read only one, choose The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. If you liked that book, and you want more of the same, then this is it.


An Anthropologist on Mars covers seven fascinating cases: from a painter who compulsively painted his childhood town and saw it from many angles in a nearly supernatural way, to an autistic professor/entrepreneur whom researched both neurology and designed animal farms.

Just like in his earlier book, Dr Sacks conveys such compassion and deep interest in his patients’ lives, that you too start to emphasize, glimpsing what it must feel like to be them, and live a life in a neurological state that differs from your own. Reading this book gave me a new appreciation and interest in especially those who have autism.


I was happy to hear that Jonathan Davis, who narrated The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, also narrated this book. He does an excellent job narrating An Anthropologist on Mars, and is one of my favorite narrators (along with Luke Daniels), as using only his voice, he conveys each patient as a unique and memorable character.


Some of the tales, I felt were slightly drawn out, and the description of them could have been shortened. And I didn’t have the same sort of tingles and doubts of my sanity that his other book brought on. But these are minor critiques and ones that are easily overlooked given the fantastic narration by Jonathan Davis, and the overall interesting stories.


If you already read the Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and you want more, then without a doubt read this.