A deeply moving testimony and celebration of how to embrace life.

In January 2015, Oliver Sacks was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, and he shared this news in a New York Times essay that inspired readers all over the world: "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.... Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."
Gratitude consists of four essays that originally appeared in The New York Times, accompanied by a foreword that describes the occasion of each chapter. The foreword is written by Billy Hayes, Oliver Sacks's partner, and Kate Edgar, his long time collaborator.

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Gratitude Reviews

  • David Schaafsma
    Sep 2, 2016

    David Schaafsma

    I first read the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks when I was in graduate school, and was researching the use of narrative, of storytelling, as a form of inquiry in a range of disciplines. Stories in neurology, the ultimate mystifying brain science? But it made sense to me. There are sc...

  • Nicole
    Sep 2, 2016


    Sacks was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the liver and the essays in this collection were written during the last two years of his life. A short (I read this on my lunch hour) but meaningful work that brought me some comfort and comfort to countless others, I imagine. "I cannot pret...

  • Abdulrahman
    Aug 16, 2016


    In one of his essays (Mercury) in this book, Oliver Sacks mentioned how the elements and his birthdays had always been intertwined (e.g., he would say, "I'm sodium," the element with the atomic number eleven, in his eleventh birthday), and so I borrowed this idea, and used it to write ...

  • Joyce
    Aug 10, 2016


    This is a simple, yet profound book. It exudes a peacefulness, appreciation for life and gratitude, especially knowing that the end is near. ...

  • Karen
    Jul 7, 2016


    A collection of 4 essays Oliver Sacks wrote for The New York Times at the time, before and after he was diagnosed with cancer. I've read the individual essays when they were published, but I'm grateful that I can re-read them again in this book. If there's one person who can convey us ...

  • Tony
    Jun 30, 2016


    It has been my lot to stand outside stores while family shops. It could be Venice or La Jolla or just back home. Doesn't matter. Leather coats are modeled; children's designer socks are awwwwwwwed at; I stand outside, watching the passing parade of life. But on a recent trip to Seattle...

  • Brendon Schrodinger
    Jun 18, 2016

    Brendon Schrodinger

    David read this recently and gave it a great big thumbs up, and it inspired me to pick it up also. It's a very small book and came cheap as an ebook, and I finished it easily one night before bed. It consists of four essays that Oliver wrote before his death. From just before his termi...

  • David
    Jun 16, 2016


    This is a set of four short, but beautiful and profound essays by Oliver Sacks. They are reflections on his life, after learning that he was terminally ill. I have read several of his books on neurology, but in this short book I learned about Sacks himself, and his life. I never realiz...

  • Britany
    Jun 12, 2016


    Oliver Sacks pens these four essays over the span of a few years at different times during his battle with an eye melanoma that metastasized. Short and poignant, these essays really hit home. I can only imagine the lasting legacy they've created for Dr. Sacks. This book is short at onl...

  • PattyMacDotComma
    May 31, 2016


    5Even if you’ve never read anything by neurologist Oliver Sacks, I bet you’ve seen the famous movie based on his book Awakenings, with Robin Williams as the Sacks character and Robert de Niro as a patient “awakened” from a catatonic state.