Neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of best seller The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat as well as other explorations of the human brain, has had one hell of a life.

In his new memoir, On the Move, Sacks, now 81, recalls in vivid detail zooming through London streets on a motorbike, nearly killing himself, at 18; becoming an American medical intern after a life-altering romp through Canada; and, throughout his life, exploring his passions for literature, swimming, and even weightlifting. (About his deadlift, he writes, “I could only manage 525…My pleasure was very short-lived, as a few days later I developed a pain in my lower back so intense I could hardly move or breathe.”)

Sacks, who’s in the last stages of terminal cancer, could not have written a more breathtaking account of his too-full life. Who knew the most important medical writer of our time was also a complete and total badass? 

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