21 books like On the Move

By Oliver Sacks,

Here are 21 books that On the Move fans have personally recommended if you like On the Move. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of When Breath Becomes Air

Mahala Yates Stripling Author Of Bioethics and Medical Issues in Literature

From my list on medical/scientific stories that show what it means to be human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an independent scholar who read Mortal Lessons, Richard Selzer’s book of essays about our common human condition - mortality. I began writing the biography of this Yale surgeon who influenced the literature-and-medicine movement, ushering in patient-centered care. I read everything by and about him, gaining a background in the medical humanities. In the middle of this project, I was asked to write Bioethics and Medical Issues in Literature. The first edition came out in 2005; subsequently I updated and published a second paperback edition in 2013, accessible by the general public and used as a complete curriculum. Clearly, reading literature helps us explore what makes us human.

Mahala's book list on medical/scientific stories that show what it means to be human

Mahala Yates Stripling Why did Mahala love this book?

Dr. Kalanithi’s memoir is surprisingly uplifting. A non-smoker, he was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer in 2013. He was an American neurosurgeon, and his wife Lucy, an internal medicine doctor, is now a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford.

I find it brave that they decided to have a child in the midst of Paul’s treatment. Cady was eight months old when her father died in 2015 at the age of 37. His jargon-free writings from a doctor-patient point of view show they lived intentionally, finding joy and meaning, regardless of a terminal diagnosis. Medical training is based on empirical science; however, Paul’s despair caused him to return to the devout Christianity of his youth. He found its language better suited to grasping hope and love in human life. 

By Paul Kalanithi,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked When Breath Becomes Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER**

'Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.' Atul Gawande, bestselling author of Being Mortal

What makes life worth living in the face of death?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and…


Book cover of Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Elias Aboujaoude Author Of A Leader's Destiny: Why Psychology, Personality, and Character Make All the Difference

From my list on the psychological quest for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychiatry professor, researcher, and author at Stanford University. Besides OCD, my research has focused on the interface between technology and psychology, both in its negative manifestations (e.g., video game addiction, online narcissism, cyberbullying) and positive applications (e.g., telemedicine, virtual reality therapy, AI digital therapeutics). My reading tastes and non-scientific writing topics reflect the same interests—deep and highly personal psychological explorations of individuals on a quest for meaning or facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, symptoms, or character tests.  

Elias' book list on the psychological quest for meaning

Elias Aboujaoude Why did Elias love this book?

How-to books are typically far from my favorites. They are often reductive and play fast and loose with psychology–pretending, for example, that personality traits are easily moldable—so I typically stay away.

Still, it was hard to resist the uplifting pull of a book that turns courage into a set of seemingly teachable and achievable skills, ultimately encouraging people to break through their inhibitions and step up and lead. 

By Brené Brown,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Dare to Lead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Brené Brown has taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.

Don’t miss the five-part HBO Max docuseries Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart!

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BLOOMBERG

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and…


Book cover of The Spinoza Problem

Elias Aboujaoude Author Of A Leader's Destiny: Why Psychology, Personality, and Character Make All the Difference

From my list on the psychological quest for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychiatry professor, researcher, and author at Stanford University. Besides OCD, my research has focused on the interface between technology and psychology, both in its negative manifestations (e.g., video game addiction, online narcissism, cyberbullying) and positive applications (e.g., telemedicine, virtual reality therapy, AI digital therapeutics). My reading tastes and non-scientific writing topics reflect the same interests—deep and highly personal psychological explorations of individuals on a quest for meaning or facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, symptoms, or character tests.  

Elias' book list on the psychological quest for meaning

Elias Aboujaoude Why did Elias love this book?

I loved the thrilling interweaving of historical fact with creative fiction, psychology with politics, and high Golden Age Amsterdam culture with Nazi Germany depravity.

Irv Yalom reimagines the inner lives of two men who couldn’t be more different, and whose individual and unique fates history still somehow found a way to unite. 

By Irvin Yalom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spinoza Problem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A haunting portrait of Arthur Rosenberg, one of Nazism's chief architects, and his obsession with one of history's most influential Jewish thinkers

In The Spinoza Problem, Irvin Yalom spins fact and fiction into an unforgettable psycho-philosophical drama. Yalom tells the story of the seventeenth-century thinker Baruch Spinoza, whose philosophy led to his own excommunication from the Jewish community, alongside that of the rise and fall of the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, who two hundred years later during World War II ordered his task force to plunder Spinoza's ancient library in an effort to deal with the Nazis' "Spinoza Problem."

Seamlessly…


Book cover of Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

Elias Aboujaoude Author Of A Leader's Destiny: Why Psychology, Personality, and Character Make All the Difference

From my list on the psychological quest for meaning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychiatry professor, researcher, and author at Stanford University. Besides OCD, my research has focused on the interface between technology and psychology, both in its negative manifestations (e.g., video game addiction, online narcissism, cyberbullying) and positive applications (e.g., telemedicine, virtual reality therapy, AI digital therapeutics). My reading tastes and non-scientific writing topics reflect the same interests—deep and highly personal psychological explorations of individuals on a quest for meaning or facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, symptoms, or character tests.  

Elias' book list on the psychological quest for meaning

Elias Aboujaoude Why did Elias love this book?

This book parlays the author’s personal experience with bipolar disorder and mental illness and her experience as a clinician treating these conditions to describe the sometimes clinical roots of genius.

How "artistic temperament," as expressed in literature, music, and the visual arts, differs from the euphoric highs and desperate lows of full-blown psychiatric conditions is the very worthwhile question she passionately tries to answer with and for us.

By Kay Redfield Jamison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Touched With Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The anguished and volatile intensity associated with the artistic temperament was once thought to be a symptom of genius or eccentricity peculiar to artists, writers and musicians. Kay Jamison's work, based on her study as a clinical psychologist and researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists subject to exalted highs and despairing lows were in fact engaged in a struggle with clinically identifiable manic-depressive illness. Jamison presents proof of the biological foundations of this disease and applies what is known about the illness to the lives and works of some of the world's greatest artists including Byron, Van Gogh,…


Book cover of Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales

Kathleen McDonnell Author Of Growing Old, Going Cold: Notes on Swimming, Aging, and Finishing Last

From my list on swimming for people who aren’t competitive swimmers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For most of my life I’ve been both a writer and a swimmer. I’ve engaged in both activities for many decades, but I’ve always kept the two entirely separate. Write about swimming? Why? What would I say? What was there to say about water and the act of moving through it? It seemed to me that it was a case of “you have to be there,” that writing about swimming would be too removed from the immediacy, the tactility, the floating state of mind. It was only when I discovered works by some truly great writers that I began to see that I could write about my own love of being in water, and how I might go about it.

Kathleen's book list on swimming for people who aren’t competitive swimmers

Kathleen McDonnell Why did Kathleen love this book?

Everyone knows who the late Oliver Sacks is, and his extraordinary books have been read by millions. But not many know about Sacks’ great love of swimming, which he first wrote about in “Water Babies,” a beautiful personal essay published in The New Yorker in 1997. I had an “aha!” moment when I first read this essay, in my realization that Sacks and I were kindred water spirits, and that it was possible to write about swimming in a way that would engage readers of all stripes. 

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything in Its Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the best-selling author of Gratitude and On the Move, a final volume of essays that showcase Sacks's broad range of interests--from his passion for ferns, swimming, and horsetails, to his final case histories exploring schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer's.

Oliver Sacks, scientist and storyteller, is beloved by readers for his neurological case histories and his fascination and familiarity with human behavior at its most unexpected and unfamiliar. Everything in Its Place is a celebration of Sacks's myriad interests, told with his characteristic compassion and erudition, and in his luminous prose.


Book cover of Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

Kathryn Harkup Author Of The Secret Lives of Molecules

From my list on chemistry that aren’t chemistry.

Why am I passionate about this?

After many years of studying the subject and still more writing about it, my mind is still blown away by the fact that pretty much everything around you is a chemical of some kind. Even more impressive to me is that all of the molecules that make up everything you can see, smell, touch, and taste are made from combinations of just a handful of elements. The periodic table is a one-page summary of pretty much everything, the ultimate Lego kit to build a whole universe. I love finding out about and telling the stories of these incredible chemical constructions.

Kathryn's book list on chemistry that aren’t chemistry

Kathryn Harkup Why did Kathryn love this book?

An author I can’t recommend highly enough.

Sack’s biography of his childhood in London is full of chemical curiosity and surrounded by family members who shared his enthusiasm, encouraged his experimentation, and supplied seemingly endless fascinating stories about elements and chemistry. There are stories of Sacks making powerful stinks in the garden shed and the titular Uncle Tungsten who talked about metals as though they were friends.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uncle Tungsten as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This memoir from Oliver Sacks is both a departure from and an enhancement of his previous psychologically orientated 'medical' writing. Not only is it a beautifully written account of an English childhood - seasoned by a childish passion for science - but it is told from the intimate and revelatory perspective of one of the most important and humane writers on psychology alive today. Oliver Sacks has the literary artistry of WH Auden and the intellectual rigour and questioning mind of Stephen Jay Gould. The world authority in his field, this is a remarkable insight into the mind and background…


Book cover of Mentored by a Madman: The William Burroughs Experiment

Lauren Aguirre Author Of The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember

From my list on the mind, memory, and medical science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, science journalist, and storyteller. I worked for the PBS science series NOVA for many years, producing documentaries, podcasts, digital video series, and interactive games on everything from asteroids to human origins to art restoration. But I am particularly fascinated by strange brains, which is why I wrote my first book, The Memory Thief. I am currently at work on a second book about a different neurological disorder. 

Lauren's book list on the mind, memory, and medical science

Lauren Aguirre Why did Lauren love this book?

I loaned this pocket-sized gem to a neurologist friend who never gave it back, so I bought myself another copy. Author A.J. Lees is a leading Parkinson’s disease expert who has a bone to pick with the establishment and how medical science is practiced today. This soulful, lyrical, novella-length book explores the inspiration Lees took from the prolific writer William Burroughs, whose book The Naked Lunch is one of the best-known works of the beatnik generation. Lees follows Burroughs’ path into the Amazon, where Lees tries the medicinal plant yage, a drug he hopes could help Parkinson’s sufferers. 

By A. J. Lees,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mentored by a Madman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating account by one of the world's leading neurologists of the profound influence of William Burroughs on his medical career. Lees relates how Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and troubled drug addict, inspired him to discover a ground-breaking treatment for Parkinson's Disease. Lees journeys to the Amazonian rainforest in search of cures for Parkinson's Disease, and through self-experimentation seeks to find the answers his patients crave. He enters a powerful plea for the return of imagination to medical research.


Book cover of Gratitude

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: Stories of Thanksgiving from Then to Now

From my list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls of Atomic City, the Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods. She has devoted her last three books to the history of Thanksgiving and gratitude, writing separate books for all ages.

Denise's book list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

The late Oliver Sacks was a neurologist who wrote eloquently about medical topics until he was taken from us by cancer in 2015.

Before he died, he wrote four lovely essays talking about his illness, and the great privilege of being human. Sacks was one of our greatest writers, thoughtful and incisive. Because he was dying as he wrote this, you may wish to wait to digest this book if you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, and come back to it when you’re in a better place.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gratitude as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Oliver Sacks died in August 2015 at his home in Greenwich Village, surrounded by his close friends and family. He was 82. He spent his final days doing what he loved: playing the piano, swimming, enjoying smoked salmon - and writing . . .

As Dr Sacks looked back over his long, adventurous life his final thoughts were of gratitude. In a series of remarkable, beautifully written and uplifting meditations, in Gratitude Dr Sacks reflects on and gives thanks for a life well lived, and expresses his thoughts on growing old, facing terminal cancer and reaching the end.

I cannot…


Book cover of The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American: The Good, Better, Best, Superior, Masterpiece

Strother Purdy Author Of Doormaking: Materials, Techniques, and Projects for Building Your First Door

From my list on on working with your hands.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teenager, I worked on cars and motorcycles in my spare time while apprenticing in an architectural millwork shop, paneling the homes of the rich and famous. Thus I discovered the great joys and satisfactions of working with my hands. After a long stint in graduate school, then four years as an editor at Fine Woodworking magazine and for Taunton Press books, I opened a custom design furniture business in 2000. Travel, writing, and reading are aligned passions, and I’ve lived, taught English, and woodworking here and abroad in France, Slovakia, India, and Japan.

Strother's book list on on working with your hands

Strother Purdy Why did Strother love this book?

Albert Sack is a riot. He lines up expensive antiques, ranks them from the definitive label “Masterpiece” to the slow-hand insult of “Good”. He describes each in brutally honest and thereby exceptionally insightful terms. One chair is “a brilliant achievement”, while a clock is “relatively crude,” and a table’s legs “end nowhere.” No one comes away with a trophy for participation, making the book exceptionally good to train your eye towards good design. You want people to like the things you make, don’t you? Learn to distinguish good from great with Albert.

By Albert Sack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Fine Points of Furniture as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An indispensable guide for collectors and dealers who want to compare and evaluate early American antiques. When Albert Sack's Fine Points of Furniture: Early American--Good, Better, Best was published in 1950, it established a new standard for evaluating American antiques. In his new book, Sack applies this standard to furniture pieces that have appeared on the market in more recent years. Full color and black-and-white photographs.


Book cover of Awakenings

Hannah Wunsch Author Of The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care

From my list on medical history that reads like fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a critical care doctor, I love pausing when taking care of patients in a modern ICU to reflect on how far we’ve come in the care we can provide. I want to be entertained while learning about the past, and so I seek out books on medical history that find the wonder and the beauty (and the bizarre and chilling) and make it come alive. I get excited when medical history can be shared in a way that isn’t dry, or academic. These books all do that for me and capture some part of that crazy journey through time. 

Hannah's book list on medical history that reads like fiction

Hannah Wunsch Why did Hannah love this book?

Awakenings is the novel-length true story of the patients comatose for decades from sleeping-sickness, a disease that reared its head in the 1920s and then died out.

I consider Oliver Sacks the master storyteller of medical mysteries, and he kept me completely riveted with his descriptions of watching these patients wake up when given the drug L-Dopa, re-entering the world after many decades. The story gives me chills every time I think about it.

By Oliver Sacks,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Awakenings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The story of a disease that plunged its victims into a prison of viscous time, and the drug that catapulted them out of it' - Guardian

Hailed as a medical classic, and the subject of a major feature film as well as radio and stage plays and various TV documentaries, Awakenings by Oliver Sacks is the extraordinary account of a group of twenty patients.

Rendered catatonic by the sleeping-sickness epidemic that swept the world just after the First World War, all twenty had spent forty years in hospital: motionless and speechless; aware of the world around them, but exhibiting no…


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