Oliver Sacks On Growing Older

Best-selling author Oliver Sacks tell us why he’s delighted to turn 80, and finds joy in growing older.

Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

“What a drag it is getting old,” sang the Rolling Stones, back in the day.  Oliver Sacks begs to differ.

The best-selling neurologist-author turned 80 last week.  And he’s loving it.  More leisure.  More freedom.  Freedom of time.  Freedom of mind, heart, soul.

He can’t lift 600 pounds anymore, the way he did as a young body-builder in California.  And he knows death comes closer, of course.  But old age has not turned out grim for this famed thinker and writer.  It’s fun.

This hour, On Point:  Oliver Sacks on the joy of old age.

– Tom Ashbrook


Oliver Sacks, physician and best-selling author. Professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. His op-ed in the New York Times is “The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)” His book “Hallucinations” was just released in paperback. (@oliversacks)

Louise Aronson, professor of geriatrics at University of California, San Francisco, where she directs the Northern California Geriatric Education Center. (@louisearonson)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) — “Eighty! I can hardly believe it. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. My mother was the 16th of 18 children; I was the youngest of her four sons, and almost the youngest of the vast cousinhood on her side of the family. I was always the youngest boy in my class at high school. I have retained this feeling of being the youngest, even though now I am almost the oldest person I know.”

Smithsonian: Being a lifelong bookworm may keep you sharp in old age — “To keep their bodies running at peak performance, people often hit the gym, pounding away at the treadmill to strengthen muscles and build endurance. This dedication has enormous benefitsbeing in shape now means warding off a host of diseases when you get older. But does the brain work in the same way? That is, can doing mental exercises help your mind stay just as sharp in old age?”


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