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About The Book

A fascinating exploration of how our senses can enrich our experience of the world around us – and how they can work against us

Our senses form an integral part of our daily experiences, memories and the way in which we view our surroundings. They can both enrich or hinder our life experiences, offering their own interpretation on what we can see, hear, smell, touch or feel. However, what we perceive to be the absolute truth of the world around us is a complex reconstruction, a virtual reality recreated by the machinations of our minds and our nervous systems.

In The Man Who Tasted Words, consultant neurologist and author and presenter Guy Leschziner seeks to explore our senses and how they construct our perception of the world around us. This book features extraordinary individuals, whose senses have been altered in some way, and whose stories illustrate important insights into normal sensory function. It will also explore how our senses can work against us – wreaking havoc not only with our perceptions, but our relationship with ourselves and our families, sometimes with unexpected consequences.

Featuring interviews with patients and experts in the field, this book will change the way we view the power of our senses and their role in our way of being.

About The Author


Prof Guy Leschziner is a neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, where he leads the internationally renowned Sleep Disorders Centre, one of the largest sleep services in Europe, and  is Professor of Neurology and Sleep Medicine at King’s College London.  Alongside his clinical work, he is the presenter of two series on clinical neuroscience on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service - Mysteries of Sleep and The Senses - and author of The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and The Secret World of Sleep. He is also editor of the forthcoming Oxford Specialist Handbook of Sleep Medicine (OUP), and is neurology section editor for Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (Elsevier).

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (March 16, 2023)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471193972

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Raves and Reviews

‘From the opening paragraph, I was spellbound, entranced. Through real stories about what happens when our fragile perception of the world around us and within us is severed, Guy Leschziner connects us back to our senses.’

– Professor Alice Roberts

‘A truly astonishing book – from the story of the man who tasted words to that of Paul who could pull out his own teeth and break his legs yet feel no pain. These are beautifully and engagingly written stories of how our senses tell us about the reality of the world – or, sometimes, don’t.’

– Gavin Esler, author of How Britain Ends

‘Stories of people who experience the world differently show us what it means to be human. This is a deeply moving and powerful book, full of provocative ideas about human perception and the way we construct reality.’

– Daniel M. Davis, author of The Secret Body and The Beautiful Cure

‘This is a book vibrant with personality and full of wonder. Professor Leschziner takes us through an exploration of our senses, making us question the nature of our reality and how we interpret the world around us. It is a profound, entertaining and quite exceptional book.’

– Dr Alastair Santhouse, Psychiatrist and Author of Head First

‘In vivid stories of patient maladies that affect our very human sensations of sight, sound, smell, touch and pain, Leschziner has deeply explored the sensory experiences that bombard every moment of our lives but of which we are barely aware. What a terrific melding of brain science with thoughtful ideas on our window to the outside world.’

– Allan Ropper, author of Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole and How the Brain Lost its Mind.

‘A fascinating, important and disturbing book. Words will never taste the same again!’

– John Humphrys

A riveting study of sensory function and malfunction... [Leschziner] leaves the reader hankering for more, with a renewed sense of awe at the delicate, magnificent workings of the senses.

– The Guardian

A lucid evocation of big ideas that will make you grateful for your health, and both more appreciative and more sceptical of our symphony of senses with its brilliant, capricious conductor, the brain.

– The Times

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