Dr. Sacks opens the chapter – Voyages with a reflection on his father’s work ethic and subtle career advice.
After reading this passage Paul Graham’s essay How to Do What You Love came to mind. In that essay, Graham argues one should build a career (I’d argue a life) based on genuine interests, rather than prestige.
Sack’s father intuitively understood this. A neurologist does hold a higher status in society than a general practice doctor. And certainly more than a general practice doctor making house calls. But it was in that general practice, meeting the needs of his fellow man, that Sack’s father built a meaningful life.
I wonder if Dr. Sacks (sr.) had chosen Neurology, would he have had the same enthusiasm and stamina to continue working into his ninety’s?