Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Reading

Nothing is better than a good book on a hot summer day. Or making sure you have a good read while you are waiting in the airport. "Better (A surgeon's Notes on Performance)" by Atul Gawande is a great book if you enjoy non-fiction.

Gawande uses medicine as the platform to write about high performance in what ever we do. From the updated MASH units operating in Iraq to looking at modern childbirth and how it has changed over decades, he shows how ingenuity and persistence reap benefits for millions of people.

He has a chapter on treatment programs for Cystic Fibrosis that shows the difference between being 99.5% successful and being 99.95% successful means years of life to the patient. What makes the difference? He writes that "Even doctors with great knowledge and technical skill can have mediocre results; more nebulous factors like aggressiveness and diligence and ingenuity can matter enormously."

Dr. Gawande, a Surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is a terrific writer and he knits together each topic in a very readable and thought provoking manner. Check it out!!


Rich said...

That sounds like the book for me...oh yeah!!

Jeffrey said...

incidentally, we had an edition of SurgeXperiences based on this theme.

check it out at:

Anonymous said...

Your review has made me interested in reading "Better". I love good medical non fiction that makes you think and learn. Thanks for letting us kmow.

tracy said...

i l o v e Dr. Gawande...oh, yes and his books too...! They are excellent! i think i have a "book crush" on him. Several years ago, i saw him, quite by happy accident, on "Book Notes" reading from "Complications" and have been a fan ever since.
i even visit his website...pathetic, isn't it?

Thank you for a great blog...and a place to "confess"!