We at Pre Med Hell have compiled a list of five books, which we think all pre-med students should read. We chose the books by asking current medical school students and physicians which books they would recommend as “must read” books for any undergraduate student looking to enter medical school. Over the next few weeks we will be writing in depth reviews of each of the five books. These books are listed in no particular order, and are all equally good books.
Kill as Few Patients as Possible: and Fifty-Six Other Essays on How to be the World’s Best Doctor by Dr. Oscar London, MD, WBD
This book is fairly short coming in at only about 110 pages, and is a very easy read. The format of the book as you may have ascertained from the title is 56 short essays, Dr. London’s writing style is very easy to grasp and the book is very entertaining. You will be kept in constant laughter as Dr. London recalls stories of former patients, colleagues, and employees.
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Dr. Atul Gawande
This book is only about 250 pages, and is a very captivating read. Dr. Gawande writing draws the audience in by putting a very human face on some of the most controversial topics in healthcare today. He continually drives the point home that doctors at the end of the day are only human, and that they hold the lives of others in their hands, so they must practice constant diligence.
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Dr. Atul Gawande
This is another fine work by Dr. Gawande, again only about 250 pages, and a very easy read. “Complications” is a very honest discussion about the medical profession. Again Dr. Gawande uses this book to portray doctors as humans, and the pressure that surgeons are put under; when they know that a single mistake on their part could lead to a potentially live threatening situation.
When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery by Dr. Frank Vertosick Jr., MD
This book comes in at around 250 pages, and is nothing but fascinating and moving. Dr. Vertosick chronicles his journey from intern to world class neurosurgeon by recalling the greatest challenges of his career; he goes into excruciating detail when describing the patients and the procedures, this attention to detail is what makes this book so captivating. This book is extremely eye opening as it describes how truly unforgiving the art of neurosurgery really is. Don’t read this book if you plan on going to sleep, I made that mistake and wasn’t able to put the book down until I finished it.
How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D.
This book is about 300 pages, and a very compelling analysis on how doctors think. Dr. Groopman looks to discover why one doctor misses a diagnosis that another doctor gets. He interviews specialists in different fields and analyzes the various ways they approach patients, how they gather information, how they look at previous medical histories, how they deal with symptoms, and how they arrive at a final diagnosis. This is a very eloquently written book that anyone interested in medicine should read.