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« When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery | Main
Sunday
Jan032010

Must Read Books for Pre-Med Students

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.

 

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Reader Comments (7)

I'm surprised none of them mentioned The House of God by Samuel Shem. It's a truly realistic view of his first year as an intern, graduating from Harvard. The book brings out sarcasm and wit in every page. As a side note and selling point, the show Scrubs is based on this book.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I would also like to add that I might pick up all of those books for a summer read and that I have read Atul Gawande and he is a fascinating writer. His book Complications was extraordinary for my mental health and how I view the perfectionism society portrays in medicine and physicians. He gave me the concept that it is healthier for patients and the physician if they mess up, if they are human, and they learn to cope with what they see and feel. Case and point, Hank Goodman and his drive for money lead to his demise and the horrible tragedy of Mrs. D and her fused leg.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Hey Brian thanks for the comments. We thought about putting the house of god in but we couldn't find time to read it, but after your review will be sure to read it when we get time. Also if you want to write a review on it we will publish it on the site, just send us an email using the contact form.

January 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterMohammad

I think Pathologies of Power <\i> by Paul Farmer is another one you should add to your list of books to read. Dr. Farmer is a pretty amazing physician for his work in Haiti and other third world countries.

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Another wonderful addition to this list would be How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer; an interesting neuro-psychological account on the process of decision-making, this book is both informative and hard to put down.

March 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

"Intern" by Sandeep Jauhar was a GREAT read! He is very candid and an impressive writer, and I absolutely recommend it if you are a non traditional student, like myself, or you have had any doubts about medicine (I think that everyone has their fears and doubts at some point).

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

TRAUMA: MY LIFE AS AN EMERGENCY SURGEON (Dr. James Cole, St Martin's Press), chronicles the difficulties a new doctor experiences immediately after medical school during residency training, as well as those difficulties of choosing SURGERY as one's career path. It is a very detailed and graphic depiction of the daily life of a Trauma Surgeon.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRecommend

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