Author: Atul Gawande
Year: 2007
Genre: Science / Current events

A doctor takes a long, hard look at the modern-day practice of medicine and catalogs its weaknesses. He asks a lot of embarrassing questions like "Why don't doctors wash their hands as much as they should?" and "How much money do doctors deserve to make?" and "Is it really worth the effort to eradicate polio?" Gawande is a very readable writer and clear thinker, and following the path of his researching and soul-searching can be educational.

I bought this as a father's day present for my dad, who is also a member of the medical profession. He found it notable that Gawande, a surgeon, would draw attention to his own weaknesses. In particular, Gawande tells the story of a patient who developed a post-operative infection, and admits the possibility that he himself is to blame for spreading it.

In the end of all his investigation, Gawande makes some pretty interesting points. I don't remember all of them (and can't check now, as I've given the book away!) but here's what I remember: don't be negative; take a critical look at what you're doing, in a way that's interesting to you. He intends his advice to be for doctors and other medical professionals, but I think they're more widely applicable, and I've been trying to apply them to my own profession of teaching.

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