Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Your Mother was Right!

My more recent full review of better can be found here.

better is the second book by Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. His goal, he tells us, is "a book about performance in medicine" and what he terms the three core requirements for success:
  • giving sufficient attention to detail
  • to do right in the face of human failings
  • the ability to think anew which is only possible says Gawande, when reflecting on failure and a searching for new solutions.
The chapters cover topics such as the eradication of polio in India, the potential difficult feelings surrounding the intimacy between doctor and patient, and hand washing. His relaxed narrative is seamless. Each chapter tells a story and he is frank in writing of his own failings and the dilemmas he faces.

Now am I just weird? I have loved "inside medicine" kind of books since I was about 10 years old, but how does Gawande make an entire chapter about washing your hands a page-turner? And after reading his chapter you'll know your mother was right. I will probably wash my hands devoutly for at least a week!

1 comment:

Dewey said...

I, like most teachers, am a nearly complusive handwasher! All those germs on all those papers and so forth. This book sounds surprisingly interesting.