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7 Local Warehouse Health and Medicine- Essays

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

by

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance Cover

ISBN13: 9780312427658
ISBN10: 0312427654
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Who among us hasn't trembled at the very prospect of entering a doctor's office? It should give us all comfort, then, that bestselling author, general surgeon, and MacArthur Fellow Atul Gawande has written Better, a book that challenges surgeons to strive to do better by themselves, by the medical establishment — and above all, by that too-easily-forgotten denomination, their patients. Bring a copy of this book to your next doctor's appointment, and press it into the same hands to which you entrust your own life and health.
Recommended by Rico, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The New York Times bestselling author of Complications examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in a complex and risk-filled profession.

The struggle to perform well is universal: each one of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives are on the line with every decision. In his new book, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable.

Gawande's gripping stories take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He examines the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, the influence of money on modern medicine, and the astoundingly contentious history of hand-washing. Offering a searingly honest first-hand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable, Better provides rare insight into the elements of success that illuminates every area of human endeavor.

Review:

"How self-conscious should a surgeon be? In some ways, we all (and I think I speak for other doctors here, as well as for patients) cling fast to the idea of surgical confidence: the godlike operating-room decisiveness, the courage to cut, the steady hand. But the willingness to turn that paradigm inside out helps Atul Gawande keep things interesting, as he directs his attention to how doctors and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Rather than preaching about improving performance, Gawande bears witness to the remarkable levels of care that can be achieved by describing some incredibly innovative, adaptive, and even mundane...practices in hospitals..." Booklist

Review:

"A must-read for medical professionals — and a discerning, humanizing portrait of doctors at work for the rest of us." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[T]his brilliant, persuasive and even inspiring book, with its crisp writing and its abundance of well-told tales, might well be taken to heart by any reader." Houston Chronicle

Review:

"The essays are united, as they highlight opportunities for improvement within the medical community, which serves as a successful framework for Gawande's study of a profession predicated on betterment. These revealing, humanistic essays are highly recommended..." Library Journal

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author examines the complex and risk-filled medical profession and how those involved progress from merely good to great. Gawande provides rare insight and offers an honest firsthand account of his own life as a surgeon.

Synopsis:

National Bestseller
 

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

 

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

Synopsis:

National Bestseller
 

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

 

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

Atul Gawande, a MacArthur fellow, is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. His first book Complications, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award. Gawande lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.
The struggle to perform well is universal: each one of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives are on the line with every decision. In his new book, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable.

 

Gawande's gripping stories of diligence, ingenuity, and what it means to do right by people take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, labor and delivery rooms in Boston, a polio outbreak in India, and malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on modern medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing. And as in all his writing, Gawande gives us an inside look at his own life as a practicing surgeon, offering a searingly honest firsthand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable.

 

At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey narrated by "a writer with a scalpel pen and an X-ray eye" (Time). Gawande's investigation into medical professionals and how they progress from merely good to great provides rare insight into the elements of success, illuminating every area of human endeavor.

"'What does it take to be good at something, when failure is so easy?' asks writer/physician Gawande . . . Diligence, ingenuity and 'doing right' . . . Gawande illustrates each of these qualities with stories from his own experience, [and] his observations of and conversations with other physicians . . . For young doctors . . . Gawande suggests five strategies: Ask unscripted questions, don't complain, 'count something' (be a scientist as well as a doctor), write something (to make yourself part of a larger world) and change in response to new ideas. A must-read for medical professionals-and a discerning, humanizing portrait of doctors at work for the rest of us."Kirkus Reviews
"Gawande provides a clear-eyed view of the medical profession that both resonates and gives pause. Once again, he spares no one, himself included. Gawande, a surgeon, manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page . . . Gawande's meditation on performance is not only an absorbing collection of essays but also an exhilarating call for the rest of us to do the same . . . Gawande has the ability to deconstruct and explain the most difficult issues while preserving, even celebrating, their complexity. He applies a sly sense of humor to even the most unsettling topics. And his voice is so direct that at times it borders on painful (at least from the perspective of a fellow doctor) . . . With this book, Gawande inspires all of us, doctor or not, to be better."Pauline W. Chen, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Atul Gawande is more interested in behavioural tendencies than emotional ones. His book is wider in scope and rich in fascinating detail.”The Economist
 
“Throughout Better, Gawande addresses the ethical and philosophical questions of medicines role toward the common good . . . Gawande is unassuming in every way, and yet his prose is infused with steadfast determination and hope. If society is the patient here, I can't think of a better guy to have out back.”Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe
 
“The three ingredients of good doctoring, according to the author, are ‘diligence, ‘doing right and ‘ingenuity. He cited examples from a wide range of life-and-death situations to illustrate how these three key attributes save lives . . . Literary books by doctors are few, and important, given the complicated nature of the doctor-patient relationship. Gawandes insightful book illuminates the challenging choices members of the profession face every day.”Susan Salter Reynolds, Newsday
 
"Better is a masterpiece, a series of stories set inside the four walls of a hospital that end up telling us something unforgettable about the world outside."Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink
 
"Better is a mesmerizing book with fascinations on every page, told with mastery, insight, compassion, and humility by a surgeon who doesn't flinch from taboo subjects or self-examination. His topics range from the invisible to the unspeakable, and some chapters are exciting medical mysteries. On every page, one meets a candid and thoughtful man, who pays close attention, and who somehow manages to find the right balance between intimacy and respectfulness, in a world that can be inhospitable to both."Diane Ackerman, author of An Alchemy of Mind
 
"It's hard to think of a writer working today who makes such good use of man's quest to avoid pain and death. Atul Gawande is not only adding to the small shelf of books by doctors that every layman should read. He's using medicine to help anyone who hopes to do anything better."Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side
 
"'What does it take to be good at something, when failure is so easy?' asks writer/physician Gawande in his follow-up to Complications (2002). Diligence, ingenuity and "doing right," he answers. Gawande illustrates each of these qualities with stories from his own experience, as well as his observations of and conversations with other physicians. Being diligent about the simple act of hand-washing dramatically reduces hospital infections, he demonstrates, and through diligence, army

About the Author

Atul Gawande, a 2006 MacArthur Fellow, is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. His first book, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award. Gawande lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, February 24, 2008 (view all comments by Shoshana)
In his second collection, Gawande ranges further afield than he did in Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science. There, many of the essays dealt with surgical training and socialization. Here, while still grounded in hospital practices (such as handwashing, or the lack of it), Gawande recounts the history of Ignac Semmelweis, whose handwashing crusade against puerperal fever was thwarted by his lack of both empirical studies and interpersonal skills. Other chapters of note include on on polio vaccination in India and the restructuring of battlefield triage. Throughout, Gawande promotes the concept of "positive deviance" as a way to break out of presuppositions and mindless practices.

I enjoyed Better at least as much as Complications. Gawande manages to speak conversationally but not callously about some pretty horrific stuff. However, at times the material seemed either oversimplified or not updated. For example, contemporary concerns about handwashing gel, polio outbreaks in Europe, and the shocking conditions at Walter Reed are simply missing. While some of these essays appeared first in The New Yorker and The New England Journal of Medicine, the publication date for the book is 2007, and Gawande should have updated some of these pieces, or appended an epilogue.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427658
Author:
Gawande, Atul
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Health Care Issues
Subject:
Diseases
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Professional Medical Reference
Subject:
Surgery - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20080131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.28 x 6.46 x 0.83 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Back Care
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Essays
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Professional Medical Reference
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Surgery

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427658 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Who among us hasn't trembled at the very prospect of entering a doctor's office? It should give us all comfort, then, that bestselling author, general surgeon, and MacArthur Fellow Atul Gawande has written Better, a book that challenges surgeons to strive to do better by themselves, by the medical establishment — and above all, by that too-easily-forgotten denomination, their patients. Bring a copy of this book to your next doctor's appointment, and press it into the same hands to which you entrust your own life and health.

"Review" by , "Rather than preaching about improving performance, Gawande bears witness to the remarkable levels of care that can be achieved by describing some incredibly innovative, adaptive, and even mundane...practices in hospitals..."
"Review" by , "A must-read for medical professionals — and a discerning, humanizing portrait of doctors at work for the rest of us."
"Review" by , "[T]his brilliant, persuasive and even inspiring book, with its crisp writing and its abundance of well-told tales, might well be taken to heart by any reader."
"Review" by , "The essays are united, as they highlight opportunities for improvement within the medical community, which serves as a successful framework for Gawande's study of a profession predicated on betterment. These revealing, humanistic essays are highly recommended..."
"Synopsis" by , The New York Times bestselling author examines the complex and risk-filled medical profession and how those involved progress from merely good to great. Gawande provides rare insight and offers an honest firsthand account of his own life as a surgeon.
"Synopsis" by ,
National Bestseller
 

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

 

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

"Synopsis" by ,
National Bestseller
 

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

 

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

Atul Gawande, a MacArthur fellow, is a general surgeon at the Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. His first book Complications, was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award. Gawande lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.
The struggle to perform well is universal: each one of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives are on the line with every decision. In his new book, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable.

 

Gawande's gripping stories of diligence, ingenuity, and what it means to do right by people take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, labor and delivery rooms in Boston, a polio outbreak in India, and malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on modern medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing. And as in all his writing, Gawande gives us an inside look at his own life as a practicing surgeon, offering a searingly honest firsthand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable.

 

At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey narrated by "a writer with a scalpel pen and an X-ray eye" (Time). Gawande's investigation into medical professionals and how they progress from merely good to great provides rare insight into the elements of success, illuminating every area of human endeavor.

"'What does it take to be good at something, when failure is so easy?' asks writer/physician Gawande . . . Diligence, ingenuity and 'doing right' . . . Gawande illustrates each of these qualities with stories from his own experience, [and] his observations of and conversations with other physicians . . . For young doctors . . . Gawande suggests five strategies: Ask unscripted questions, don't complain, 'count something' (be a scientist as well as a doctor), write something (to make yourself part of a larger world) and change in response to new ideas. A must-read for medical professionals-and a discerning, humanizing portrait of doctors at work for the rest of us."Kirkus Reviews
"Gawande provides a clear-eyed view of the medical profession that both resonates and gives pause. Once again, he spares no one, himself included. Gawande, a surgeon, manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page . . . Gawande's meditation on performance is not only an absorbing collection of essays but also an exhilarating call for the rest of us to do the same . . . Gawande has the ability to deconstruct and explain the most difficult issues while preserving, even celebrating, their complexity. He applies a sly sense of humor to even the most unsettling topics. And his voice is so direct that at times it borders on painful (at least from the perspective of a fellow doctor) . . . With this book, Gawande inspires all of us, doctor or not, to be better."Pauline W. Chen, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Atul Gawande is more interested in behavioural tendencies than emotional ones. His book is wider in scope and rich in fascinating detail.”The Economist
 
“Throughout Better, Gawande addresses the ethical and philosophical questions of medicines role toward the common good . . . Gawande is unassuming in every way, and yet his prose is infused with steadfast determination and hope. If society is the patient here, I can't think of a better guy to have out back.”Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe
 
“The three ingredients of good doctoring, according to the author, are ‘diligence, ‘doing right and ‘ingenuity. He cited examples from a wide range of life-and-death situations to illustrate how these three key attributes save lives . . . Literary books by doctors are few, and important, given the complicated nature of the doctor-patient relationship. Gawandes insightful book illuminates the challenging choices members of the profession face every day.”Susan Salter Reynolds, Newsday
 
"Better is a masterpiece, a series of stories set inside the four walls of a hospital that end up telling us something unforgettable about the world outside."Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink
 
"Better is a mesmerizing book with fascinations on every page, told with mastery, insight, compassion, and humility by a surgeon who doesn't flinch from taboo subjects or self-examination. His topics range from the invisible to the unspeakable, and some chapters are exciting medical mysteries. On every page, one meets a candid and thoughtful man, who pays close attention, and who somehow manages to find the right balance between intimacy and respectfulness, in a world that can be inhospitable to both."Diane Ackerman, author of An Alchemy of Mind
 
"It's hard to think of a writer working today who makes such good use of man's quest to avoid pain and death. Atul Gawande is not only adding to the small shelf of books by doctors that every layman should read. He's using medicine to help anyone who hopes to do anything better."Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side
 
"'What does it take to be good at something, when failure is so easy?' asks writer/physician Gawande in his follow-up to Complications (2002). Diligence, ingenuity and "doing right," he answers. Gawande illustrates each of these qualities with stories from his own experience, as well as his observations of and conversations with other physicians. Being diligent about the simple act of hand-washing dramatically reduces hospital infections, he demonstrates, and through diligence, army

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