Synopses & Reviews
Why do some people find and sustain hope during difficult circumstances, while others do not? What can we learn from those who do, and how is their example applicable to our own lives? The Anatomy of Hope
is a journey of inspiring discovery, spanning some thirty years of Dr. Jerome Groopmans practice, during which he encountered many extraordinary people and sought to answer these questions.
This profound exploration begins when Groopman was a medical student, ignorant of the vital role of hope in patients lives-and it culminates in his remarkable quest to delineate a biology of hope. With appreciation for the human elements and the science, Groopman explains how to distinguish true hope from false hope-and how to gain an honest understanding of the reach and limits of this essential emotion.
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, human beings have believed that hope is essential to life. Now, in this groundbreaking book, a Harvard Medical School professor and "New Yorker" staff writer shows readers why.
About the Author
Jerome Groopman, M.D., holds the Dina and Raphael Recanati Chair of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and is the chief of experimental medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His research has focused on the basic mechanisms of blood disease, cancer, and AIDS. He is a staff writer in medicine and biology for The New Yorker
and is the author of two popular books, The Measure of Our Days
and Second Opinions
, which were the inspiration for the television series Gideons Crossing. In 2000 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He lives with his wife and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. How did Dr. Groopmans attitude towards hope change over the course of his career? Do you think doctors are responsible for their patients morale, or should they simply provide the cold, hard facts? Can you think of an example from your own life where either approach was effective?
2. What is the difference between false hope and true hope? After his experience with Frances Walker, why was Dr. Richard Keyes so resistant to his own treatment? Conversely, what allowed George Griffin and Barbara Wilson such optimism in the face of their illnesses? Was this false or true hope?
3. Groopman discusses the important relationships his patients create with either their loved ones or their God. Think of a time in your life when such relationships changed your outlook or got you through a painful or difficult situation.
4. What were the steps Dan Conrad took to develop a more hopeful attitude towards his cancer? Ultimately, why was it so important for Dan to have another cancer survivor as his model of hope?
5. How did Groopman learn from his own injury? Why do you think he includes so many stories where doctors become patients? Do you think its important to have hope in order to understand it in others? Is there a time in your life where empathy played an important role in recovery?
6. Define hope. Do you see it as something tangible—something with a recognizable anatomy—or is it different for different people?
7. Groopman examines the biology of hope by comparing it to the placebo effect. Do you think these two concepts are akin? Does believing in something make it true? Is recovery a reflection of hope or is the correlation less clear-cut?
8. Is there a way to help someone else find hope? What would you do if you were Esther Weinbergs doctor? Her friend? Her rabbi? Have you ever known anyone who has lost hope entirely?
9. In the conclusion, Groopman admits that “the question—why some people find and hold on to hope while others do not—was what moved [him] to write this book.” Can that question be answered? If so, how? Are we predispositioned for affective behavior or is hope something we can rationally control?
10. Does Groopmans argument extend to more than sickness? Where in your life have you seen hope as a remedy?
11. What do you take from this book? What is one thing youd like to change about your own outlook and what is one thing you can do to improve those of the people around you?