Quite a bit different from the other medical memoirs I've read lately, including Gawande's own Complications.
"Better" is about finding ways to do the job of medicine better - thinking out of the box, using resources at hand, and just plain hard work. He shows that medicine can be "better" using these tools, irrespective of technological and other medical advances.
From cystic fibrosis clinics to fighting an outbreak of polio in Southern India, he takes you on a tour of the world showing some incredibly innovative, hard working medical professionals who have strived to do "better" using their wits and whatever situation is handed to them.
Atul Gawande scores again with his second book, Better. Similar in format to his first book, Complications, this one explores some ideas and parts of the medical profession that are current and thought provoking. For example, as a physician whose duty it is to save people's lives, how do you reconcile attending an execution? Someone has to sign the death certificate. He talks about excellence in many areas...saving lives in Iraq, doctors who do it all in India, and what makes the best Cystic Fibrosis center in the US the absolute best. It is a book filled with inspiration and stories of people who go far above and beyond to do their best, thus making the system a little bit better.
Belinda S. reviewed Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance on
Helpful Score: 3
I generally don't read medical books, but Gawande is a fascinating author. Writing somewhat in the style of Malcolm Gladwell, he writes about medical issues in such a way that they are interesting. I can't adequately describe the genre, but I will say that this book provides things that you ponder and things that you bring up in conversation, just because you want to tell somebody this fascinating fact or story you read.
Nadine M. reviewed Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance on
Helpful Score: 2
Easy to read. Thought provoking, and motivating. Ideas can be carried over into many areas of life. Practical solutions that anyone can do to remedy some big problems. It's like the ripple effect that one small person can make in a big world, or the profound impact that can be accomplished if a lot of small people work together. We should not underestimate the power of persistence, either. This is one great book!
Disappointing outing for this usually wonderful author.Granted he does not try to hide from the blemishes of the surgical world but the book at times went on and on and became boring.
I do believe that he is a brave man to write the types of books and articles
that he does write, as the medical profession is a closed society.I understand his need to try to make medicine better but is this the way to do it? we'll never really know.