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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Ah, summer…a time for rest, relaxation—and reading.

Not sure what to throw into your beach bag yet? Not to worry; we asked physicians to tell us the best books they've read recently. Here are their top recommendations.

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Change Agent: A Novel, by Daniel Suarez

"A lively biopunk sci-fi thriller about a future where CRISPR genetic editing tempts some to try to take control of human evolution. Black market 'vanity edits' challenge our ideas about the future of our species.

Suarez's previous novels have been eerily prescient about drone warfare and artificial intelligence. His exploration of biohacking and genetic transformation is provocative and grapples with issues that healthcare professionals will need to understand and address in the coming decades. It's a fun, wild ride."

—Alan Greene, MD, Medscape Pediatrics Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, by Paul A. Offit, MD

"I would absolutely recommend Pandora's Lab for summer reading. It is an engaging book filled with new perspectives on infamous stories of science. It also provides alternate views on scientific inaccuracies that many still believe. The book is eye-opening. Dr Offit leaves the reader with an insightful collection of lessons that underpin the mistakes of the past, and the mistakes we are still making."

— Laura A. Vella, MD, PhD, Attending Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing, by Damion Searls

"This biography of Rorschach is based on newly discovered oral histories, and it's fascinating. It also provides a history of what happened to his famous test over time; how it became popular, and then unpopular; and what it was all about."

—Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan

"Barbarian Days is William Finnegan's memoir of surfing: finding the perfect wave, and finding himself at the same time. Finnegan is a celebrated New Yorker staff writer who has written his autobiography, years after first contributing a piece on surfing to the magazine.

Physicians might especially like this book because one of the lead characters is a physician who studies not how to treat cancer, but how those afflicted with cancer are affected."

—Jeffrey S. Dover, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine and Brown Medical School

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital, by David Oshinsky

"A fascinating history of Bellevue Hospital from its founding more than 200 years ago that is also a history of medicine in this country. It'll help physicians remember why they went into medicine in the first place."

—Peter S. Bernstein, MD, MPH, Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

"I wasn't enamored with the idea of recommending a political book in a fractured political season, but Shattered is just too interesting a read to pass up. It explains how an educated, experienced, successful candidate lost the ability to explain position, policy, and motive. The campaign was obsessed with data and analytics and lost touch with the client/voter. The book reads like an autopsy."

—Carol Frey, MD, Co-director, West Coast Sports Medicine/UCLA Sports Medicine Fellowship

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

"In The Sun Is Also a Star, you'll meet two unforgettable students, one of whom is struggling because his parents expect him to become a doctor despite his passion for poetry. With its timely commentary on immigration and classic story of first love, this book is a great summer read. I read it with my teen, and we enjoyed it immensely!"

—Arefa M. Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH, Medscape Internal Medicine Advisor, Medical Editor, WebMD

Image courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press

Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives, by Vinayak K. Prasad and Adam S. Cifu

"A fantastically introspective look at medicine and medical practice. This book should be mandatory reading for physicians, to remind us that there are no unquestionable practices and that we should continuously reassess what we believe is the standard of care."

—Ricardo A. Quinonez, MD, Medscape Pediatrics Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

"This novel describes New York City and the world after the second great deluge of global melting. The issues of who survives and what we do now is telescoped up time.

For us docs and others, what is the most powerful medicine for survival but our planet? Global warming is our most toxic assault on health. Fun, sad, an eye-opener on resilience, based in downtown New York City."

—Robert W. Morrow, MD, Medscape Family Medicine Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, by Elisabeth Rosenthal

In a recent commentary, Medscape Editor at Large George Lundberg, MD, derided what he says was a movement by the medical profession beginning in the mid-1980s to focus more on profit margins than patient outcomes. Rosenthal's book, he says, could help tilt things back.

"To her credit, author Rosenthal has provided a ton of actions that consumer patients can take to defend themselves. That is great for individuals. Do it. But even with social media and crowdsourcing, it would probably require something like 100,000,000 Americans taking these actions, in concert, to actually make a dent in this entrenched money-driven establishment. I hope it works, but I doubt it."

—George Lundberg, MD, Medscape Editor at Large

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, by Michael Eric Dyson

"This should be must reading for all 'white' Americans. The author vividly explains the widening gulf betwixt 'white' and 'black' America. It beseeches understanding as critical to the survival of our country."

—George Lundberg, MD, Medscape Editor at Large

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Earthly Remains: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon

"Crime novels, both from US writers as well as those based abroad, represent my approach to relaxation. Among my favorites are the books from Donna Leon's long-running Commissario Guido Brunetti series, based in Venice, Italy. Although Leon is from the United States, her knowledge of Venice is comprehensive. More importantly, her grasp of human nature (including our species' darkest and most noble attributes), as well as her appreciation of family and friendship, unveiled as Brunetti unravels a crime, is unmatched.

There are actually 25 of these mysteries. You become so wrapped up in these compelling characters that I think you could go through all 25 this summer."

—Andrew M. Kaunitz, MD, Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, by Roxane Gay

"Increasingly, physicians and the healthcare team take care of patients who are overweight and obese. Sometimes we wonder why patients get that way. This book is more than a diatribe about obesity; it is an intimate and searing memoir that explores what it means to be overweight at a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. This book helps me understand the psychological underpinnings of obesity. It helps me get beyond body mass index and understand what all the flesh means."

—Linda D. Bradley, MD, Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Lilac Girls: A Novel, by Martha Hall Kelly

"This fabulous read is based on a true story of an American socialite and Broadway actress who fought for Polish women imprisoned in a concentration camp. The author spent 10 years researching before writing the book. You won't be able to put down this moving story."

—Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, Medscape Internal Medicine Advisor

Image courtesy of Bloomsbury USA

Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It, by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman

"The book is an overview of how big money and special interests control our Democracy, elections, and, ultimately, policy. Campaign cash has the ability to steer elections and keeps us from focusing on serious topics such as health policy, climate change, and infrastructure.

If we're going to make any change in this country as physicians we need to stop being so naive and idealistic about the government we're dealing with. This book is the first step in navigating the current, skewed, coin-operated, political climate."

—Alok S. Patel, MD, Medscape Pediatrics Advisor

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Best 2017 Summer Reading Books for Doctors

Stephanie Cajigal | July 6, 2017 | Contributor Information

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Best 2016 Summer Books for Doctors

See which recently published books our experts say are must-reads.Medscape Features Slideshows, July 2016
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