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Better : A Surgeon's Notes on Performance - Atul Gawande

Better

A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Paperback Published: 22nd January 2008
ISBN: 9780312427658
Number Of Pages: 273

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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 Women's 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 medicine's 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. Gawande's 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 smal

Industry Reviews

"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

"Atul Gawande's insightful book illuminates the challenging choices members of the profession face every day." --Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

"Remarkably honest and human accounts . . . describing professional moments of fear, guilt, embarrassment, and humor . . . Rich in fascinating detail." --The Economist

"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

"Gawande . . . manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page. . . . With this book Gawande inspires all of us, doctor or not, to be better." --Pauline W. Chen, The New York Times Book Review

"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 our back." --Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe

"This is a book about failure: how it happens, how we learn from it, how we can do better. Although its focus is medicine, its message is for everybody. . . . It has already been described as a modern masterpiece--and so it is." --Jeremy Lawrence, The Independent (UK)

"I found I had been gripping the book so hard that my fingers hurt. . . . It calls to mind one of the great classics of medical literature, Mikhail Bulgakov's A Country Doctor's Notebook. Few modern authors could stand that comparison, but Gawande can." --John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)

ISBN: 9780312427658
ISBN-10: 0312427654
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 273
Published: 22nd January 2008
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.25

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