Are You Feeling Better?
Well, you may or may not be after reading Atul Gawande's Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. It's his fascinating follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Complications, a book of essays on odd and unusual cases. In Better, now out in trade paperback, Gawande focuses on issues like hand-washing (if everyone in hospitals did it, many more lives would be saved), medical malpractice suits (the issue is more complicated than you might think), and advances in saving lives on the battlefield (due mostly to improved processes rather than new technology). Throughout all of the pieces in Better, Gawande's questing, curious, thoughtful, and empathic nature comes through. If you've ever watched Scrubs, ER, or (shudder) The Kingdom and wondered what goes through a surgeon's head in real life and what issues they face, this book's for you.