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Great Summer Reads for Aspiring Physicians, Vol. 2

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Summer is a great chance for students to read for fun, so we’ve compiled our second annual list of ten great books for aspiring physicians.

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Why read when it’s not required? Check out this blog post by a pre-med about how reading has helped him.

We realize this list is incomplete, so if you’d like to share your recommendations, Tweet us at @AAMCPreMed with your favorite book about the practice of medicine with the hashtag #premedreads. You can also see our suggestions from last summer.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End by Atul Gawande, MD
    Dr. Gawande, a practicing surgeon and bestselling author, explores end-of-life care and the limits of the medical profession.
     
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, MD
    After being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Dr. Kalanithi reflects on the challenge of facing mortality and the relationship between doctor and patient.
     
  • The House of God by Samuel Shem
    A novel about six interns struggling through residency training and how they learn not only to be good doctors, but good human beings.
     
  • An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How you Can Take it Back
    by Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD

    Elisabeth Rosenthal, an MD and former New York Times reporter, takes a comprehensive look into America’s broken health care system and offers solutions to help fix the problems it faces.
     
  • Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maria Szalavitz
    Maria Szalavitz uses her own personal story of overcoming addiction to explore how looking at addiction as a learning disorder can change how we think about prevention, treatment, and policy.
     
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, MD
    A novel about orphaned twin brothers raised by doctors in Ethiopia explores their story of family and medicine.
     
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
    Mary Roach explores how cadavers have been used over the centuries after being donated to science, and tells the story of what happens to our bodies postmortem.
     
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks, MD
    Dr. Sacks tells the stories of patients with strange neurological disorders; their stories are a testament to the adaptability and resilience of the human brain and spirit.
     
  • Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox
    Playing a critical role in the scientific discovery of the DNA structure, Rosalind Franklin never received the deserved credit for her work. Brenda Maddox tells her story.
     
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
    A novel about a successful psychology professor and expert in linguistics who discovers and learns to deal with her early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
     

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