Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Atul Gawande’s second book Better is a collection of his experiences as a surgeon. (If you’ve not heard about Gawande, Elizabeth Gudrais’ article (An unlikely writer) for Harvard magazine is a must read.)

Gawande divided the book into three sections based on what he thinks a surgeon should be and in each section he draws from his experiences as a surgeon and an observer to produce some compelling writing. There’s stuff in there about hand washing in hospitals, polio vaccinations in India, the absolute miracle that is the birth of a child, and other wonderful stories.

Gawande’s strength is that he writes simply and he explains stuff clearly, which as any writer will tell you are the hardest things to do. Did I mention that the man’s a surgeon too — some people get second helpings on the talent buffet before they are born. (If after reading the book you want to jump off the nearest cliff because your writing isn’t anywhere as good as Gawande’s, you’re not alone.)

You can find a listing of Gawande’s articles via his web page. Now, if you’ll excuse me there’s a cliff I must get to.


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