Feb 18, 2020 6:12:52 AM Benjamin Pure

7 Spellbinding Books by Doctors-Writers That Can Help You Unwind After Hours

It seems like time is passing at hyper speed these days. The Physician Survey reports that 80% of physicians are at full capacity or are overextended. Doctors coping with escalating patient volumes and bureaucratic healthcare systems face stress and exhaustion that make it extremely challenging to unwind. 

Fortunately, we are constantly finding new ways to beat burnout and restore a healthy dose of work-life balance. Reading books is among them. It’s a low-cost, easy, and easily accessible activity that’s proven to reduce workplace stress and increase relaxation. 

Some physicians find the world of literature so appealing that they manage to squeeze writing into their tight schedules and publish literary masterpieces based on their professional experiences. Today, we are sharing seven best-selling books penned by doctors.

Seven Books By Doctors to Read After Work

Michael Crichton gained more fame for his literary work than his medical skills, but he wasn’t the only doctor with a knack for writing. From enthralling autobiographies to all-time classics, any nurse, doctor, or pharmacist will find something to read after hours.


A Young Doctor’s Notebook | Mikhail Bulgakov

Even though “The Master and Margarita” created a place for Mikhail Bulgakov in the pantheon of Russian writers, Bulgakov was a doctor by profession. He graduated from the Medical Department of Kyiv University, and later served as a provincial physician in Smolensk. This experience inspired him to create a gripping collection of short stories depicting the turbulent life of a young village doctor on the eve of the Russian Revolution.


How Doctors Think | Jerome Groopman

Groopman’s iconic series of essays investigates the sophisticated and intimate relationship between a doctor and a patient, exploring the complexity of the painstaking decision-making process that doctors plow through to come up with a diagnosis. Groopman, a Harvard med and staff writer at The New Yorker, scrutinizes how physicians assimilate and synthesize information to treat diseases, sharing real-life case studies that showcase the doctor-patient interaction and provide insight into the physician’s mind


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer | Siddhartha Mukherjee

In his widely acclaimed documentary masterpiece, Mukherjee, an American physician, researcher, and oncologist, traces the “biography” of cancer from its discovery thousands of years ago to this day. With laser precision, he closely examines various approaches to tumors across the centuries, peeling away common misconceptions and fears shared globally with respect to one of the most common causes of death in today’s world.


House of God | Samuel Shem

A book that by now has achieved cult status, “House of God” is a raunchy and rebellious novel telling the story of six eager med interns who leave the comfort zone of the university to roll down to the bottom of the hospital hierarchy. The twisty plot uses humor and satire to demonstrate the grim reality of interns’ lives as they are confronted with meager pay, sleep deprivation, grueling work hours, and atrocious working conditions. 


A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back | Kevin Hazzard

Paramedic’s life isn’t all roses either, as demonstrates the next book. Its author, Kevin Hazzard, is a former paramedic from Atlanta who set out to summarize over a decade of his work experience. In this captivating and somewhat gruesome account, Hazzard reveals what it's like in the trenches, transporting readers to evidence the tough reality of an emergency response team.


When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon by Joshua D. Mezrich

On a slightly more serious note, Mezrich’s book offers an intimate look into the world of transplant doctors. In his debut work, Mezrich examines the moral implications of transplantology, raising important and perhaps unresolved ethical questions. By blending autobiographical plots with the fascinating history of his profession, the author builds an engrossing narrative that inspires reflection, occasionally bringing a smile to the reader’s face. 


Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery | Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh, the author of this 2014 bestseller, is an established British neurosurgeon describing with steadfast honesty everyday struggles, triumphs, and defeats in a brain surgeon’s life. As the author deliberates on his capability to remain loyal to the doctor’s oath to ‘do no harm,’ he opens each chapter of this exquisite memoir with a real-life case, providing illuminating insights into humanity, medicine, and ethics.

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