General websites

Popular science/medicine books

book resources - Being Mortal
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science. Atul Gawande (2008)
  • The Checklist Manifesto. Atul Gawande (2011)
  • Being Mortal. Atul Gawande (2014)

Atul Gawande is a renowned general surgeon working in Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was part of the team that devised the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) safe surgical checklist which has revolutionized patient safety across the world. His first book which I have mentioned above is a remarkable account of one his first few years as a surgical resident on the wards. His writing is very human and we learn just how much of a human endeavour medicine really is. With this humanity, we also learn that we are fallible. Unfortunately, it is the nature of our profession that we need to learn through the patients we treat. The Checklist Manifesto describes the use of a very simple tool – a checklist – which can be used to minimize our fallibilities. Finally, Being Mortal should be on the reading list of every medical student and doctor – it is remarkable and will definitely be practice changing. Being Mortal is Gawande’s reflections on modern medicine, the place of the elderly in society, how the medical profession treats the elderly and reflections on good and bad deaths. Gawande’s humanity is immediately apparent.

Book resource - Bad Science

  • Bad Science. Ben Goldacre (2009)
  • Bad Pharma. How Medicine is Broken and How We Can Fix It. Ben Goldacre (2013).

Ben Goldacre is an absolute genius and this guy has the balls to challenge what we all sometimes questions. Both of these books should be compulsory reading at medical schools but even likely to benefit at the pre-medical student stage.

  • The Great Cholesterol Con. Malcolm Kendrick (2007).

Malcolm Kendrick is a Scottish GP and writes a passionate account about the “Cholesterol Hypothesis”: If you eat too much food containing cholesterol and/or saturated fat, the level of cholesterol in your blood will rise. The excess cholesterol will be deposited in artery walls causing them to thicken and narrow. In time this will block the blood supply to the heart and other organs causing heart attacks and stroke. He provides some excellent evidence in a readable manner to make you question what really causes heart disease

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman(2014).

Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on Prospect Theory with Amos Tversky. The implications of prospect theory are wide ranging and the psychological principles upon which it is based is highly fundamental and applicable to many aspects of life. This book will be a good read for any one! Very interesting account of the System 1 and System 2 thinking with many implications for medical decision making

Genome book

  • Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. Matt Ridley (2000)

An absolutely amazing introduction on the human genome and the evolving field of genetics! Each chapter is dedicated to one set of chromosomes and offers a great way to get into topics ranging from the philosophy of life to the development of cancer. It is probably the reason I got interested in biology and science. Ridley’s style of writing is also great.

  • Nature via Nurture: Genes, experience and what makes us human. Matt Ridley (2004)

This was the next edition of Ridley’s masterpieces. This book covers how it is not actually genes and environmental factors working independently which ultimately determine our phenotype. Rather, it is the complex interactions of our genes (nature) and our environment (nurture) which ultimately affect who we are – it is nature VIA nurture and not nature OR nurture. A must read!

  • The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance. Nessa Carey (2012)

If Matt Ridley’s “Genome” was a summary of our knowledge on genetics till the year 2000 (around the time of the completion of the Human Genome Project), Nessa Carey’s “Epigenetic Revolution” is a real tour de force describing our advancements over the last few years. One of my favourite sections in her book is where she predicts Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John Gurdon as future Nobel Prize Winners – remarkably they did win the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their outstanding work. Yamanaka’s induced pluripotent stem cells technique is already leading to remarkable medical insights in research and it is hoped that we can translate some of the scientific findings into patients.

  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee (2011)

I am fascinated by cancer biology and this book is an attempt at the history of “cancer” – the emperor of all maladies. It is a great a read but is quite long and does stray into several different aspects of medical history; however, this should detract you away from what is a beautifully written book on the subject of cancer – you will learn a lot about many aspects of the history of medicine.

  • Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions). Tony Hope (2004)

Good series of books. This is one a nice introduction to a complicated subject and you might be interested in reading this one in preparation for your interview. You could probably read this in two or three sittings – about a 100 pages long.

TED talks to watch