Category Archives: Book Reviews

Books I’ve read and reviewed so you can save your monies!

Book Review: Becoming A Physician

Cover of "Becoming a Physician: A Practic...

Cover via Amazon

Today’s book review is “Becoming A Physician” written by Jennifer and Marita Danek. This book is aimed at premed students exclusively, and has no information of use to the current med student. This is not a bad thing! By choosing to focus solely on the premed process, the authors are able to dive deeper into some topics that are not given a lot of space in other books like it.

This book is logically setup and divided into three sections:

1. Why Choose Medicine As A Career? – Looks at the different aspects of medicine, specialties to choose from, and the type of things doctors are involved with on a day-to-day basis. This section gives the premed student a basic look into what sort of qualities a doctor often haves and points the reader to do some self-exploring to find out if medicine is right for them. This section is a good point for any potential med student. Know thyself!

2. The Premed Years – This section takes a look at the undergrad years and has lots of good advice on how to get the most out of your premed years there. They cover a range of topics from choosing a college, to choosing skills and qualities to cultivate, to excelling in classes and still maintaining balance in your life. This is the part I wish I had read when I was in undergrad. Maybe then I wouldn’t have goofed off as much. ūüėõ

3. Entering Med School – Finally, the last section of this book covers the med school application process. What premed book would be complete without it? They cover the usual goodies like studying for and taking the MCAT test, picking a med school, and the interview. The last chapter talks about studying in med school. This section will be nothing new to those who have already spent any time on SDN or read another book geared towards premeds.

Overall, I thought this book would have made a better first reading for me, compared to the book I read first, when I started looking into going to med school. Instead of focusing so much about what to do once you get into med school, it instead looks at the present moment and the most pressing issues on your plate. How do I get into med school? How do I make the most of my time as a premed student to maximize my chances for acceptance? I would recommend this book to premeds who are at the start of their college careers, as they will stand to benefit the most from it. A good book that accomplishes what it set out to do! You can get a used copy from, like I did, for pennies here!

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Book Reviews


Tags: , ,

Book Review: What Patients Taught Me

Cover of "What Patients Taught Me: A Medi...

Cover via Amazon

I just checked out about every book in my local library this past weekend that relates to med school/doctoring and written by a student. I apologize to any other curious premeds in my area that are now frustrated by the lack of books available to them. Getting more information on an unknown situation is the most calming thing for me when I’m stressed. It’s like my drug. Reading books. Lots of them. ūüôā

Anyways…the first book I picked up off the pile was “What Patients Taught Me” written by Audrey Young. This book follows Young as a med student as she goes through her 3rd and 4th year clinical rotations and the patients she encounters. This book teems with far off places like Alaska or Swaziland, and closer places like Seattle.

Young finds many life lessons during the course of her time on rotations. She learns much from the patients, and the reader is invited to watch her grow into her role as a doctor. At first she feels that she is only acting out the doctor, but by the end of the book she has begun to gain confidence in her skills and really start coming into her own.

The unique thing about Young’s experiences was that she did almost all of her rotations in more rural locations. This was something her school setup to¬†encourage¬†doctors to practice in more rural areas to help meet the physician shortage.¬†Young¬†experiences more autonomy working the these rural areas, yet they come with their own unique challenges.

Overall, this book was a quick read that flowed smoothly, was captivating, and transports the reader to far reaches of the world following after Young. It is a book that I would recommend to any student that is considering an international or rural rotation. A great read!

1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Book Reviews


Tags: , , ,

Book Review: Every Patient Tells A Story

Cover of "Every Patient Tells a Story"

Cover of Every Patient Tells a Story

I have just finished reading the book “Every Patient Tells A Story” by Lisa Sanders recently. It was a great book that I would highly recommend to any doctor, med student, or pre-med student. The book looks into the role that the patient’s story plays in physicians making a correct diagnosis. It looks at the importance of performing a through physical exam as fallen more and more to the wayside as CT scans, MRI, and blood work takes over as the¬†prominent¬†form of diagnosing a patient.

This book makes its point through relating a number of patient encounters by various doctors, and what steps they took to finally come up with a definitive diagnosis when the other doctors the patient had seen before had failed. The cases presented are usually those of the rarer type, and deal less with more common and routine problems doctors will meet. Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder to stop and use deductive reasoning when presented with a problem instead of making a snap, intuitive judgement.

This book has many pearls of wisdom for budding and seasoned doctors alike. I would highly encourage everyone to read¬†through¬†it. It will serve as a reminder to yourself about why you decided to¬†pursue¬†medicine in the first place. I’ll end with a line from the book.

After medicine has finished doing all that it can, it is stories that we want and, finally, all that we have.


Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Book Reviews


Tags: , , , ,

Book Review: Med School Confidential

Today’s book: Med School Confidential written by Robert H. Miller and Dan Bissell M.D. This book has some useful information and is geared towards both the pre-med and current med student. It tries to point out pitfalls and dangers one might encounter in med school so that you can have an easier time. Lets do this!


  • Written by med students for pre-med and current med students.
  • Very clear writing and formatting.
  • Book is divided up into sections based on a typical med school time line from the start of the application process to residency selection.
  • Good advice on studying effectively(though I think one should¬†experiment¬†and find what works for them rather than following a recommendation to the letter).
  • Discusses dealing with the¬†stresses of med school and how it will impact your family/romantic life.
  • Give a sample timeline of what the application process should look like (only applicable if you’re a traditional college => med school applicant)


  • No in depth discussion on DO schools. The focus is almost entirely on MD schools with a small paragraph mentioning DO and that they differ from MD based on holistic approach…yada yada. Same old stuff.
  • There is similarly nothing on Caribbean schools and other foreign school at all.
  • This book tries to do too much and consequentially only scratches the surface of all the topics it looks at.

This book, while hyped a lot, was overall a disappointment to me. I have personally found much better, in depth, advice from the current¬†attendings, residents,¬†and medical students on SDN. The book’s mishandling of the alternatives available aside from MD schools was disappointing to me as well since I was hoping to find a little more info regarding making this decision between the two types. While this book’s is a great introduction to the ins and outs of med school, there are far better, deeper sources out there that will serve you better. When I find them I’ll write them up in their own review here. ūüėõ

Bottom line:

Med School Confidential is a good book for your first med school information book,¬†especially¬†if you don’t have a good pre-med advisor available. It’ll introduce you to many aspects of med school that you weren’t aware of, and it will give you a nice platform to start your own research from. However, you may look back at this book a month later and wonder why you bothered at all.


Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Book Reviews, Med School


Tags: , ,