The Art of Medicine: the top 10 books to read about humanity
We are all familiar with the classic medical school reading list. However, I would like to introduce you to an alternative list. One that encourages us to seek understanding from our patients' perspectives. Empathy is crucial in communicating with people about their health but how many medical students know friends or family with long term debilitating conditions and have spoken honestly to them about their health?
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jean-Dominique Bauby)
2. The Scent of Dried Roses (Tim Lott)
3. The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
5. The Man who mistook his Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks)
6. A Spot of Bother (Mark Haddon)
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime (Mark Haddon)
8. Affluenza (Oliver James)
and to compliment these
9. A Short History of Nearly Everything (you can probably skip the first million years or so!) (Bill Bryson)
10. Bad Science (Ben Goldacre)
This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a starting block towards a greater understanding of chronic disease and patient psychology. I appreciate that books are expensive but several of these should be available as free downloads on Kindle/iPADs or bought for a reasonable price on a rainforest-related website (ahem) or in any local book shop/ charity shop.
Similarly, health is the subject of many films and I'd recommend Mr Jones, Spider, The Blind Side, Requiem for a Dream and Venus too!