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11 Books That (Might) Make a Difference
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Dr. Jon Hallberg recently asked 4,000 medical practitioners in the University of Minnesota system what books they would recommend to an incoming medical student. Some of the answers might come as a surprise. (MPR file photo)
Summertime is when many of us, including doctors, catch up on our reading. You might think their bedside tables are piled with medical journals and books on the latest scientific findings. But that's not necessarily the case.

St. Paul, Minn. — Dr. Jon Hallberg, regular medical analyst on All Things Considered, recently surveyed 4,000 medical practitioners in the University of Minnesota system and asked them about what books they would recommend to an incoming medical student.

Their surprising answers are in his article, 11 Books That (might) Make a Difference, in the July 2005 edition of Minnesota Medicine magazine. The top 11 recommendations are listed below.

"Tuesdays with Morrie," by Mitch Albom

"The Plague," by Albert Camus

"Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies," by Jared Diamond

"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down," by Annie Fadiman

"Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science," by Atul Gawandee

"The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini

"Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World," by Tracy Kidder

"Arrowsmith," by Sinclair Lewis

"The House of God," by Samuel Shem

"The Lives of a Cell," and other books by essayist Lewis Thomas

"The Tennis Partner," and other books by Abraham Verghese

Why are those books especially relevant to doctors in training? Dr. Hallberg explains, in an interview with MPR's Tom Crann. To listen, choose the audio link in the right column.

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