Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia

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5 Books to Read Before Starting Medical School

According to, if you are an aspiring medic or someone preparing for a medical degree, you might want to consider getting a glimpse of the medical life with these books.

1.  The Other Side by Kate Granger

In this book, Kate Granger, a cancer patient, who is also a doctor specialising in geriatric medicine highlights the universal truth acknowledged by the world. Doctors make the worst patients. She writes about what it is like to be a patient in hopes that young doctors and medical students will understand what goes on in a patient’s mind and how their behavior as doctors, no matter how small, can make a great impact towards their patient’s progress.

2.  The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, known as Oliver Sacks’s best work, is divided into four parts and comprises of 24 short essays. In this book, Oliver Sacks closely examines a complex range of neurological disorders, from agnosia, aphasia, and Korsakoff’s syndrome to epilepsy, Tourette’s, and autism. Each of these short tales centers on an individual patient living with an unusual and challenging neurological condition. The book’s poignant but important stories have inspired numerous plays, rock albums, television specials, and even an opera show.

3.  The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

In The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande, a public health researcher and surgeon accentuates the comparison between the practice of medicine with aviation mechanics and building constructions. The book discusses how the professional medical and business world would notably benefit from the execution of checklists. To support his motion, he places an emphasis on improved safety, consistency and efficiency that could be achieved through this implementation.

4.  The Optimism Bias by Tali Sharot

In this book, Tali Sharot explores the optimism bias that makes people overestimate the feasibility of positive events and underestimate the feasibility of negative ones. While optimism is crucial for people to thrive, it also denotes that people are more resistant to warnings and red flags. From the medical perspective, this book explains why patients won’t always pay heed to health advice given by medical professionals.

5.  The Family that Couldn't Sleep by D. T. Max

The Family that Couldn’t Sleep by D. T. Max is a medical mystery that tells the story of the discovery of prions. Prions are infectious proteins in the body that will result in neurological illnesses, and are always fatal. This book follows a family that suffers from a prion disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) that eats away at sleep causing extreme exhaustion and the collapse of bodily functions.

While pre-learning textbook facts are important for aspiring medics and those preparing for medical degrees, these books will enable readers to delve into the life of a patient to better understand their point of view and resulting to better medical professionals that are able to form strong rapport with their patients as well as seeing them more than just their disease.



published on: 7 January 2020