Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande

Personal Account. Surgeon, Writer ("Being Mortal," "Checklist Manifesto"), and @USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health.


10+ Book Recommendations by Atul Gawande

  • Filled with profiles of fascinating Americans, this selection of biographical essays by the New Yorker writer features produce farmer Tom Chino, illusionist Ricky Jay, director Martin Scorcese, chefs Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, and many others. Reprint.

    This is Mark Singer’s beguiling, must-read @NewYorker profile, “Secrets of the Magus,” that first introduced me and hooked me on Ricky Jay. One of the best profiles I have ever read about a remarkable and most singular man

  • I am definitely going to read this book. “In his new book Homeward, Harvard University professor Bruce Western explores what it’s like to reenter society after prison—and uncovers an epidemic of illness and mortality.”

  • The Rise of Gideon

    Stan Matthews

    It is the early 1960s when journalism student Art James first meets Professor Gideon Pratt at a Midwestern university. When Art secures a reporter job after graduation, Gideon summons him, reveals that the university is harboring a Communist cell, and asks Art to write a story about it. Art, driven by his desire to earn accolades, writes the article. But when Gideons name is slashed from the story, Art angrily resigns. Years later, Art lands a job with the New York Dispatch, with help from Gideon who is busy defending an educational foundation from attacks by a little known organization, the Cotterites. After Art reconnects with Gideon and his beautiful colleague/ love interest, Jo Davis, he discovers that feared anti-Communist Harry Cotter once wrote a thesis in praise of Communisma fact that his former professor Silenus Stoddard eventually verifies. Many stories later that include an interview with Cotter himself, Art learns that Cotter is planning a rally in Madison Square Garden. While Art falls for Jo, an infuriated Gideon who blames Silenus for an embarrassing failure prepares to reveal his true self. The Rise of Gideon shares the tale of a public relations guru and an ambitious New York reporter as they work together to expose a vicious society of extremists.

    The Most Ignorant Man in America: Love this story about one of my best friends from home who has blockaded all political news since the election. He won’t even read the piece since it lists all the stuff he doesn’t know. (He got a redacted version.)

  • Lincoln in the Bardo

    George Saunders

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy's body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state--called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo--a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction's ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? Praise for Lincoln in the Bardo "A luminous feat of generosity and humanism."--Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review "A masterpiece."--Zadie Smith "Ingenious . . . Saunders--well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain--crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows."--Vogue "Saunders is the most humane American writer working today."--Harper's Magazine "The novel beats with a present-day urgency--a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on."--Vanity Fair "A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love."--Elle "Wildly imaginative"--Marie Claire "Mesmerizing . . . Dantesque . . . A haunting American ballad."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Exhilarating . . . Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "It's unlike anything you've ever read, except that the grotesque humor, pathos, and, ultimately, human kindness at its core mark it as a work that could come only from Saunders."--The National

    If you’re in the Boston area Feb 18, come join me and George Saunders in conversation about, among other things, mortality and his amazing book Lincoln In The Bardo. (Event had been sold out, I know, but @newtonvillebks just moved it to a bigger venue!)

  • Magnificent review of @OliverSacks' magnificent book The River Of Consciousness, completed just before he died.

  • The Longevity Economy

    Joseph F. Coughlin

    As the director of the MIT AgeLab, Joseph Coughlin has studied trends in demographics and technology and spearheaded research and innovation to improve the quality of life for older people and those who care for them. Now, in The Longevity Economy, he uses this expertise to break new ground in understanding this market, which composes an ever-increasing share of the total population. While companies see the size and wealth of this market, they all too often use outdated narratives to figure out what this demographic really wants. Coughlin debunks conventional wisdom and provides the framing needed to be in sync with this influential and lucrative market. He uses fascinating examples from a wide variety of sectors, from financial services to housing, health care, consumer products, and personal relationships. He showcases the work of companies like PillPack, an online pharmacy that delivers presorted medicine to your home; OXO, which makes ergonomic utensils; and edX, an online learning platform that makes it easy for older people to learn from home. Coughlin's insights will help businesses connect with older consumers, who continue to defy expectations, contribute to economic growth, and build a better, enduring vision of old age.

    Check out @MIT AgeLab's @josephcoughlin new book The Longevity Economy, and learn why innovation is failing the aged

  • "Since Alexis de Tocqueville, restlessness has been accepted as a signature American trait. Our willingness to move, take risks, and adapt to change have produced a dynamic economy and a tradition of innovation from Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs. The problem, according to ... Tyler Cowen, is that Americans today have broken from this tradition--we're working harder than ever to avoid change ... Cowen [believes that] there are significant collateral downsides attending this comfort, among them heightened inequality and segregation and decreased incentives to innovate and create"

    Reading @TylerCowen The Complacent Class on our increasing econ segregation & stasis. We do need a radical rethink.

  • Strangers Drowning

    Larissa MacFarquhar

    "What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment and tells their deeply intimate stories; their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas. Through its sympathetic and beautifully vivid storytelling, Strangers Drowning confronts us with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to? Moving and provocative, Strangers Drowning challenges us to think about what we value most, and why"--

    I can't say enough about @LarissaMacFarqu's book Strangers Drowning. Profound & enthralling study of do-gooders

  • A New York Times Bestseller In latest bestseller, Atul Gawande shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it. The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry--in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people--consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever-advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist. In riveting stories, he reveals what checklists can do, what they can't, and how they could bring about striking improvements in a variety of fields, from medicine and disaster recovery to professions and businesses of all kinds. And the insights are making a difference. Already, a simple surgical checklist from the World Health Organization designed by following the ideas described here has been adopted in more than twenty countries as a standard for care and has been heralded as "the biggest clinical invention in thirty years" (The Independent).

    Wrote on Geoff Smart's research on hiring in Checklist Manifesto. Now his team's book on leadership research is out:

  • The New York Times Science Bestseller from Robert Wachter, Modern Healthcare’s #1 Most Influential Physician-Executive in the US While modern medicine produces miracles, it also delivers care that is too often unsafe, unreliable, unsatisfying, and impossibly expensive. For the past few decades, technology has been touted as the cure for all of healthcare’s ills. But medicine stubbornly resisted computerization – until now. Over the past five years, thanks largely to billions of dollars in federal incentives, healthcare has finally gone digital. Yet once clinicians started using computers to actually deliver care, it dawned on them that something was deeply wrong. Why were doctors no longer making eye contact with their patients? How could one of America’s leading hospitals give a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic, despite a state-of-the-art computerized prescribing system? How could a recruiting ad for physicians tout the absence of an electronic medical record as a major selling point? Logically enough, we’ve pinned the problems on clunky software, flawed implementations, absurd regulations, and bad karma. It was all of those things, but it was also something far more complicated. And far more interesting . . . Written with a rare combination of compelling stories and hard-hitting analysis by one of the nation’s most thoughtful physicians, The Digital Doctor examines healthcare at the dawn of its computer age. It tackles the hard questions, from how technology is changing care at the bedside to whether government intervention has been useful or destructive. And it does so with clarity, insight, humor, and compassion. Ultimately, it is a hopeful story. "We need to recognize that computers in healthcare don’t simply replace my doctor’s scrawl with Helvetica 12," writes the author Dr. Robert Wachter. "Instead, they transform the work, the people who do it, and their relationships with each other and with patients. . . . Sure, we should have thought of this sooner. But it’s not too late to get it right." This riveting book offers the prescription for getting it right, making it essential reading for everyone – patient and provider alike – who cares about our healthcare system.

    Fabulous @nytimes review of @Bob_Wachter's probing book on the computerization of medicine, The Digital Doctor.

  • Being Mortal

    Atul Gawande

    A prominent surgeon argues against modern medical practices that extend life at the expense of quality of life while isolating the dying, outlining suggestions for freer, more fulfilling approaches to death that enable more dignified and comfortable choices.

    #SydneyWritersFestival: Author Atul Gawande speaks about his book Being Mortal @smh