Thursday, May 03, 2007

Yesterday I finished Complications by Atul Gawande.

Gawande's day job is as a surgeon but he also does a good turn as a non-fiction writer. This book is built out of a number of pieces that he wrote for the New Yorker and other magazines.

is a popular science book about the philosophical issues at the base of modern medicine. Some of the ideas he discusses are: how do we know what is right treatment, what is the best way to learn how to do a complex task, how do we make decisions given uncertainty and high stress situations, should a patient decide on their own treatment. It dovetails nicely with a lot of my interests in the nature of knowledge, decision making and how humans learn/process information.

I've got his next book, Better on request at the local library and I'm looking forward to it based on this book. I had read some of his New Yorker articles so I thought I would find it interesting but I was surprised at the breadth of his thought and the consistent quality of his writing. If you are squeamish or prone to hypochondria, some of the sections of this book might bother you. Otherwise, it is highly recommended.

Amazon Link: Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

No comments: