BookBrowse Reviews Better by Atul Gawande

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A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

by Atul Gawande

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  • First Published:
    Apr 2007, 288 pages
    Feb 2008, 288 pages

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Gawande’s investigation into medical professionals and how they progress from merely good to great provides rare insight into the elements of success, illuminating every area of human endeavor

It was inevitable that Better and How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman would be widely compared by reviewers when they published in hardcover just weeks apart last year. While both share a similar premise, that the performance of physicians is less than perfect and can be improved by close scrutiny, the scope of Better is wider, from a medical, geographical and ethical point of view which, in this reader's opinion, makes it the more interesting book.

Following on from his 2002 collection of essays, Complications, Gawande's latest book consists of 12 essays, some original and some previously published, in which he whisks the reader around the world from medical facilities on the cutting edge of science to doctors performing miracles with the barest of supplies. Five of the previously published essays ...

Essays from The New Yorker that are reprinted in Better

  • The Bell Curve: One of three essays in Part III: Ingenuity: Explores the success rates of different medical facilities in treating cystic fibrosis.
  • Piecework: One of five essays in Part II: Doing Right: A fascinating essay showing the cost of medicine and how most doctors aren't as rich as we might think, and certainly not as well off as if they'd chosen to go to business school for 2 years and become bankers, instead of medical school for 12 years!
  • The Score: One of three essays in Part III: Ingenuity: Childbirth, ...

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