In addition to being a staff writer for The New Yorker, Gawande recently released his third book, The Checklist Manifesto, and won a National Magazine Award for “The Cost Conundrum.” But his writing career didn’t start with manifestos on how to make surgery safer. In the beginning, he simply wrote about what it’s like to become a doctor.
Gawande’s first book, Complications, combines his stories of learning to become a surgeon, with stories of other doctors. What separates Gawande’s work from the pack, aside from his masterful way of combining information with anecdote, is his honesty.
He lays bare how medicine only works because hospitals let medical students practice on live human beings and then describes in pain-staking detail how he almost killed a patient by trying to put in a trache tube without supervision. He also manages to make this sound not depressing.
It’s the making it all not sound depressing part that attracts people to his work. Who else can write about gastric bypass, infanticide, and a top surgeon who stopped caring and started terrorizing in a tone so melodic it comforts med students and laymen alike?
To get a taste of Gawande’s honesty click here.