2017 Summer reading for compassionate clinicians

compiled by Molly Olmsted

Here are a few 2016 and 2017 releases we’re looking forward to reading this summer:

Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity by Ronald Epstein
“Attending” is both a term for the senior physician on a care team as well as a state of attentiveness. Both definitions are important here. Written by Gold Foundation grantee Dr. Ronald Epstein, this is among the best books about how to teach the humanistic aspects of doctoring.
Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations by Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton
Gold Foundation grantee Dr. Monica Worline and her co-author intelligently present their case that compassion is critical to any organization that seeks to make the most of its human capabilities. This seminal work should be read thoroughly and shared broadly.
What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear by Danielle Ofri
While evidence-based medicine is often touted as the gold standard, doctors also use their gut instincts to guide decisions. Interpreting what a patient is saying is like de-mystifying a cryptic poem or finding the oboe in a symphony. How can we better teach these important medical skills? This book provides insight for providers and patients.
Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life by Jessica Nutik Zitter
We aren’t always comfortable talking about death, even in exam rooms. This riveting book urges readers to empathize with providers and patients as they wrestle with placing higher importance on quantity or quality of life.
The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician’s Search for the Renewal of Medicine by Abraham Nussbaum
How can we recharge medicine with the humanism it seems to have lost? Nussbaum’s book is at once a humanist’s account of the state of healthcare today and a call to action for medical professionals to take up humanistic practice.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Not a recent publication, but a must-read or a re-read given the upcoming HBO movie out this year! Henrietta Lacks’ cells were used without her knowledge to aid in some of the most notable scientific advances of the past century. This book chronicles the story of Henrietta, her family, her cells and the scientists who use them.
If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating by Alan Alda
Can empathy be the key to communication? Alda’s scientific journey through the art of communication will teach any reader something they didn’t know about how and why we communicate.
Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression by David Leite
A brutally honest and engaging memoir from the author of the award-winning website Leite’s Culineria. Reflecting on a childhood of un-diagnosed mental illness, Leite writes for all who have or are struggling to find and be themselves.
Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer’s Odyssey Into an Illness Science Doesn’t Understand by Julie Rehmeyer
Science journalist Julie Rehmeyer was suffering from chronic fatigue. Unable to get relief from even the top specialists in the world, Julie stripped herself of her regular life, moved to the desert and used her investigative journalism skills to find a path to wellness.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This books tells the story of four college classmates as they move to New York to make their way. The characters’ friendship deepens over several decades, but one of them is forever haunted by a traumatic childhood.


Molly Olmsted

Intern, Research Institute

Molly Olmsted is an intern at the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute, a 2015 graduate of Whitman College, a clinical research coordinator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She hopes to attend medical school in the future and is excited to contribute to the Gold Foundation’s work.