Seven Books That Inspired Many Students To Become Medical Doctors

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Laura Turner

“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”

Malorie Blackman

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When it comes to learning new things, the Internet has undoubtedly surpassed books. Books, on the other hand, are still more potent than the Internet today. And that’s because they can give you boundless wisdom and unmatched life lessons.

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A book is a portal to live someone else’s life while learning the same lessons as they did. By dedicating only a few minutes a day, you can gain the wisdom of exceptional doctors, successful entrepreneurs, and countless leaders and specialists in specific fields.

Reading books will expand your knowledge and change the way you see the world or even yourself in the future.

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.”

Orhan Pamuk

In this article, you will find seven books that inspired many students to become doctors. Whether you’re already studying medicine, are about to begin, or are still considering it, these books will give you a glimpse into the world of medicine in practice.

Between the pages of the books, you will find what inspired the authors to pursue a medical degree and why being a doctor is not just a prestigious career but a rewarding life-long commitment.

The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt​

The Pact is an inspiring autobiography book that follows the life of three men (Sam, George, and Rameck) who grew up to be some of the most famous black doctors. Their story is heartwarming and outstanding.

As kids, the three of them lived in a violent neighborhood – “The sounds of gunshots and screeching cars late at night and before dawn were as familiar to us as the chirping of insects must be to people who live in the country.”

Although the main characters do not have father figures to look up to and their miserable circumstances, they made a pact. They devoted their lives to study medicine/dentistry and to break the fate of living forever in violence.

As a future medical student, you can benefit from this book because Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt did a fantastic job of telling their personal stories. If you decide to read it, you will know about the medical college experience, being a doctor, and working with people.

This memoir shows the true meaning of friendship and what it means to be a doctor and dentist. The Pact is a powerful reading which teaches us the importance of good decision-making and how essential it is to never give up on your dreams.

“I was the only one who had ever even thought of becoming a doctor before that day. The truth is, none of us had seen anything to make us believe it was really possible. sometimes though, you just have to step out there and believe in something you can’t quite see.” – The Pact, by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt

Emergency Doctor by Edward Ziegler and Lewis R. Goldfrank, M.D​

Some people say that reality is stranger than fiction. This book perfectly captures that what happens in real life is beyond anyone’s imagination.

Edward Ziegler and Dr. Lewis R. Goldfrank tell their stories of working at the emergency room of Bellevue Hospital. The variety of people that come there is so enormous that they even call the emergency room the frontline of medicine!

Many of the medical issues that plagued Bellevue in the 1980s are still present today. Homelessness, alcoholism, HIV, accident victims, and drug addicts are the main issues described in the book.

This book will give you the opportunity to see the daily life and challenges of an emergency doctor. For medical students, Emergency Doctor can be exciting and valuable because it mentions many cases, and few of them are followed through the entire course of treatment.

The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside by Sherwin Nuland, M.D​

“To become comfortable with uncertainty is one of the primary goals in the training of a physician.” – Sherwin B. Nuland

The Soul of Medicine is a collection of more than 20 extraordinary medical tales. Dr. Nuland gathered the stories when he was still a resident surgeon at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. It was typical for him and his colleagues to tell each other about their patients.

This book is a treasure because, within the lines, you will find the most memorable medical cases based on the nearly 40 years of Dr. Nuland’s practice and his colleagues. Evolved from all of the information gathered, he created fictional stories to preserve his colleagues’ and their patients’ anonymity.

The Soul of Medicine is a compelling book because it reveals the relationship between doctor and patient. You can expect tragedies and tearful joy as you read the book. In advance, the author faces the reality that doctors are still humans and are not perfect.

Each tale is presented from the point of view of a different doctor, telling a remarkable story about their medical career. Some stories are sad or fascinating, and others are honestly disturbing.

This book reveals the true nature of medicine, what is to be a doctor, what is to be on the other side of the table – the patient. Dr. Nuland also includes many interesting medical facts, which make the stories even more intriguing.

The Med School Survival Kit: How To Breeze Through Med School While Crushing Your Exams by Dr. Wendell Cole​

There is a saying that you have three major things in university:

  • Academic success
  • University life
  • Sleep

The saying goes, you can only succeed in two and have to sacrifice another. Usually, medical students sacrifice their sleep – physical health, for academic achievements and building relationships.

Dr. Wendell Cole wrote a book precisely about that. Within The Med School Survival Kit pages, you will understand how to study and spend your university life smarter. The book covers various tactics about time management, productivity, learning efficiency, and much more.

The author gives not long stories but specific and helpful advice on how to handle medical school academically and emotionally.

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery by Frank T. Vertosick Jr.​

“Failure instructs better than success. A single death shapes the surgeon’s psyche in a way that fifty “saves” cannot.” – When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery, by Frank T. Vertosick Jr.

When the Air Hits Your Brain is a brutally honest memoir of the author’s difficult years in medical residency for neurosurgery. It has the power to make you both cry and laugh.

The author’s style is unique and tends to affect readers. He addresses hard questions, such as “When does compassion stop being useful to dying patients?”. The book shows the failures and triumphs of becoming a neurosurgeon.

All stories included in the book are compelling and memorable. We encourage medical students to read it because they will overcome most of their fears connected to failure while reading the book.

You will experience the personal journey of Frank T. Vertosick Jr. from the very beginning when he was a slightly naive but motivated intern to a fully qualified specialist.

“My fatigue was growing, but I could not show weakness. If it was easy, anybody could do it.”- When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery, by Frank T. Vertosick Jr.

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin M.D.​

“What you want – really, deeply want – is fundamental because deliberate practice is a heavy investment.” – Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin.

This book isn’t dedicated to medicine. It is a guide for self-improvement and understanding what it takes to be at the top of your field.

What does it actually take to be at the top?

It turns out it is not talent.

Geoff Colvin examined many top professionals in the world and what made them so successful. He found out that they became successful thanks to deliberate practicing and receiving mentoring from young ages.

For example, Mozart observed his father and his sister playing musical instruments when he was three years old. He started practicing playing on piano when he was four, with his father mentoring him. Similarly, the best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, also started playing golf when he was young.

At a young age, people learn faster, so this definitely helps. But they also deliberately practice things they don’t know much about or areas where they need to improve.

But does it mean that it’s too late for you?

It never is.

Harriet Thompson, a cancer survivor, finished a marathon when she was 82, for which she holds a world record. She is originally a pianist, but in the end, she managed to achieve her goal.

It’s a great inspirational book for any student that is bound to provide you with lots of insight into becoming successful.

“What great performers have achieved is the ability to avoid doing it automatically.” – Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin.

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman M.D.​

“Statistics cannot substitute for the human being before you; statistics embody averages, not individuals.” – How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman.

How Doctors Think is often described as a must-read for physicians, medical students, residents, and patients.

The book includes precise questions for people to ask their doctors, assisting them in obtaining an accurate diagnosis and so improving their care.

Based on his experience, research, and extensive interviews, you will learn how to diagnose issues properly and how important it is to communicate correctly with your patients.

Everyone can gain knowledge from this book about how doctors think and how a patient can help them.

“Certainly the primary imperative of a physician is to be skilled in medical science, but if he or she does not probe a patient’s soul, then the doctor’s care is given without caring, and part of the sacred mission of healing is missing.” – Jerome Groopman

Being a doctor is not a career but a vocation. As you choose this path, be sure to know both the advantages and disadvantages. This list will help you understand better what are day-to-day obstacles faced by medical students and doctors.

It may seem scary, but every hour spent working on your self-development is worth it.

Read these seven books and go after your dream!

This article was contributed by Medlink Students. It is a popular and reputable International student consultancy firm, listed by the UK Government Companies House as a legal company for guiding students in choosing suitable medical courses in Europe. Medlink Students was inspired by students for the students. They have been operating successfully from the United Kingdom, and thanks to their exceptional service, they have rapidly grown and expanded to several other countries since.

2 thoughts on “Seven Books That Inspired Many Students To Become Medical Doctors”

  1. These are indeed fantastic resources!

    I think Preparing for Residency, a book for pre-meds, med students and early residents would really add to this already great list. Yes, I am the author ;). I would love the opportunity to showcase it on the world’s best med-ed stage, SDN!

    Christopher Taicher, MD
    Harvard / MGH Class of 2019
    Attending EM Physician, Saint John’s Medical Center, Santa Monica California

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