Pre-Med Reading List

Hey all! I definitely took a break from blogging this semester, because as much as I love it, school comes first.  I’ve been busy working on projects, balancing exams and final papers. But alas, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, one week left and then SUMMER!!!  I’m writing this post the day AMCAS opens, and as I start to fill out the endless boxes for my medical school application, I’ve been reflecting on some great reads I’ve come across lately.

Here’s my list of books to read if you are interested in a career in medicine:

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Better Atul Gawande

This book focuses on finding ways to make us more successful in delivering quality health care.  Dr. Gawande dives into simple inventions, such as surgical check lists, that end up saving countless lives.  He also touches on changes in modern medicine, and how money is influencing a majority of those changes.  Better is a fantastic read for those who want to drive healthcare forward, and become leaders of change.


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Being Moral by Atul Gawande

            Another fantastic read by Dr. Gawande.  In this book, he explores what end of        life care really means, and how with the right medicine, we can have not only a great quality of life, but also a quality end of life.  Reading this book really made me evaluate what I want for the quality of my life, especially at the end of my life someday.  The burden that end of life care not only affects the patient, but also the patient’s loved ones.  I’d suggest this book because in my opinion, it’s much easier to think about and discuss end of life care before the tough decisions have to be made.

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Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

As someone interested in global health, I could not put this book down.  This book centers around the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, who was a physician that dedicated his life to treating patients in Haiti.  The title comes from a Haitian proverb that means: after you climb one mountain, you’ll see there are many more mountains to climb and you will never be done climbing mountains.  This proverb applies to healthcare so well, because once you finish helping one patient, there will inevitably more people to help, there will always be new diseases to treat, and new mountains to climb.  This book is great for anyone who has an interest in global health!


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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Ever wonder how cancer research really started to take off about 50-60 years ago? Well we can thank Henrietta Lacks and her cells for that! However, the story behind the HeLa cells is one filled with deceit and disappointment.  Her story has also opened up the conversation regarding informed consent of patients, including the use of blood and tissue samples for future research.   P.S. This book was recently made into a movie.  I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailer looks phenomenal!

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The Soul of a Doctor by Susan Pories, M.D.

Follow the journey of medical students as they learn how to deal with empathy in the clinical setting.  This book centers around the medical education outside of the classroom.  As students, we are great at dealing with theoretical problems, but when it comes to the complexity of real life, it can be much more challenging.  This first hand account of students understanding what it really takes to connect to patients.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have.   Comment below with some of your favorite reads! I’m always looking for new suggestions!


2 Replies to “Pre-Med Reading List”

  1. Hey Rachel!!
    I really enjoyed this and can not wait to start reading when finals are over! I love reading your blog and wish you luck with everything girl!

    Have you ever read:
    Complications by Atul Gawande?
    Change your Brain, Change your Life by Dr. Amen?
    The Brain Warrior’s Way by Dr. Amen?

    Or these books are awesome at tying together faith and science:
    To Heaven and Back by Mary Neal
    Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s near-death experience by Eben Alexander


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