Better, by Atul Gawande

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Picked this book up after really enjoying Gawande’s first effort, Complications. He’s a very thoughtful and articulate surgeon who works hard to help others understand what it means to be a doctor. In this book he focuses in particular on how docs try to be better. What they decide to measure and why. Starts with the story of current efforts to eradicate polio in India — I guess I had thought we had already done that, but of course that’s smallpox that I was thinking of. Polio turns out to be more difficult, because it takes longer to present — and so it persists.

He makes a number of interesting points — about why measurement is important, and why there’s always resistance to it. The story of the Apgar score is relevant to anyone with kiddos running around — such a simple idea, but one that clearly saves lives.

If you haven’t read anything by  Gawande before, you should probably start with Complications, as it’s a more coherent & better-written book. This one is interesting, but not the same level, I don’t think.

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