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Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance (Unabridged)

by Atul Gawande

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The struggle to perform well is universal: each one of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives are on the line with every decision. In his new audiobook, Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable. Gawande's gripping stories of diligence, ingenuity, and what it means to do right by people take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to labor and delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on modern medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing. And as in all his writing, Gawande gives us an inside look at his own life as a practicing surgeon, offering a searingly honest firsthand account of work in a field where mistakes are both unavoidable and unthinkable. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey narrated by arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around. Gawande's investigation into medical professionals and how they progress from merely good to great provides rare insight into the elements of success, illuminating every area of human endeavor.

Customer Reviews


I've waited to read a second book by Dr. Atul Gawande and was looking forward to this new book for some time. In his first book Dr. Gawande brought a insiders view to the medical practice, it was a very interesting read. Better is a disappointment. A gory, detailed chapter on death penalty and the various ways death penalty prisoners have been killed. Why? A chapter on medicare billing with detailed codes. This chapter is completely unegaging but at least a is not death penalty. Overall, this book is not one I would repurchase.

Nice job Dr G

A tour-de-force of medical writing. If you liked "Complications" you will love "Better" even... well... better. I can't wait for the next Gawande book!

it was well done!!

though Atul tended to go in small tangents that confused the reader, The subject of the book is how physicians fulfill their responsibilities to their patients. Gawande breaks the topic down into four parts: cleanliness, negligence, commitment, and skill. The thesis of this book is “a tiny act of conscientiousness can mean everything.” Gawande constantly refers to this thesis, directly or indirectly, throughout the book. The topics he talks about in his book include malpractice cases and disease control within a hospital. He describes the range of different issues physicians encounter, from the rush of curing a suffering patient to the dilemma faced by some physicians when it comes to malpractice and negligence. The intended readers of the book are mainly physicians and scientific professionals, although the book is worded in a way that the average reader can comprehend.

Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $17.95
  • Narrator: John Bedford Lloyd
  • Published: 2007

Customer Ratings