Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Written by:
Atul Gawande
Narrated by:
John Bedford Lloyd

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2007
7 hours 34 minutes

The New York Times bestselling author of Being Mortal and Complications examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in a complex and risk-filled profession

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 this book, 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' (Salon). 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.
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ann j

Great book. Highly recommend it for everyone no matter there profession. It's really opened up my eyes to the misconception people have about doctors and the health care system.

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Andy Clark

Awesome book! I read this book as a assigned reading for my masters degree, and I am so glad to have read it. I have worked in healthcare for 11 years now and this book gave me a new perspective and made me think of things differently. Every physician, nurse, and administrator should read this book. Truly loved it.

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Jennifer Stroh

A great account of real life trials a doctor faces!

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Deby Buchness

A very worthwhile listen! Clear, neutral narration and fascinating topics. As a former premed student who was interested in surgery, this book really engaged me. It illuminated difficult questions with a wide array of stories and first hand experience. I found it very cool how many facts Gawande used which made his perspective oscillate between strongly objective and highly personal. At times I got a bit lost while on the train, but quickly re-engaged when a new nugget of incredible information was revealed. Really enjoyed it!

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