A highly pleasurable must-read.


A revealing, often disturbing look at what goes on in doctors’ minds when treating patients, plus some advice to patients on how to work with their doctors to improve that process.

Oncologist and New Yorker staff writer Groopman (The Anatomy of Hope, 2004, etc.) draws on conversations and interviews with other doctors, research in the field and his own experiences as both doctor and patient to unravel the question of how doctors reach a diagnosis and decide on a treatment. While the clinical algorithms and practice guidelines that medical students are taught and that are promoted by hospital administrators and insurance companies are useful in many cases, he argues that they discourage doctors from thinking creatively when symptoms are vague and test results inconclusive. Groopman categorizes the kinds of errors in thinking that doctors can make (drawing on stereotypes, thinking too narrowly, clinging to an original diagnosis while ignoring later evidence), and he uses real cases as examples. In one, doctors who diagnose a Vietnamese infant as having a rare inherited disease are only persuaded otherwise by the adoptive mother’s insistence on retesting her blood. In another, various doctors continue to accept an initial misdiagnosis over a 15-year period until one doctor makes the correct diagnosis by taking the time to question and observe the patient closely and pay attention to her answers. When Groopman receives four different diagnoses and plans for treatment for his painful, inflamed right hand, he consults a fifth specialist, and together they analyze the types of cognitive errors that led to the series of misdiagnoses. His revelations about the performance records of radiologists and others who must read and interpret tests will be disconcerting to anyone expecting technology to produce certainty, and his chapter on the influential marketing tactics of pharmaceutical manufacturers will dismay those expecting doctors to demonstrate objectivity. In an epilogue, Groopman speaks directly to the would-be patient, offering pertinent questions that one might direct to his or her physician to promote broader thinking about an ailment.

A highly pleasurable must-read.

Pub Date: March 19, 2007

ISBN: 0-618-61003-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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