A highly pleasurable must-read.

READ REVIEW

HOW DOCTORS THINK

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more