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

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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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

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