Presented as an insider's guide through ""this booby-trapped world of medicine,"" the doctor's prescriptions are more often either common sense or common knowledge. ""Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor has to decide whether, when and how to treat the illness,"" weighing such considerations as ""should the patient stay in bed or be up and around."" A chapter on hospitals (""The interns and residents are called the house staff"") describes various accommodations (private room vs. ward), good hospital manners, and types of hospitals (teaching hospitals are tops--when the house staff isn't experimenting on the patients). Your personal physician, the doctor advises, should have a personality compatible with your own. In general, doctors are well-trained (""they were expected to learn the contents of innumerable books""), resent unnecessary phone calls, and don't like to bargain about the bill--not after all those years in medical school and long hours on the job. Alcohol and tobacco aren't good for you; exercise is. People who find any of this surprising may find the book useful--especially the rundown of diagnostic aids (from electrocardiographs to consultants) and choices of treatment, including surgery, psychotherapy, and medications (most of which are better ""tossed over the left shoulder instead of swallowed""). Otherwise the book promises more than it delivers.