A plainspoken, universally applicable medical reference guide inspiring patient agency.




Practical medical advice from a veteran registered nurse and public health advocate.

In the preface, Goldberg, who was raised by an obstetrician, sympathizes with the plight of dissatisfied people who inevitably find the pursuit of quality health care “confusing, chaotic, and defeating.” She admits to loving her chosen profession, but she has periodically lost faith in the way it functions and has become “acutely aware of the fractures in our medical infrastructure by witnessing things fall through them everywhere from community clinics to operating rooms.” She has seen family members undergo unnecessary chemotherapy, have serious ailments be misdiagnosed, and even file for bankruptcy because of insurmountable medical bills. With an amiable approach and easily digestible truths and tools, Goldberg seeks to alleviate at least some of the exasperation felt by patients. Her guide contains up-to-date medical information, dispensed with the goal of improving an average patient’s “health literacy.” Beginning with the basics of choosing a primary care provider and assembling a medical history dossier, the author addresses such topics as managing annual physicals, strategies for talking to doctors to maximize the benefits of each visit, and weathering routine procedures and diagnoses. With clear, swiftly delivered guidance, Goldberg discusses medical maladies both common and chronic, and her tone remains approachable yet professional, particularly when exploring the dynamics of urgent care visits versus emergency room treatment, hospital stays, vaccines, and pediatric and geriatric care. A clear-cut section on modern medicine helps patients navigate pain, encourages health advocacy for transgender patients, and tackles the variances in gender-specific medicine. Goldberg also includes tips on rights and responsibilities regarding insurance as well as a brief closing section describing five common patient types. Though the book is not a comprehensive health manual, Goldberg ably navigates the contemporary pathways of health self-advocacy and empowers readers to incorporate her sound advice into their own wellness objectives.

A plainspoken, universally applicable medical reference guide inspiring patient agency.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-279718-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Harper Wave/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet