As an aspiring medical student, you likely will have a lot of medical textbooks in your personal cache of books. But whether you’re currently studying medicine or just playing with the idea of becoming a doctor, you might want to read about what it’s like to be a doctor from other successful doctors. This will give you a glimpse of what the road ahead will be like for you. So we’ve put together a list we think includes some of the best medical books for students to read. Check out the list below.
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
This book, written by British physician and researcher Ben Goldacre, is one of the best medical books for students to read if getting into research interests you. This book highlights what happens behind medical discoveries in a humorous way, making it a fun and insightful read. If you’ve wondered about the good and the bad side of research, this book is a good place to start.
The author goes over some dry topics, such as basic principles of the scientific method in research, in a satirical, eye-opening way. He discusses what happens when things are slow in the lab, the malpractice that most people are unaware of, and the problems caused by “bad science”.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This book is a personal account of a doctor who unfortunately turned into a patient after being diagnosed with incurable lung cancer at the age of thirty-six. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon on the verge of completing his medical training when he was diagnosed with the disease.
This is one of the top books to read for medical students because it is an inspiring, raw and touching story of the author’s experience as a doctor as well as a patient. Offering a unique perspective of what it’s like to be on both sides in the medical field, this book is recommended for any aspiring medical student.
- House of God by Samuel Shen
Written by a psychiatrist in the 1970’s, this book is a satirical, comical account of a junior doctor working in the fictional hospital called House of God and the interesting people he comes across while working there. One of the things that makes this book quirky is the list of rules and jargon the author created, with an example being:
LOL in NAD—little old lady in no apparent distress—is an elderly patient, who following a minor fall or illness would be better served by staying at home with good social support rather than being admitted into a hospital with all the iatrogenic risks of modern medicine”.
Many of these fictional terms are relatable even in today’s medical environment.
- Unnatural Causes by Dr. Richard Shepherd
Written by a forensic pathologist, this book is a first-person account of how the author solves the mysteries of sudden, unexplained deaths. Unnatural Causes offers a gruesome and chilling but interesting insight into the life of a forensic pathologist. Dr. Richard Shepherd, who has performed over 23,000 autopsies in his career, writes about some of his experiences. What makes this one of the best medical books for students is that it describes many of the high-profile cases the author was involved in, such as 9/11 and the Princess Diana investigations.
- In Stitches by Anthony Youn
Dr. Youn is an Asian-American who grew up in a community where diversity was uncommon. He had a protruding jaw for which he was bullied, and hence struggled to fit in. He found his calling when he consulted an oral surgeon for his jaw reconstruction. The book is on this list of best medical books for students because Dr. Youn humorously writes about how he then went on to become a top plastic surgeon highly sought after, even by celebrities.
As a struggling medical student, you might find yourself wondering why you chose such a difficult path in the first place. Reading these medical books written by practising doctors will hopefully remind you why pursuing a career in medicine is worth it. These books also make for a refreshing read when your brain is overloaded with information from textbooks.