book

Book review: The demon under the microscope by Thomas Hager

Our knowledge about infectious diseases is currently quite exhaustive, but there were times when most people died about infectious diseases. Where scientists tried everything and anything to find a cure. This book is about those scientists and their goal to find a cure for infectious diseases.

The demon under the microscope is a book written by Thomas Hager, the same author who wrote two books about Linus Paulin and the Alchemy of air. Both books that I now have on my reading list. Thomas Hager is one of the few authors who write about the history of science in a comprehensive way.

This specific book talks about finding sulfonamidochrysoidine, the first antibacterial antibiotic on the market. If you’ve read our scientist of the day post last week you’ll know that there were actually three scientists involved in finding sulfanilamide: Gerhard Domagk, Josef Klarer and Mietzsch.  This book talks about all three of them and about the people around them who had either the same or different aspirations and how they influenced each other. Though you might not assume this just by reading the title, there is a big part of this book dedicated to the surrounding of the protagonists. The companies around them but also how world war influenced and shaped them. It also addresses the economical drive of pharmaceuticals and the problems that shaped the pharmaceutical industry.

The demon under the microscope is one of the best books I’ve read so far. The writing style is really easy to read. Since it is a science history book it gives insight in the feelings and emotions of different scientists but still focusses most of the attention to the bigger picture. It’s definitely a longer book than some of the previous books I’ve read but that means that you’ll have more time to enjoy it. Overall it’s a nice book that will definitely appeal to many science students. It’s a mix between chemistry and medicine so it could make a nice gift to any medical/chemistry student.
It’s one of those books that shows that’s a success story without idealizing everything that preceded Prontosil and even after using Prontosil there were still a lot of issues these scientists and their surroundings faced.

I hope you enjoyed this book review. I tried not to spoil the book but I hope that I’ve been able to at least spark your interest. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there. Let me know if you’ve read it (or going to read it) in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Review: compendium geneeskunde

About 7 months ago I wrote a blogpost about ‘Compendium medicine’ on my blog. Some of you might still remember that they started a kickstarter campaign to make an English version of their books. These books are made by two students Romee Snijder and Veerle Smit. Their goal was to make these books in such way that they covered all the material medical students had to learn.

I kept thinking about these books and ended up buying them a while ago. Today I thought I’d share my opinion on these books.

Content
The compendium set consists of four books that that each contain different specialities. All books have the same cover but come in different colors.
Book 1: orange: epidemiology, statistics, health rights, otorhinolaryngology, neurology, ophthalmology, preventive medicine and psychiatry.
Book 2: red: molecular biology, pharmacotherapy, gynaecology and obstretics, clinical genetics, nephrology, social medicine and urology.
Book 3: blue: dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, medical ethics and scientific philosophy, orthopedics and rheumatology.
Book 4: green: pulmonology, cardiovascular medicine, hematology, immunology, medical microbiology and infection prevention, oncology and general diagnostics.

The first thing I noticed about these compendia was the sleek and minimalistic exterior. I absolutely love the white design. The interior of the books is even prettier than it’s exterior. Each chapter starts with a picture that represents a certain specialty. And then has a page with the most important anatomical structures, a page with clinical information is also provided . The structure of these books is honestly just a dream.

The corners of the books have a small symbol representing each specialty which makes it easier to search within specialities.

Quality
These books are all hard-cover books that can be compared to an encyclopedia. The paper is glossy and quite sturdy.
These books cover the medical curriculum and they’re easy to understand. So far I’ve actively used two of these books as an extra source of information on top of my own courses. Everything in this book is explained in such a way that anyone can understand and learn medicine. Most information fits on a few pages which is what the authors and co-authors intended to do and at which they did a terrific job.

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Conclusion
The quality of the books is excellent. I would say that that I find this to be a big achievement for a new book made by students (!) for students. The content of these books covers the most important parts of the medical curriculum. These books are also great when you’re studying because every topic is explained in a simple but exhaustive way.
The books are aesthetically pleasing, the paper is of good quality and the pictures in the book are beautiful. The small details (such as the symbols in the corners of the book) make the difference between these books and others.

So far only Dutch students are able to purchase these books, so if you’re Dutch and you have the opportunity to buy this book, definitely go for it. Belgian students can find them in ‘Acco’ book stores and students from The Netherlands can find them via their university and in book stores. They cost 129€ but they’re well worth their price.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section if you’d buy these! Make sure to also show the medical compendium team some love via their social media.
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Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Junior doctor this is going to hurt: summary and book review

It’s been a while since I’ve done another book review. I read the book ‘Junior doctor, this is going to hurt’ one week ago and the book stayed with me for quite some time. The book was written by Adam Kay, an English gynaecologist. He has written some short diary-type stories about his life as a doctor. This specific book was a Sunday Times bestseller and has received quite some good reviews.

Summary
The book is written in a diary entry style. Every inquiry has a date. The author talks about how the life in a hospital goes, how on one moment he’s still a student and then goes on to have responsibility over someone’s life. The book is raw and honest. Maybe a little too honest at times.
The author describes many cases in which he did what he ought to be right. Staying late after hours, doing overtime, going against his mentors wishes. These are all things that doctors experience on a daily basis but often fear talking about.
The ending however really made an impact. Especially after reading everything the author has gone through, has done.

Opinion
I loved the book but in a way I felt like I was more aware of the lack of compassion for doctors. It’s as if doctors are being pushed into staying late, doing extra work without any communication. There isn’t enough help going from one doctor to another. The ending was quite unexpected and I never expected that even in the worst of situations doctors really don’t have a safety net.
The reason why I loved the book, was the author himself who was able to let his personality shine through. The diary style writing just put more emphasize on how ‘close’ you actually get to the author. It was because of the connection you got with the author, that the ending just made it more painful.
The book made a political point towards the NHS. So I’d specifically recommend this to English medical students as health systems vary across countries.

I hope you liked this book review. Definitely go out and read this book you will not regret it! It’s a book that comes closest to the life in a hospital. It shows the good and the bad times. Also let me know in the comment section what books you’ve liked in 2018.

Lots of love
-M. A doctor in spe

Essentialism summary and review

I recently read essentialism which is a book about ‘the disciplined pursuit of less’. The book was written by Greg McKeown CEO and founder of THIS, inc in Silicon Valley. He has achieved quite a lot and he thanks most of it to essentialism.

What’s this book about and what’s essentialism?
The book talks about how people are often doing unproductive things and saying yes to every opportunity in their life instead of focussing on one task. By putting their effort into just one task they’ll end up having one decent task, instead of multiple unfinished tasks.

The book describes a difference between the essentialist and the non-essentialist. The non-essentialist believes that he/she is able to do everything at once. In our society it’s often expected of people that they are non-essentialists and are able to do everything at once. In reality (and according to the author) doing this leads to a whole bunch of nothing. You can’t have it all or do it all.

To be an essentialist, you have to make sacrifices and even say no when you don’t have many alternatives. You have to focus on one thing before moving on to the next and you have to make a clear difference between what’s really important and what’s not.

My opinion on the book
I read this book after ‘the subtle art of not giving a fuck’ and ‘mindset’ and it was a great read. It was quite a short book which was pleasantly surprising and like most of these types of books it was an easy read.
I liked how the term essentialism was introduced and then elaborated. There were many examples that showed the life of different essentialists often in the corporate life. The only thing I personally didn’t like was that a lot of the examples given, were about people working in or running a company. Nevertheless all rules of essentialism can be applied to anyones life.

I would advise this book to people who are doing it all, but aren’t finishing much. It’s probably the shortest book I’ve read and reviewed and I promise that you won’t lose much time reading it. You will gain knowledge on ways to spend your time better and you’ll hopefully learn to differentiate important matters from less important matters.

Let me know in the comment section which books you’ve read and would recommend. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Mindset – Caroline Dweck

While I was on vacation I read the book ‘mindset’ which is a book that will ‘learn you to achieve your full potential’. The book was written by Carol Dweck who is a psychology professor at Stanford. She was interested in knowing why some people are ready for challenges whereas others shy away from them and she has written all about her findings in this book.

Summary (Spoiler)
The autor talks divides people into two categories and describes the difference between both groups. The first group of people are the ones who give up when things get difficult, they have a fixed mindset. The second group consists of people who thrive during difficulties, they have a growth mindset.

People with the fixed mindset count on numbers a little too much and if something isn’t feasible they give up out of fear of being called dumb. They fear that one setback will make them dumb and if they’re dumb well then there’s nothing to do about it.
People with a growth mindset are the opposite. They see most things in life as an opportunity to grow. If they have a setback, they see it as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. They know that one setback will not make them dumb as a person. Below there’s a picture containing all the information you need on both mindsets.

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This sounds logical, a human is constantly changing but I can tell you that when I was told at the age of 12, 13, 14 and 15 that boys were better at math and there was nothing to do about it, I honestly believed it. This topic is also touched in the book as there are teachers who have a fixed mindset and teachers who have a growth mindset. A teachers’ mindset partly determines the students mindset.

Don’t fear because there is definitely a way to change your mindset. The first thing you need to do is to think about your own mindset. Think about what mindset you have and try to change it little by little.
Start thinking about work and school as challenges. You win sometimes and you lose sometimes but whether you win or lose, there is always room for improvement. Reflect on what happened, try to see what went wrong or good and use that knowledge for future challenges.

Opinion on the book
I absolutely loved this book mainly because it was actually quite interesting. There were a lot of examples given. How your mindset influences your entire life varying from mindset in sports, at school and even at applied to leadership qualities. I learned that mindset is determined mainly by your upbringing – parents, teachers and other people around you. And I learned how to change the mindset you have by changing the way you see obstacles in your life.
This book is a great read for any college student but I would strongly advise it for newly starting college students.

I hope you enjoyed this book review/summary. Let me know what you think of this book and if you’re going to read it.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Summary the subtle art of not giving a fuck

The subtle art of not giving a fuck is a book that I’ve been suggesting to everyone. I loved reading this book and up until this moment I’ve read the book 2 times which proves how great it is. This book has changed my view on my own life and in a way you can consider this a wakeup call. This book along with ‘mindset’ are books that should be a must-read for anyone in the middle of adulting.

I usually talk about the book itself and how it’s written but I saw that the writer, also a blogger, has posted an excerpt of the book on his blog and I advise you to read that before reading this review. So click here for that.

Summary
Just like you probably saw from the title the autor does not mince matters. This book is brutally honest and therefore one of the best self-help books I’ve read so far. There were some important lessons to learn here.

Lesson n°1
This book tackles our society for giving too many fucks about the wrong things and not enough fucks about what actually matters. To give an example people seem to talk more about the Kardashians outfits than for example about food waste – note: if you care more about the Kardashians that’s perfectly okay!!

Lesson n°2
Another important lesson is that everything that matters in life, is attached to a negative experience. You need to study really hard (often not fun) to get good grades (fun). This is something that isn’t always represented correctly in todays society. We hear a lot of succes stories but there’s more to those stories than meets the eye. Someone worked crazy hard to get where they are and all we see is that they achieved their goal. To get a bigger reward, you need to put in more effort.

Lesson n°3
People often seem to think that when they’ve reached their goal, it’s done, they’re happy and everything is fine but it isn’t. Problems are still there, the only thing they’ve achieved, is to be a little better than before, to have grown a little more. The growth mindset was present in this book, just explained differently.

For more lessons I’d advise you to read the book. It wouldn’t be fun to spoil the entire thing.

Review
The writing style of this book is easy and comprehensive. There aren’t any difficult words, but the language is sometimes explicit which might not appeal to everyone.
The book gives a lot of examples on what to do and what not to do. It’s therefore a great book for those people who don’t completely know what to do with their life.
I’d definitely say that of the self-help books I’ve read so far this is definitely one of the best. It’s unique not because of the writing style, but because of the honesty.

Since there is an excerpt of this book on the authors blog check it out before buying this book. You might not like it. As for me I loved the book hence why I’ve suggested it to almost everyone I know. Let me know in the comment section what books you would recommend.

Lots of love and have a great day!
-A doctor in spe

 

Book review: The man who mistook his wife for a hat

I recently red the book ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ written by Oliver Sacks, a British neurologist. Oliver sacks is quite a famous writer, he has written 14 books of which 7 were made into a movie. This specific book was written in 1985 and it consists of 24 cases in which different neurological issues are being discussed.

Summary
The book is divided into four categories that each talk about a specific neurological issue. Part one deals with losses, part two with excess, part three transports (about perception, imagination, dreams,…) and part four the world of the simple (how ‘simple’ people understand remarkable concepts).

I’m going to talk about one of these stories because it stood out to me. It’s the story of Jose, the autist artist. This is written in chapter four – the world of the simple. Jose was a 21 year old male who was said to be retarded and had seizures which caused him to be hospitalized. During his examination he was asked to draw a pocket watch which he drew remarkably well. Dr. Sacks was amazed by this and wanted to learn more about this patient. He wanted to see more drawings and asked Jose to draw some more and again his drawings were really nice.
It appeared that Jose was indeed autistic, but that he was quite talented. He could draw, remember what he drew and he was able make adaptations to his drawings.
This story definitely stood out for me because it just goes to show that there is a whole world to people that often stays unnoticed, even for many many years.
The drawings are included in the book but I wanted to show you an example. On the left we see the picture, on the right the drawing that Jose made.

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There are many more extraordinary stories written in this book. It’s an easy read making it is a book that will appeal to a lot of people. Difficult concepts are all explained in the book making the book fit for anyone interested in knowing more about brain related issues.
For those wanting to learn or read more about neurological problems, there are also a lot of references to other scientifical books. Especially Loeria (neuropsychologist) and Jackson (neurologist) are writers who are often referred to.

For me this was such an interesting book that I was able to finish it within the day. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly advise you to read this book.

Lots of love
A doctor in spe

When breath becomes air 

I’ve tried re-writing this one a few too many times but that’s only because I felt like this review didn’t do justice to the book. It still doesn’t but here we go.

The book ‘When breath becomes air’ is an autobiography written by Paul Kalanithi. It’s the story of a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He starts thinking about ‘living a meaningful life’ and he wonders what it takes to achieve one. As he starts cancer treatment he tells about his struggles, his thoughts and his feelings.

The book is magnificently written and it’s ending is bittersweet. It’s book that definitely deserved the attention it got. There were a lot of things I loved about this book but I mainly want to talk about what I learned from it.

  • I learned that life is short, full of unexpected things sometimes the worst things in life come together with the best and if you’re lucky you’ll be around to see the good. If not it’s up to you to create good things in the middle of bad ones!
  • I learned that humans often live life as if life is endless. We even postpone the thought of death itself until someone around us dies. When you think about it there isn’t a single person in the world who is completely ready to die at any given day. There is always something more we want to do, something more we want to realize.
  • I learned that when bad things happen and we get knocked down, we need to keep going and keep pushing.
  • I learned that the best way to live a meaningful life is to give it your absolute best every single time no matter how hard life gets. It’s often easier said than done but it’s all we can do.

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost! I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a remarkable story that left it’s imprint on me and I’m sure that you’ll find it as special as I did.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

 

Review: how doctors think

As some of you might know I wanted to read a lot of books this summer. I personally liked going for books related to the medical field hoping that I’ll learn from them. I recently made up my entire book list and I’ve already started reading some books. The first one I’ll be reviewing is ‘How doctors think’ and was written by Jerome Groopman M.D. This book has received the quill award for health/self improvement.

The title of the book is quite self-explanatory and though I’m not a doctor yet I figured that this book had to contain some valuable information on the topic. I don’t mean to spoil the book but the book reveals it goal in the first chapters. Students who eventually become doctors struggle with the transition from books to real cases but even older doctors make mistakes. The book gives a ton of anecdotes on the subject to try and show what went wrong with the diagnoses and how doctors can avoid making mistakes.

There are a few things I liked and learned from this book
… I liked the cases that were discussed and that there were a lot of them. Each case was different but the general conclusion was the same
… I liked that there were reasons given on how doctors make small mistakes. However it’s obvious that every human makes mistakes. The thing is that we can all learn from others’ mistakes and thus we can all learn from this book
… I liked the structure of the cases. Each case had a lot of explanation that accompanied it. There was a clear structure.
… I most definitely liked the advise that was given: think in the other direction when somebody comes with complaints. They have headache? Don’t think that it’s just due to tension look further!
More importantly I feel like this book is good for students starting residency. It’ll show you how patients reveal very small clues that are often misinterpreted. Small things like words or signs that make a big difference. It can also show you how confidence can form an issue. Leading to confirmation bias is the enemy here!

I would advise any medical student to read this book because it shows that small things that patients say can mean an entire spectrum of things and that it’s important to try and look for a correct diagnoses instead of assuming the first solution or the most common solution is correct. It’s important to keep all possible diagnoses open and think further than you normally would when diagnosing patients.

Though I’m on vacation definitely leave a comment in the comment section down below telling me what you’re favorite books are.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe ❤

My Kindle

Today I’m going to tell you everything about my Kindle. I’ve had a Kindle since august last year and though it doesn’t compare to a real book it still has a lot of benefits to it.

Why I bought it
Ever tried taking a Stephen King book on vacation? I have and it was an absolute hassle. I couldn’t fit it in my bag. I couldn’t read it anywhere but inside. I knew that I wouldn’t have that issue anymore.
The second thing is that Kindles are environmental friendly and though I’m not the biggest advocate for saving planet earth (even though I probably should be) I think that buying one kindle and using it for a long period of time will (hopefully) have a somewhat positive effect on the environment.
And last but not least. Buying books on a kindle is cheaper. I can buy more books, books online or in stores and I always find free books online and I can read them all thanks to this little thing!

What I missed
The kindle doesn’t come with a protective case. I know that I should have thought about this but I didn’t. It took me 2 weeks of reading and taking it everywhere with me, to realize that my screen had scratched on two places. I ended up buying a bookcover from Klevercase and I would highly suggest this company. They make some beautiful real-book cases (and loads of other things too). I have the ‘Jane Eyre’ bookcover and you can tell that it was made with lots of love!
I have to admit though that I’m missing the touch and feel of an actual book in my hands that’s why I bought a klevercase book cover. I do miss looking at a book and visually seeing how far I’ve read it but nothing is perfect so I’m fine with it!

My booklist
I wanted to share all of the books I put on my kindle with you. There are a lot of suggestions that I got from you guys and some of my friends abroad. I’m going to try and read every single one of these this summer vacation and hopefully also review them. I’ve already read ‘When breath becomes air’ the autobiography from Paul Kalanithi and ‘How doctors think’ by Jerome Groopman. I’ve started reading ‘The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks’  I was suggested this book by Sesan Miller but I’ve really been procrastinating reading this book. I’m going to do a review on these book (and some others) after the summer! I’m currently on vacation so I planned this article ahead of time.

Do I suggest buying a kindle?
Most definitely. A kindle isn’t like a real book which is why it might not appeal to everyone. Some people like actual books (which I do too!). I would prefer reading a real book over my Kindle but there is no denying that a Kindle is way more practical. It’s lightweight and thin and you can take it everywhere you want to. It has a lot of benefits.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Again you can find the booklist above or at the top of this blog. Let me know what you think about E-readers in the comment section down below.  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your vacation!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe